Big mountain skiers take on Blue Sky Basin in Vail freeskiing competition |

Big mountain skiers take on Blue Sky Basin in Vail freeskiing competition

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Will Ungar gets air off a natural feature called The Diving Board on the Lover's Leap run in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. Ungar took on the feature as part of his competition run in the International Freeskiing & Snowboarding Association's annual Vail big mountain competition on Sunday, March 27.
John LaConte |
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VAIL — A lot of people think big mountain skiing always involves powdery cliff drops.

But in the competitive realm of the sport — where judges critique form, line selection and difficulty; and events are scheduled months in advance — often times the snow isn’t so soft.

Vail only hosts one big mountain competition per season. It hasn’t been the best season for snow at Vail.

Nevertheless, athletes enjoyed soft snow and powdery landings at Sunday’s International Freeskiing & Snowboarding Association regional event on the Lover’s Leap run in Vail’s Blue Sky Basin. Just one day before the competition, the resort reported 10 inches of new snow, with more falling in Blue Sky Basin.

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“To have powder, the sun out, nice warm temperatures and pretty low wind, that’s a rarity,” Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Justin Holder said on Sunday, March 25. “Because of the weather, we got through the event quickly and likely saw less crashes than we would in variable weather.”


Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosted the event with the help of Holder and coaches Matias Doherty, Matt Luczkow and Lucas Furtiago. About 20 volunteers contributed to the effort, as well.

“We started setting up the event an hour and a half before Blue Sky Opened to the public,” Holder said. “And then we had to tear down everything in a timely matter so we could head out and catch the lifts out of the Back Bowls and not get stuck back there.”

A large finish zone was set up at the bottom of Lover’s Leap, complete with a giant inflatable archway like you might see at the top level of big mountain competition, the Freeride World Tour.

Visible to all who entered Blue Sky Basin, the event attracted many passers-by throughout the day. Hundreds were attracted to the top and bottom of the venue at Lover’s Leap, visible from Chair 37 Skyline Express.

“I had probably 20 people ask me what was going on,” Holder said.

That is the primary motivation in hosting a big mountain event, Holder added.

“It helps show our community what our sport is about,” he said. “People see what it is that these kids are doing, and how impressive it really is. In Vail it’s cool for the competitors to be able to share it with their friends and family, as well, for people who may not be able to make it to a more rural venue like Telluride or Crested Butte.”


Local standouts included the 12-14 age division, where Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes swept both the boys and girls divisions.

Local Travis Mills Jr. won the 12-14 age division for the boys.

“He moved up from 59th in the ranking, and now he’ll easily break into the top 40,” Holder said of Mills. “That was exactly what he needed to do if he wanted any chance of getting into championships.”

The championship event, scheduled for mid-April at Snowbird Resort in Utah, will be the culminating point of the season for big mountain competitors across the country.

There’s a few local athletes who are close, but not yet confirmed.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Holder said. “But it looks like we’ll have between five and 10 athletes in, which is good for our club as we’re still one of the smaller big mountain clubs.”

With hopes of growing, Holder said a lot of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s expectations for a competitive future in the discipline of big mountain skiing lies in their 12-14 age division.

“That’s where we see kids really learning a lot of lessons,” he said.

Here are the complete results from Sunday’s competition:

12-14 Snowboard


1. Jace Guadagnoli, 24.23

2. Alex Jimenez, 22.93

3. Lucas Lemire, 21.33

4. Lake Fleischer, 19.63

5. Aiden Rowell, 16.47

6. Nikolas Phelan, 0.00

15-18 Snowboard


1. Sofia Mino, 20.20

2. Jessica Dorn, 19.63

3. Mia Farley, 0.00


1. Michael Mawn, 27.37

2. Dagan Schwartz, 25.17

3. Warren Doyle, 25.17

4. Cole Miller, 21.83

5. Logan Hill, 21.03

6. Blake Edmonds, 18.00

7. Sam Linde, 17.53

U12 Skier


1. Keely Monkouski, 26.13

2. Aiya (Aiya the Tiger) Schwartz, 24.90

3. Addison Featherman, 22.90

4. Sloane Thompson, 22.80

5. Elle Guillot, 21.60

6. Sydney Thompson, 21.50

7. Shayna Friedman, 12.07


1. Rowen Downum, 27.60

2. Marin Gardner, 25.60

3. Barnes Eaton, 24.97

4. Mason Pfaffmann, 24.93

5. Jack Reynolds, 24.87

6. Alex Goodman, 24.10

7. Jacob Miller, 23.97

8. Zev Friedman, 23.87

9. Rudy Comai, 21.43

10. Teo Joseph, 21.20

11. Rogan Oakes, 20.47

12. Kai Walterscheid, 19.47

13. Parker Gray, 18.73

14. Darian Squires, 14.13

15. Tanner Gray, 12.60

16. Colin Glackin, 12.53

17. Colby Saunders, 0.00

18. Eli Nolan, 0.00

12-14 Skier


1. Caroline Ungar, 28.03

2. Molly Reeder, 26.63

3. Jenna Meyers, 25.97

4. India Nornes, 23.67

5. Isabella Comai, 21.20

6. Estella Miller, 20.70

7. Lindsey LaBaugh, 0.00


1. Travis Mills Jr, 30.97

2. Samuel Heller, 30.63

3. Finn Griffith, 29.73

4. Casey Myers, 27.13

5. Wyatt Eaton, 27.00

6. Cooper Wight, 26.80

7. Nate Ball, 26.63

8. Tucker Livingston, 26.60

9. Elliot Teague, 26.57

10. Tanner Moller, 26.57

11. Remy Guillot, 25.57

12. Perry Kushner, 25.07

13. Cody Mills, 25.03

14. Jacob Bernholtz, 24.63

15. Skyler Wember-Brown, 24.53

16. Ethan Barber, 24.47

17. Diego Braun, 24.07

18. Christian Mills, 23.47

19. Nathan Sawyer, 23.33

20. Mason Geller, 23.10

21. Major Powell, 22.50

22. Finn Ramsey, 16.73

23. Nicolas Layton, 14.77

24. Brooks Hauser, 14.70

25. Javier Braun, 13.67

26. Turner Ringler, 13.57

27. Drew Brust, 13.07

28. Rowan Featherman, 12.07

29. Justin Simmons, 0.00

15-18 Skier


1. Ellie Oates, 24.07

2. Scout Mattison, 23.90

3. Mckayla Meyers, 23.87

4. Avery Bernholtz, 23.63

5. Austin Obourn, 0.00


1. Kye Matlock, 30.63

2. Carson Hildebrandt, 30.07

3. Holden Bradford, 29.63

4. Dane DeFrates, 29.17

5. Owen Berv, 28.60

6. Ethan de Moraes, 27.90

7. Marko Alling, 26.30

8. Will Brown, 25.97

9. Kai Wember-Brown, 25.90

10. William Ungar, 24.33

11. Tommy Novick, 23.77

12. Graham Spessard, 23.47

13. Grayden Easton, 22.50

14. Evan Fenley, 22.23

15. Jeremiah Hartman, 21.53

16. Jacob Dorn, 14.03

17. Liam Mattison, 13.50

18. Lucas Albertoni, 13.07

19. Deacan Spierling, 13.03

20. Hayden Owen, 0.00

21. Miles Brundige, 0.00

22. Josh Kreider, 0.00

23. Leo Whitmore, 0.00

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