Fresno native and 2006 Olympic Snowboarding team member Andy Finch will host a special weekend in his honor this weekend at China Peak Mountain Resort.
This two-day event will mark the first ever “Andy Finch Weekend.”
Finch is China Peak’s current ambassador to the mountain. This weekend will feature a winter sports qualifying invitational aimed at searching for the best skiers and snowboarders in the Valley.
Finch will host and facilitate the competition throughout the weekend, as well as judge the athletes who were invited to participate. Winners of this weekend’s competition will be entered in the finals called “The Andy Finch Park Invitational” later this month.
Brenna Blagg, the China Peak Media Communications Coordinator and a Fresno State alumn, is assisting Finch in preparation for this weekend’s event.
“[Finch] will be working with our park staff beforehand to make sure the park is fun and safe. [On the] day of, he’ll be judging the competition and all the people who were invited to [participate in] the qualifier,” Blagg said.
Megan McClintock, a Fresno State junior and member of the Fresno State ski & snowboard team, is planning on attending the event and is excited about Finch’s visit.
“Andy Finch is highly respected in the snowboard community,” McClintock said. “It’s so cool that he is coming back to his hometown and interacting with all of the skiers and snowboarders in the area. I’m really excited to go up to China Peak this weekend and watch all of the young and talented local athletes.”
Finch will also give his professional input to the physical nature of the resort.
“Andy is helping redesign features in our park at Tollhouse,” Blagg said. “We are utilizing his expertise to add creativity and flare to our currents jibs, rails and features and expand even further to add excitement for all local skiers and riders.”
Sam Gibbs, 20, is a Fresno native and avid skier and has been invited to ski in Finch’s qualifying round competition this weekend.
“I’m stoked to be invited to ski in Finch’s invitational,” Gibbs said. “It’s an honor to be recognized by an Olympic Athlete. I’m just going to go out there this Saturday and do my best. I’m hoping to move on to the next round and hopefully that will open some doors up for me in skiing in the future.”
Blagg is expecting a big turnout of visitors and athletes to the park for the tournament.
“Everyone [at China Peak] is super excited for this weekend,” Blagg said. “There are about 45 people who have been scouted and invited to participate in the qualifier. Kids have been up early, waxing boards and skis anticipating this weekend’s event.”