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Saturday, March 24 Sports

New Canaan native snowboards to third place at Vermont Open

New Canaan native Richie Hoge, 14, took third place in the banked slalom event at the 2014 Vermont Open, a professional snowboarding competition held at Stratton Mountain on Sunday, March 9.

Over the weekend, Hoge competed against approximately 135 other registrants, including former Olympians, X Games medalists and U.S. national team riders. As opposed to competing in the age-appropriate, amateur division, Hoge chose to race in the men's pro division, where he competed directly against former medalists.

After a well-executed first run, Hoge stood in fifth place for the banked slalom with a time of 66.28 seconds, four ticks out of first. Despite deteriorating course conditions, Hoge managed to shave off almost two seconds from his initial time with a blistering second run that pushed him into third place. Hoge shared the podium with Ross Powers and Josh Wylie, two nationally recognized, professional snowboarders.

During the winter, Hoge attends Killington Mountain School in Killington, Vermont. When he is not competing on the slopes, the 14-year-old resides in New Canaan. The Vermont Open was Hoge's final event before he will head to the USASA national competitions in Colorado in early April. Hoge's other notable results include first-place finishes at the 2014 USASA Southern Vermont series in slalom, giant slalom, and banked slalom. He also placed third in the youth men's division for boardercross, in what now is his sixth year of snowboarding.

Down the road, Hoge looks forward to pursuing a career in professional snowboarding. Recently, he was invited to off-sesaon training sessions with U.S. national team members in the Project Gold program.

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