Freestylers named to US ‘Young Guns’ team
VAIL — With invites to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s Young Guns program on the line, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freestyle athletes made an impression in Sun Valley, Idaho, during the Junior National Championships, which wrapped up on March 19.
Emily Szabo, who trains with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, won the event overall — despite the fact that she races in the 13 and 14 year old division and was competing among a much older field. This surprised many at the event, her coach John Dowling said.
“Emily absolutely slayed the course,” Dowling said. “She came out hard, and after the first run, she really took everyone by surprise. After the qualifying round she was way ahead of the next highest person. In the final, she went even bigger and faster and managed to take the win.”
In doing so, Szabo met the first criteria for an invite to Junior Worlds next season.
Meanwhile, Katie Coyne earned the highest turn scores of the event, finishing fifth overall, third for her age division of U19. Gabbi Fischer finished third for U17 age class, and Kai Owens was the U13 age class winner.
All four skiers — Szabo, Coyne, Fisher and Owens — qualified for U.S. Ski Team’s Young Guns program, which means they’ll be part of an American training group consisting of the country’s best three skiers per age group.
From Vail to Italy
The United States Ski & Snowboard Association has announced the team of 14 moguls and aerials athletes that will represent the U.S. at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy. Competitions are scheduled for April 3 to 5.
Among this year’s U.S. representatives are Casey Andringa and Kaitlyn Harrell of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Matt and John Leseur, who train with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and represent the nation of Bermuda, have also punched their tickets.
Action in Valmalenco kicks off with men’s and women’s aerials on April 3, followed by men’s and women’s moguls and dual moguls on April 4 to 5.
Meanwhile, the following Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes have been invited to compete at the National Championships in Steamboat this month: Heidi Kloser, Tess Johnson, Morgan Schild, Katie Coyne, Gabbi Fisher, Casey Andringa, Dylan Walczyk, Emerson Smith, Hunter Bailey, Teddy Kust, Trevor Wahl and Myles Frendel.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.