Monday, January 10, 2011
Otsego Club Hosts U.S. Snowboard Team
GAYLORD, MICHIGAN — Top snowboarders from around the country and world are coming to train at the Otsego Club & Resort next week, and for some, it will be their second visit to the Alpine Village.
The Otsego Club announced Thursday that the United States National Snowboard Team will be training at the resort Jan. 14-18 in preparation for the season’s upcoming national events. Half-pipe riders will be making use of the O-Park, which features a 22-foot superpipe — the same size used at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and at competitions across the country. The same half-pipe drew a dozen international Olympic teams to train for several weeks last winter.
Confirmed to train at the Otsego Club include last year’s U.S. Olympic snowboarding team members Gretchen Bleiler, Louie Vito and Greg Bretz. Other top riders joining them include Ellery Hollingsworth, Kelly Marren, Kaitlyn Farrington, JJ Thomas, Zack Black, Matt Ladley, Ben Watts, and Steve Fisher.
“We are very excited about how the O-Park has become a training ground for not only these world-class athletes, but also elite riders everywhere who want to train in a similar environment that they find out west,” said Otsego Club general manager Kris Klay. “We are looking forward to having the United States National Snowboard Team training here at the O-Park and believe this is just the beginning of a long-standing partnership with the United States’ best riders.”
The biggest advantage, according to the athletes who trained here last season, is the big half-pipe on the small hill, which allows for many more runs in a day than what could be accomplished at a larger, busier resort elsewhere. The half-pipe and the rest of the O-Park are maintained by Planet Snow.
In addition to the top U.S. riders coming to the O-Park this season, the international teams from New Zealand and Australia also will be returning to train this winter. James Hamilton, one of the top riders from New Zealand, is excited to return to the O-Park.
“The half-pipe is perfect and this is why we come back to train. It is world-class and as good as any pipe you will find in the world,” Hamilton said. “It’s great here because we can stay right here at the resort and the chair lift goes right up alongside the half-pipe making training very efficient. I am looking forward to coming back this season and training here for the remainder of the season.”
The Otsego Club is offering limited “Test Drive Package” opportunities to families who want to snowboard and see these world-class athletes in action.
Call 800-752-5510 or visit www.otsegoclub.com or www.the-opark.com for information.