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Riders go big at Snowbowl's first USASA Slopestyle Competition

Competitors in Snowbowl's USASA Slopestyle Competition gave the crowd waiting in the ski hill's long liftlines something to watch on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020.

The 28 riders in the event didn't hold back, catching big air, styling plenty of grabs and perfectly executing 720° off-axis rotations. 

"They're really sending it big," one parent in the crowd commented. 

USASA Regional Event are the first step in the Olympic pipeline. Participants start off their competitive career here, with the eventual hope of working up to elite level competition such as the Grand Prix, World Cups and Olympics. 

In the past, Missoula athletes had to travel to compete in the events but this year marks the first year they got to compete on their own home mountain. 

“I’m super excited we get to be here, it's been really great except the whole no internet thing,” USASA event coordinator Chris Ralph said. 

The course was visible from the liftline and bar. Many Snowbowl skiers stopped to watch some of the big tricks being styled by the competitors.  

One such onlooker was UM Ski Club President Henry Deluca, who watched the event throughout the day, in between hitting the slopes himself.

“The best part about skiing and things like this is the community that gathers around it," Deluca said. "Everyone’s just up here having a good time." 

University of Montana junior Hunter Schumann also took a break to watch the event for a while. 

“The competition was super cool to watch, there’s really amazing talent there,” Schumann said. 

The next ski competition will be Snowbowl Cup Gelande Championship. Skiers will be launching up to 200 feet off of Snowbowl’s 70 foot jump on Feb. 22 & 23.  

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Balancing two cardboard boxes against his knee, Yueyang Hu carefully closed the door of his truck. The boxes proved to be a cumbersome load for the 23-year-old University of Montana grad student as he joined the end of the long line at the Post Office and set the boxes on the counter. 

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