Champions all start out in the trenches and work their way up to the highest echelons of competition, and the grassroots United States of America Snowboard/Skier Association offers just that.

The organization operates a series of amateur, regional freestyle events that give everyday snowboarders and skiers a chance to accumulate points for a run at a national title. Joining the association costs $75, with the first event free, but that price comes with the potential promise of future stardom.

The Southwest Freeride Series, formerly the New Mexico Series, lands in New Mexico six times this winter. Competitors from age 6 to 60 and up vie for a spot at the national meet at Copper Mountain April 3-14.

The series began in Red River Jan. 8 with the first-ever railjam competition. Snowboard slalom and giant slalom events convene at Angel Fire Jan. 22. Then slopestyle competitions get under way for both skiers and ‘boarders Feb. 12 at Red River, March 5 at Taos Ski Valley and March 12 at Angel Fire.

In between, a two-day skier- and boardercross meet will be held at Angel Fire Feb. 19-20.

The association began in 1990 with a snowboard competition in California and has grown since to include 32 series in five regions around the country. Snowboarders have been broken into 12 age groups and one open class, while skiers divide up into five groups and one open class.

Go to United States of American Snowboard Association to find a nearby region and contact person.

More information.