Vail Daily column: Freeskiing athletes compete around the world
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s freeski big mountain and park and pipe athletes have been spanning the globe with successes and personal bests at every level. This year, athletes from the team have competed in the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Freeride Junior Worlds in Spain, Aspen X Games, European X Games, Revolution Tour, Dew Tour, International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association Big Mountain Series and U.S. Ski Association and USA Snowboard and Freeski Association Rocky Mountain competitions. The youngest athletes got their start by competing locally at the Steadman Clinic Vail Cup series.
The freeski team competes in the disciplines of big mountain, halfpipe, slopestyle, rail jams, big air and skicross. These athletes are all improving in their sports and learning life lessons along the way, regardless of age group.
These children, teenagers and young adults are committed to skiing and training to bring themselves and their sport to the next level. In addition to winter on-snow ski practice, these dedicated athletes train year-round with water ramps, trampoline camps, off-season on-snow camps and dry land conditioning.
Recognition goes out to Aaron Milligan, Finn Anderson and Austin Obourn for their commitment to their sport.
Aaron Milligan is a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time park and pipe athlete and a senior at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Aaron took first at last week’s Winter Park Revolution Tour after a top finish at the Aspen Open the week before. Aaron earned these results after a long recovery period from two injuries that took him out of competition last spring.
Austin Obourn, a full-time big mountain athlete and ninth-grader at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, is ranked No. 1 in the Rocky Region for 14 and younger and in the top three nationally with IFSA for the same age group.
Another Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athlete and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy 10th-grader Finn Anderson took second in Winter Park, fifth in Crested Butte, fifth in Taos and second in Sunlight this season. Finn always tries hard on the slopes and has been committed to attending dry land sessions. He is helpful to his teammates, and now as the veteran big mountain athlete at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, has assumed the team leader role.
Nick Iskenderian is the February C3 Athlete Award winner. He is a full-time Nordic athlete in the 10th grade. Nick has been with the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic program for four years. This past summer Nick’s family relocated to Big Sky, Montana. Nick made commitments of his own to his sport that he wanted to see through so he researched the option of attending Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Winter Tutorial. He chose to attend Winter Tutorial and honor the commitment he had made to himself to pursue Nordic skiing. Nick spent the summer in the valley training with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and headed to Big Sky for school through November. During Thanksgiving week Nick joined his teammates for their annual camp in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Nick has embraced the benefits of being a full-time athlete and attending Winter Tutorial, focusing on training and learning what it means to be a cross country ski racer. Nick has developed into a competent ski tech, a great asset to coaches and athletes. Nick’s effort throughout the season has been tremendous.
Congratulations also go out to Jack Coyne and Colbey Derwin for the honor of being nominated for the February C3 Athlete Award.
Eric Pepper is the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic head coach and February C3 Staff Award winner. Eric is very dedicated to the athletes on the comp and Devo Nordic teams. He is organized, communicative, and focused in his coaching role.
Nordic skiing is a year-round commitment. Eric organizes roller-ski adventures and epic hikes many weekends starting in the summer and extending into the fall to build fitness and foster a team community.
Eric’s support does not stop there. He works closely with athletes not only during dryland and on-snow activities, but he also supports athletes dealing with other things going on in their lives, communicating with parents about his concerns and necessary next steps. Eric is extremely responsive and readily available, always showing exemplary commitment and outstanding character.
Beyond Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes are developing character traits through the vehicle of a competitive snowsports. A free Try the Club Day is a great way to expose your child to everything that Ski & Snowboard Club Vail offers.
• Alpine: March 13.
• Freeski (park and pipe and big mountain): March 20.
• Freestyle (moguls): March 20.
• Snowboard: March 20.
For registration and details, call 978-621-8738 or email email@example.com.