Max Williams, of Winter Park, top finisher in the USASA slope style

Hank Shell
Max Williams, center, recently won a slopestyle competition at Vail Mountain Resort.
Courtesy Photo |

A Winter Park snowboarder has taken first place in a slope style competition at Vail Mountain Resort.

Max Williams, 15, was the top finisher in the USASA slope style competition’s 14-15 age group on Jan. 9.

“It feels nice,” Williams said. “I’ve been in training for a while, and it just feels nice when everything starts to pay off. It was cool.”

The win was especially significant given it was William’s first competition since injuring himself three weeks ago. Williams landed on his back after trying a new trick, but he didn’t sustain any significant injuries.

“It was my first comp back, and I was just coming in, trying to do my best and trying not to push it too far, always hoping for first but just ending up where I am,” Williams said. “Just trying my hardest.”

Williams scored an 82 on his first run, captivating judges with a front 360 to a back 900.

On his second run, Williams threw a cab switch frontside 540 into a backside 720, but the first run proved enough to take the cake.

“I’m very proud of his accomplishments and how far he’s come in the last few years,” said Williams’s father, Jeff. “I’m proud of how he has set his goals, how he’s managed to maintain his focus with snowboarding and also how he’s maintained his relationship with the community.”

Since he started snowboard nine years ago, Williams has progressed rapidly. In February 2014, Williams took first at a slopestyle competition in Breckenridge. The freedom of slopestyle appeals to Williams, he said.

“I feel like you can be a little more creative,” Williams said. “You’re not stuck doing the same thing every time.”

Williams also rides halfpipe. This year, he’s prequalified for the 2016 Revolution Tour in men’s halfpipe – quite an accomplishment for someone his age. He has a halfpipe competition in Breckenridge on Jan. 24, and after that, he’ll head to Mammoth Mountain, Calif., for the Revolution Tour. And beyond that? Maybe a professional snowboarding career.

“I would love to,” Williams said of the prospect. “It would be awesome.”

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.

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