USA Snowboard team member Robbie Burns, who is from Mount Shasta and is a 2009 Mount Shasta High grad, captured his first USASA Nationals Gold Medals in both the slalom and giant slalom event on April 1 and 2. Tess Weathers, also from Mount Shasta. captured gold medals in the Master Women’s Division for slalom and giant slalom.
Three snowboarders with Mount Shasta ties took top honors recently at the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
USA Snowboard team member Robbie Burns, who is from Mount Shasta and is a 2009 Mount Shasta High grad, captured his first USASA Nationals Gold Medals in both the slalom and giant slalom event on April 1 and 2. Tess Weathers, also from Mount Shasta. captured gold medals in the Master Women’s Division for slalom and giant slalom. Tess and Robbie both competed individually at Nationals. Weathers, a 2002 Mount Shasta High graduate, was the national collegiate champion for two years while at UC Davis. She is now a Civil Engineering Professor at Chabot College.
The NorCal Carvers team, comprised of high school and ex-high school racers from the north state region pulled in eight more medals in the competition. This included Tate Harkness of Mount Shasta. She led the way with gold medals in slalom and giant slalom last week and in the boarder cross event in the junior women category on Monday. A junior at Mount Shasta High School, she Harkness was the California State High School Champion in 2017, and took second place in 2018.
In a press release Burns said winning was “a little bit like a dream ... I’ve been coming to USASA Nationals for 14 years now and this is the first time I’ve made it on to the top step and took first place, so it’s amazing. I had some of my best friends at the top of the course supporting me, and my family still here supporting me 14 years in ... it’s awesome.”
“There’s definitely an element of self-efficacy in my win today,” Burns added. “That’s something that we try and instill in every kid that comes through USASA, is that belief in yourself that you can accomplish whatever you set out to.”
“No matter where you’re at in your progression you always have the opportunity to win, and that’s maybe the funnest part about it,” Burns added.
When asked to reflect upon what the USASA has meant to him throughout his snowboard career, Burns had this to say: “USASA has truly been a blessing in my life. It’s been so much fun to be a part of it ever since I was a kid. The reason this community is so great is because it’s built upon families from all across the United States. Those families make up the volunteers, they make up the coaches, they make up the directors, and when we come out to nationals we get to see that family in action. It’s built on family and the most important thing is fun, and that’s the future of our sport. Together we’re a force, and it’s just been growing. I think Chuck would be proud.”
On April 2 in the giant slalom, Burns proved once again his mastery of the Copper Mountain venue, as he kept the momentum from his giant slalom victory on Monday rolling right into Tuesday’s race where he once again claimed top spot.
“I wish I could say I was hanging around to celebrate with all these beautiful people, but I’ve gotta go back to work tonight. 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. tomorrow morning ... not really looking forward to it” said Burns, who works as a nighttime security guard to fund his riding. “But, to win double gold here at Nationals this year, a lot of things had to go right. There was a little bit of a smaller group this year, a few less athletes, but that almost makes it so people think maybe I should win. But in our sport, anybody can win it on any given day. So when I get in the start gate against Everett (McEwan) or one of these young kids who are gunning hard, I look at it like, I’ve got my head out there and they’re just ready to take it off. It’s a different sort of intimidating.”
“To win both titles this year, it’s really special,” Burns continued. “I’ve had a lot of people reach out, and that’s a testament to the overwhelming support from this community. My heart’s full and I can’t wait to be back at the USASAs and do it again next year.”
Burns’ double gold performance almost didn’t happen, after a crash the previous week resulted in his goggles smashing into his face and opening up a deep cut near his eye.
“I actually called Zippy (Neil) last week and told her I wasn’t going to be racing this week,” Burns explained, “but a bunch of people were like, ‘Hey, the snow’s really good at Copper right now. Just go out there and feel the snow,’ so I said okay and on Sunday I took some runs with my team and thought, ‘Okay, my head feels good, my eye doesn’t hurt, let’s do this.’ It’s weird how it all works. I wasn’t even planning on racing, but I turned it around and I did race and it’s just been a wonderful experience here, like always.”
Brice Harkness, Tate’s younger brother and a freshman at Mount Shasta High School, also competed and took ninth in the SkierCross event.
The tournament brings in nearly 2,000 racers from all over the country, and this was the best medal performance the northstate has had in the history of the event.