Strong local representation in snowboard X, again
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Last year, 18-year-old Cleve Johnson qualified for the X Games after earning a last-minute invitation when he won the Snowboard X at Jambra Jam in California 13 days before X Games 11 hit Buttermilk. This year, if he is going to compete again in snowboarder X (also known as boardercross), it will be even more last minute.
Johnson, now 19, is listed as an alternate for this year’s Games. He got that spot by taking 19th that year, but is still hopeful he’ll get to compete. After all, when you are in an intense sport like snowboard X, where six boarders are zooming through a speed track with a bunch of jumps, crashes aren’t that unusual.
“It is a dangerous sport and guys can get hurt, drop out because they don’t like the course, anything could happen,” the Yampah Mountain High School graduate said. “But there is a lot of money in the X Games compared to other competitions, so we’ll see what happens.”
In the event something does happen, Johnson is already in Aspen, getting time testing out the course.
Ross Trulove, a 27-year-old from Carbondale, and Jason Smith, an Olympic medalist from Basalt, are expected to compete in snowboarder X as well. Trulove, who has competed in a handful of X Games, finished 10th last year, while Smith, an X Games veteran, took 14th last year and is still looking for his first X Games medal.
The qualifying round for snowboarder X will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, while the finals start at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
In the case Johnson doesn’t get to compete, he’s still got a lot to look forward to. Johnson, who now lives in Steamboat Springs, just qualified for Junior World Championships in Russia to be held in March. He’ll be competing against the world’s best 19-and-under boardercrossers.
“Hopefully I’ll bring home a medal for the U.S.,” he said.
Johnson has been all over the slopes, from training in South America this summer to racing in the Revolution Tour ” where two top-five finishes in Minnesota, then Copper, qualified him for the Junior World Championships.
Another Yampah graduate, Laura Hadar, will miss this year’s X Games as the snowboarder-slopestyler is out with a knee injury.
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