Vail Daily column: Competition season continues
Competition season continues at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Among them, the United States Alpine Championships took place this past week in Sun Valley, Idaho, and an International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association’s Rocky Mountain Big Mountain Regional Series competition hosted by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail took place in Vail.
National Alpine Championships
Fifteen Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes and alumni traveled to Sun Valley to compete in the United States Alpine Championships, earning this right either as current members of the U.S. Ski Team or through criteria established by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. The national championships provided an opportunity for the top junior alpine racers birth years 1995-1999 to race head to head against U.S. Ski Team members. Athletes competed in the alpine combined (super-G and slalom runs), super-G, slalom and giant slalom.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Jacob Dilling, Bridger Gile, Jack Keane (National Training Group), Colby Lange, Kyle Negomir and Mathew Macaluso competed in this prestigious competition along with River Radamus (U.S. D Team). For the women, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Nellie Rose Talbot (National Training Group), Abby Ghent and Jessica McMurtry qualified. Club alumni competing in the event included Alex Leever (National University Team) and Taylor Shiffrin (DU) for the men and Paula Moltzan (U.S. B Team), Sarah Schleper (Team Mexico) and Mikaela Shiffrin (U.S. A Team) for the women.
For Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Keane (1998) took gold on the juniors podium (1995 birth year and younger) in slalom at U.S. Alpine Championships. Leever (1995) was on the juniors podium in third place for slalom and giant slalom, the two events he competed in. Radamus (1998) walked away with a gold medal for juniors in the alpine combined and a silver medal for juniors in super-G and giant slalom.
On the women’s side, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna Shiffrin (1995) earned the overall and juniors top spot in slalom and giant slalom with Talbot (1999) taking home a bronze medal for juniors in the alpine combined event.
This combination of multiple podium performances by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail juniors and the large number of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail 1998-1999 birth year athletes qualifying for this national championship reflects the emerging talent of the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Alpine team.
Lover’s Leap at Vail Mountain’s Blue Sky Basin provided the perfect venue for last Sunday’s regional big mountain competition. Competitors enjoyed several feet of new snow dumped consistently over the past week. A total of 115 competitors ages 8 through 18, including more than 30 club athletes, competed in the largest single-day regional big mountain event in the region. This final regional competition of the season not only helps athletes earn points toward their IFSA ranking but it also creates opportunities for them to be invited to national events in April and next season.
There is a great deal of anticipation from both athletes and spectators in big mountain competitions, as athletes navigate through natural terrain including trees, steeps, cliffs, chutes, drops and gullies. Scores are arrived at by a panel of three judges, weighted heavily on the difficulty of the line and taking into account fluidity, technique, control and style.
It was a great day on home terrain for club athletes in Blue Sky Basin, capturing 10 top three spots and 19 top-five spots at Sunday’s big mountain competition.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Molly Reeder captured gold for the female ski 12 and younger division, with Cydney Harrison in third. Finn Griffith brought home gold for the male ski 12 and younger division, with Gavin Goike in second and Sam Heller in third.
Austin Obourn took the gold medal spot for the female ski 12-14 division. Julia Harty took silver in the same division.
Jordan Glendining also found herself on top of the podium representing the female ski 15-18 division with Rachel Cocchiarella in the third podium spot for female ski 15-18. Finn Andersson earned a silver medal in the male ski 15-18 division.
In memory of Zeke Pierce, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail gave out the Zeke Pierce Spirit Award in recognition of his love for the sport at the end of Sunday’s big mountain competition. This year’s recipients were Aaron Cook and Obourn.
Many lessons are learned through competitive snow sports. Our athletes have been at their on-snow season for five months, and continue to show grit and determination, all the while balancing academics and athletics. Many are focused on earning points for next season as well as making plans for spring and summer on-snow, trampoline, water ramp and strength training and conditioning camps. The preparation for next season begins!