Five local races named to Junior Worlds team |

Five local races named to Junior Worlds team

Paula Moltzan, of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, is one of five locals named to the FIS Alpine World Juniort Championships on Friday by the U.S. Ski Team.
Townsend Bessent | Daily file photo |

PARK CITY, Utah — Five local racers are on their way to the 2015 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships next month in Hafjell, Norway, the U.S. Ski Team announced on Friday.

Paula Moltzan, Katharine Irwin, Nina O’Brien, Alex Leever and Florian Szwebel will all be on hand for the Junior Championships in Norway taking place March 6-13.

Unique Opportunity

The annual FIS Alpine World Junior Championships provide a unique opportunity for the best 16-20 year-olds of the skiing world to compete together. The event is also designed to serve as a test event for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer.

Moltzan, originally from Minnesota, but now training with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, is one of the headliners, grabbing a pair of top-10 finishes at World Junior Championships a year ago and is currently ranked sixth in the overall Nor-Am Cup standings. She also finished 20th at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in women’s slalom at Beaver Creek.

“This is a strong and diverse Junior Worlds Team with athletes from some of the best club programs around the country,”said Patrick Riml, the U.S. Ski Team’s alpine director. “We look forward to being competitive in Norway and using the Championships as a platform for the future.”

Notably absent from the roster is Junior World alumna Mikaela Shiffrin, who will remain in Europe to focus on the World Cup where she is leading the Audi FIS World Cup slalom standings and is third in the overall standings.

Irwin, a SSCV product, has six top-10 finishes in speed on the Nor-Am Cup this year and also has shone in FIS races in Europe. This is Irwin’s third trip to Junior Worlds.

O’Brien calls Edwards home, but has been training at the Burke Academy in Vermont, a the same route taken by Shiffrin. Lever, 19, is a SSCV racer as is Szwebel, who has two junior race wins in Italy this winter to his credit.

The team, 16 in all, including the local contingent will have a full slate, starting with women’s giant slalom on March 7 and men’s GS on the eighth. March 9 is slalom for both men and women. March 10 is super-G day with the downhills on March 13.

The same weekend, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill and super G will be held in nearby Kvitfjell.

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