A grand weekend is on docket at Killington
Vermont natives and fellow Olympians Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter will have at it this weekend at Killington for the US Snowboarding Grand Prix overall title. Clark is the defending Grand Prix champ and is leading the women's standings following a victory at the Copper Mountain opener and a second at Boreal. Teter, who won the halfpipe at Boreal, is close behind with Gretchen Bleiler sitting third.
Louie Vito and Steve Fisher are tied in the overall men's standings. The finals in the 430-foot-long halfpipe with 22-foot walls are scheduled for Saturday with slopestyle Sunday.
Hannah Kearney is heading into her final World Cup of the season March 18-20 in France with a 2009 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championship dual moguls bronze medal. The Norwich, Vt., skier, who won World Championship gold in 2005, took third in Sunday's championship in Japan behind gold medalist Aiko Uemura and Miki Ito, both of Japan, on a course Kearney said was incredibly difficult, with snow changing from slush to ice.
"I'm really actually disappointed in my level of skiing, but pleased with the medal," said Kearney.
She plans to rest, train, and show up in France ready to take the World Cup title.
Tiny transponder tags in the front and back of the skis emit radio waves a thousand times a second, which are picked up by antennae placed along the course. The system then processes the information to determine near-constant ski positioning over the length of the entire run, which is said to be accurate to within 3 centimeters. Coaches and athletes will someday be able to view the resulting data to determine proper balance, and if a skier is carving turns accurately and approaching slalom gates in the most efficient manner.
Abatec, which is based in Austria, recently completed the product's initial testing in Germany, and researchers are attempting to perfect the application before marketing it for commercial use. According to Science Daily, issues include finding an adhesive that will keep the chips affixed to skis while on course while allowing the tags to be easily swapped out between different racers.
Globe correspondent T.D. Thornton contributed to this report.