Callie Allen Wins 1st Place in Halfpipe at USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation snowboarder Callie Allen’s ambitious style and hard work resulted in a national championship title at Copper Mountain, Colorado, earlier this week.

Allen put up a 67.00 run at the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s (USASA) Snowboard National Championships Halfpipe event to claim first in the youth 15- to 16-year-old women’s division on Monday, April 1.

She won in style.

“The thing with Callie yesterday was, she [did] a run that showed risk right off the bat,” SVSEF snowboard travel head coach Andy Gilbert told the Express on Tuesday. “She was dropping into the run straight into a front-side 360 and then a cab 360, which is when you go from riding switch to regular.”

“A lot of times, especially in younger divisions, [riders] will kind of work up their amplitude and then go for spinning tricks,” he said. “So that fact that she was just dropping straight into a spinning combo, the judges rewarded the risk that she took there.”

Allen said the difficult-early combo was the plan going into the run and a culmination of the season’s work.

“I had been doing that a bit earlier in the season at comps and it kind of just works out better,” Allen said. “High risk, high reward.”

Allen was relieved to end her season on such a positive note.

“It’s still just shocking,” she said. “But it feels very rewarding because I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. It’s been a tough season [when] we didn’t get much snow this year. Mentally, it’s just been hard, so it makes me feel really happy and proud of myself to see that it’s all kind of worked out and it shows.”

Gilbert was similarly positive about the championship, adding more about Allen’s character.

“She’s a special athlete,” he said. “I think she’s a special kid. Everyone on the team, you know, kids, coaches, just everybody kind of gravitates toward her. She’s got a very [positive] personality and to be around her and watch her succeed [in] something that she’s been working really hard for, it was just really, really special.”

However, the accolades didn’t stop with Allen’s win on the halfpipe. She also placed third in Slopestyle in the 15- to 16-year-old women’s division Tuesday.

Allen said these accolades early on in her snowboarding career should help her keep advancing in the sport.

“Last year I was at nationals, that kind of just put me in the conversation, and this year it’s kind of like a jumpstart [in the sport],” she said. “It’ll put me in the picture in the future and it’ll just keep me going. It’s definitely a lot of motivation.”

Gilbert added that getting a top finish at this event could help Allen and others in similar positions.

“These kinds of results, like getting on the podium, can sometimes open the door for some invite to things like camps with the U.S. team or potentially even qualify for some events for next season,” he said.

Generally speaking, Gilbert was excited with the direction of the snowboarding program after the national championships and the season’s conclusion.

“We’re really lucky with this group of kids that are coming up through the program right now,” he said. “They’re all really supportive of each other and when one kid succeeds, it kind of feels like the whole team does. So, Callie is helping elevate us right now with this result. She deserves a ton of credit for her hard work.”