Hundreds of junior ski racers take on Golden Peak in Vail
VAIL — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alpine athletes received an opportunity to compete on their home track Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16, after a pair of Sync Cup slalom races were moved from Winter Park to the Golden Peak venue due to a lack of snow at the Front Range resort.
The Sync Cup is a regional U.S. Ski and Snowboard-level event that typically features athletes in the under-16 age group; however, SSCV was able to race a number of its FIS-level athletes, which provided an improved points opportunity for the younger racers.
“We are still in a building block,” said U16 coach Michael Fairbrother. “We are still in a volume phase. We haven’t had as much training due to the weather as we would have liked ahead of these races. This was really our first chance to see how we are stacking up in the division.”
The highlight of the races was the performance by SSCV athlete Carissa Cassidy who won the girls’ event both days, on Saturday by a whopping 3.32-second margin. She was followed both days by SSCV’s Berit Frischholz in the second position. Loveland’s Dasha Romanov and Aspen’s Allyson Cornelius rounded out the podium on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Other notable local performances included Ava Jemison, Sophia Lehmann, Adalie Sullivan and Taylor Hoyt, all of whom earned top 10s.
“Carissa and all the girls are skiing really, really well,” said head U16 coach Sylvan Kaufman. “She’s been training phenomenally, so the margin of victory is not a huge surprise. We’ve been seeing this in training for a while now.”
The boys’ races were highlighted by SSCV’s Kellen Kinsella, an International Ski Federation-level racer, taking the win on Saturday by a 1.01-second margin. Fletcher Holm was SSCV’s top U16 finisher in fifth. He was joined in the top 10 by SSCV’s Henry Strauch and Samuel Packer.
“We’re happy with the way the kids are skiing considering the slow start to the training season. Our athletes are making good progress. They’re making good changes in their skiing,” Fairbrother said. “We are looking forward to the next GS block and a little speed block and hoping to peak in January.”
And in an annual Vail event, the Bolle Age Class Kombi took place on Sunday, a fun and unique race enjoyed by hundreds.
“It’s crazy,” said Vail racer Nick Kirwood, who finished second in the under-14 age division on Sunday, Dec. 17. “Way different.”
Featuring slalom stubby, slalom tall and giant slalom gates, skiers must make a variety of different styles of turns in a single run, changing disciplines and styles as they make their way down the course.
“It’s really fun to watch them look ahead as they do this race,” said Brenda Buglione, Kirwood’s mother, who was part of a large gathering at the bottom of the course watching the action. “They have to be quick, but then make big turns, and it’s just great for practice.”
SSCV under-12 head coach Brett Borgard said the race was a testament to the quality of the racing surface at Golden Peak.
“We had over 200 kids out here racing today,” Borgard said Wednesday. “And it held up great.”
Borgard was also a course setter.
“It’s very technical, so you have to regulate your speed,” Borgard said. “It’s a thinkers course, which is what I like about it.”
A team of 50 to 60 SSCV workers helped organize the race, which featured teams from around the region including Team Summit and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“It was a lot of work, but it runs smooth,” Borgard said.