BEND, Ore. – The U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) kicked off its 5-day long annual Collegiate National Championship on Tuesday with a snowboard and freeski rail jam, women’s giant slalom, and a 7.5-kilometer classic Nordic race. Mt Bachelor is serving as host for all events over the five days of exciting competition.

A record breaking 513 collegiate athletes representing 70 universities across six regions will compete in 24 events within the 5-day period.

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On the Thunderbird trail, the women opened the alpine events with two action-packed runs of GS. Sierra Nevada College won the day, but Frida Svedberg from Rocky Mountain College claimed the individual title.

“The course and conditions were great today. The girls put the team ahead of themselves and we were rewarded,” said Sierra Nevada College Head Coach Branko Zagar.

“The conditions and level of competition were both world class. The women made this a thrilling championship race,” said Mike Dzubay, vice president of alpine for USCSA.

Sierra Nevada’s Johanna Tikkanen and Francesca Curtolo rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.

Racing also began at the Nordic venue with the classic race. The University of Wyoming’s team finished the day in first place for both men and women. The individual champions were Mason Vincent and Elise Sulser.

“It was very tough competition but they skied really well. We’re very excited to have all the teams here and all the great skiers. The trails were amazing and the organization was top notch!” exclaimed University of Wyoming Head Coach Christi Boggs.

St. Olaf College’s Nora Gilbertson and Piper Bain claimed the second two steps on the podium in the women’s race, while Cornell’s Benjamin Anderson and St. Olaf’s Leif Hanson did so in the men’s race.

Teams begin their quest to qualify for the U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboarding National Championship in their local conference competitions – held across 11 conferences spanning the nation. Top teams from each conference attend one of six regional championships, which decide who ultimately qualifies to participate in events held this week.

“The weather was beautiful and the competition reflected this,“ said USCSA President Andy Rangen.  “I’m excited for the remaining competitions and couldn’t be happier to have them at this great venue.”

Competitions continue Wednesday with men’s giant slalom, freeski and snowboard slopestyle, and a Nordic freestyle sprint.

Check in daily for live video and audio feeds here.

Release courtesy of USCSA, photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Ski Team