For Tyler Mosher, the U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association national championships are an annual event, a chance to compare himself against the best adaptive snowboarders in the world. While it may seem like a distraction - he is working to represent Canada and Whistler in the 2010 Paralympics in cross-country skiing - he also wants to represent Canada in 2014 if adaptive snowboarding is added to the schedule.
Mosher said this year at Copper Mountain, Colorado was the toughest competition he's faced at the USASA, which he says bodes well for the sport. He placed fourth in slopestyle, third in slalom and first in giant slalom. He was also leading the finals of the snowboardcross but crashed when another racer clipped his board from behind. He did, however, have the fastest run in the qualifier, which bodes well for his own future - sling shot, or time trial snowboardcross - is being considered as the World Cup and Paralympic snowboarding event.
"I had the fastest time, which is a good indicator for me because there is no classification at this event, everybody competes together," said Mosher, noting that his time was better than other athletes that would be in faster classifications at International Paralympic Committee (IPC) events.
Mosher's best event was the giant slalom, where he said he took the most chances.
"That was the last event and it was a great finish to the season," he said. "I didn't have any wins under my belt so I'm glad I pulled it out. I think I was trying to be too technical, as technically sound as possible, instead of fighting to win as hard as I could. I put everything on the line in the last race."
Ian Lockey, who is also a national level snowboarder and Mosher's closest competitor in most events, won the overall title this year.
Now that the snowboard season is over Mosher has focused back on cross-country skiing. He owns a landscaping business, but plans to fit in an hour and a half of training before and after a day's work. That means time in the gym, and a couple of months on roller skis before he heads to New Zealand to train for a month.
He's already slimmed down from his rugby playing days, but wants to lose another 15 pounds between this summer and the 2010 Winter Games to gain a little extra speed and endurance.
The team is selected on Feb. 22, at which point Mosher hopes to have already qualified for the Games. He's already met the international qualifications set out by the team, but doesn't want to leave anything to chance at team selection.
"The fact is I've worked five years for this and I'm not going to let it go by the wayside," he said. "I have to be ready."