Final Mogul Mania met with moxie
For most beginners, skiing the mogul run on Vail Mountain’s Cookshack run would be like trying to drive a Geo Metro over Independence Pass in the middle of January – a recipe for constant turbulence and failure – but, for the most part, the competitors in the final 2004 Mogul Mania event of the season made it look a walk on the beach Saturday.
Former U.S. Ski Team member Mike Friedberg, of Boulder, won the grand prize of $1,000 in the Men’s Open division – a division that hosts competitors that include Olympians and World Cup team members.
“It’s fierce competition up there; a lot of bumps, lot of jumps, a lot of fun,” said James Deighan, vice president of Highline Sports & Entertainment.
Friedberg, 25, who was once ranked among the top-15 men in the world in freestyle, beat out John Eaton of Morrison. Avon’s Mike Amato secured third place, just ahead of Mike Casae of Vero Beach, Fla.
“The bulk of the field are Ski and Snowboard Club Vail members,” said SSCV head mogul coach Brian Baker. “It’s good training in a competitive environment.”
Shannon Crockford, of Vail, won in the Men’s Sport division by defeating Filip Zeman. Will James took third and Casey Johnson placed fourth.
Hillary Procknow narrowly lost to Lauren Rainer in the Women’s Sport division. April Tumey placed third and Ali Bathgate took fourth.
“Ali Bathgate’s in her first year in the program, and she’s been learning a ton and really improving,” said Baker. “The same with Hillary. She’s a senior in high school, and it’s her first year in the freestyle program – she used to be in the alpine program – and she’s doing really well.”
Quite a few younger athletes showed up to compete.
“A lot of the athletes are younger kids like Simon Lee, Heidi and Christian Kloser, Matt Dillon, Michael Brown, Spike Kramer and Kristi Waring. These younger, up-and-coming kids are really what make up the core of the field,” said Baker.
In the 14 & Under divisions, Heidi Kloser took first among the girls – also earning the season title over reigning champion Waring. Tony Ryerson beat the rest of the boys, taking the season title. Michael Brown finished second and Christian Kloser was third on the year.
“Heidi’s 11 years old and she’s already landing helicopters and skiing at a really high level for her age,” said Baker.
Taylor Seaton won the Rail Ski division. Seaton, 13, does all the events – halfpipe, slopestyle and rails.
“Taylor’s a great young free-rider. He’s coming up,” said Baker. “It’s pretty awesome to watch him compete and get paid as such a young kid.”
Ricky Rodriguez won the Rail Snowboard division.
“It’s a really good series for young skiers in the valley to gain competition experience in a fun event on their home course. Also, they get to ski in the same event alongside U.S. Ski Team members,” said Baker.
Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at email@example.com.