Thirteen months before slopestyle makes its Olympic debut, Anchorage's Ryan Stassel made a compelling bid for a spot on the U.S. team.
Stassel, 20, captured seventh place in men's slopestyle Friday at the World Snowboard Championships in Stoneham, Quebec -- a competition that is part of the Olympic qualifying process.
Stassel was the top American, finishing four spots ahead of Chas Guldermond, the star of the U.S. team who won the season's first World Cup slopestyle event last week in Copper Mountain, Colo., where Stassel placed 21st.
Slopestyle is a crowd-pleasing X Games event contested in both snowboarding and skiing. Competitors perform mid-air tricks as they descend a course set with jumps, rails and other terrain-park features; they score points for amplitude, creativity and quality of their tricks.
Stassel scored 74.25 points on his first of two runs down the course to claim seventh place. Finland's Rooper Tonteri, who was second at Copper Mountain, took gold with 93.75 points.
Three Americans made the 20-man finals. Guldermond was 11th with 66.25 points, and Sage Kotsenburg finished 20th with 20.5 points.
The Olympic qualifying period began in July and continues through Jan. 19 of next year. The top 30 men on the FIS points list will qualify for the Games in Sochi, Russia, with a maximum of four riders per country. If Stassel is able to continue posting top-30 results in enough Olympic-qualifying events, he could make the cut for the U.S. team.
Stassel is a Service High graduate who lives in Truckee, Calif., during the competitive season. He spends summers in Alaska, often working as a Cook Inlet setnetter with his family.
He got his competitive start with the Big Alaska Snowboard Club, which has two other athletes also competing Outside this week.
Brent Moody captured third place Friday in men's slopestyle at the U.S. Revolution Tour in Northstar, Calif., where Ryan's sister Allison placed seventh Monday in women's snowboardcross.
Girdwood's Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team, is not competing at either the World Championships or the Revolution Tour.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By BETH BRAGG