Ski & Snowboard Club Vail leads region in U14 championships qualification
32 local racers are headed to the season-culminating event in Steamboat
Nicole Begue Troconis
At the 39th annual Dan Prater Memorial Cup in Crested Butte, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail qualified the most athletes of any club to the Rocky/Central U14 Regional Championships, which will be held in Steamboat Springs next month.
SSCV qualified 32 racers (15 boys and 17 girls) to the championship out 91 total athletes invited. The next-best clubs were Steamboat and Aspen with 10 apiece.
The weekend consisted of one day of super-G training, followed by a super-G race, a pair of giant slaloms and a pair of slaloms. Points were tabulated using a modified World Cup scoring system to determine qualification to the regional champs. From there, racers will have an opportunity to advance to the CanAm race on the East Coast or even the U16 National Championship.
As an added bonus, this year, the top eight boys from Vail and the top eight boys from Steamboat have been selected to compete in a head-to-head competition alongside the World Pro Ski Tour in Steamboat today and Saturday. The event will feature the Vail Wolf Pack versus the Steamboat Outlaws, shooting it out for U14 bragging rights between the rival ski clubs.
“The super-G was really cool for this age group because it had a really good jump and really good terrain in the hill,” said SSCV head U14 Alpine coach Rob Worrell. “The super-G was pretty intense because the kids had to get the right direction off and they’d catch some pretty good airs and have good jumping skills. We had really good preparation for jumping because we did a speed camp down in Purgatory, and that paid off big time for our kids in the speed event.”
Sophie Stocker and Shu Avery picked up podium finishes in that event. On the women’s side, SSCV claimed five of the top 10 spots. For the men, Hunter Salani finished just off the podium in fourth.
In the first of two women’s GS, Frankie Marston, Sydney Birtwhistle, Lauren Haerter swept the podium for SSCV, which claimed all of the top six spots in that race. In the second GS, Haerter and Stocker finished in first and second, with SSCV claiming five of the top 10. In the men’s GS, Salani and Kai Ogawa finished second and third.
SSCV shined in slalom claiming 11 of the top 20 spots across two races. Podium finishers included Stocker, Haerter, Marston, Birtwhistle and Avery Forstl for the girls. On the boys’ side, Luke Arrigoni came home with a win followed by Stewart Bruce in third — Salani snagged another podium in the latter race.
“At this age we’re totally preparing our athletes for higher levels in these events,”Worrell said. “Obviously, we want to be successful at these events, and our results show we have a lot of depth. … The whole coaching staff is super proud of this team. They worked hard in their preparation and it really showed at this event.”
Paul Cuthbertson, a lifelong local of Eagle and Summit counties, died while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to meet some friends for a celebration of his 21st birthday on Friday night.