Kirk’s Corner: Gratitude for many Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes having a championship season
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
There is great excitement surrounding championships among Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes and parents in a season where there was uncertainty as to whether training and competition, let alone championship events, could happen. Many thanks go out to Vail Resorts, Vail Mountain, other host mountains, Eagle County Public Health, our snowsports governing bodies, parents, athletes and staff for all of their support, hard work and diligence in making at least some championship seasons (although unfortunately not all for reasons beyond everyone’s control) possible. Among the championships taking place this past week were the Western Junior Championships for Nordic athletes and the moguls U.S. Junior Nationals.
Local Nordic skiers wrapped up their season with the Western Junior Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah. Featuring the top programs in the west, 29 Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes went head-to-head in the skate sprint, individual start classic and individual start skate events over three days of competition.
Beginning on March 11 with the skate sprint event, U16s, U18s and U20s took to the 1.5-kilometer course to decide the top spots in a series of heats. In the U16 age division, young standout and SSCV U14 Lucy Perkins scored a silver medal in the event and teammate Izzy Glackin rounded out the top 10 in 10th after four rounds of vigorous sprinting. Among the combined U18s and U20s, Haley Brewster slid into second place and Emma Reeder landed in eighth. In the next day’s 5K interval start, Reeder sped into second while Brewster took up fifth, followed by teammates Sarah Bivens in sixth and Emma Barsness in 10th. In the junior women category, Perkins continued to assert herself among her older competitors, this time taking home a gold medal instead of silver. SSCV U16 Cassidy Wright also had a great day on the course, coming in fifth in a field of 77. On the final day of competition, SSCV men and women left it all on the course in the individual start skate event. Reeder continued to power through the pack, this time landing in seventh among the U18-U20 women. Later in the day, Perkins skated into a sixth-place tie in her age division. SSCV U16 William Bentley grabbed his first top 10 finish of the week on the junior men’s side with a ninth-place finish out of 88.
“We have been very fortunate to be able to have a robust, high-quality racing season this year,” said SSCV Nordic program head coach Eric Pepper on this week’s culmination of the Nordic season. “To be able to go to such a high-quality event like this one is a high note to end on — a great celebration of what we have been doing and an opportunity to show what our athletes have learned.”
Just a few miles away in Utah Olympic Park, mogul skiers battled it out over three days of competition at the 2021 U.S. Junior National Championships. Eleven SSCV athletes of various ages qualified for this extremely competitive event and all skied well in the diverse field. On Day 1, SSCV women skied in the open moguls event, with a top 10 overall finish by Reese Chapdelaine who maneuvered her way to sixth place. In their respective age groups, Cali Carr grabbed second place among the U15s, and Mahlia Torres topped the podium for the U13s. Day 2 saw SSCV’s Jiah Cohen take home the gold medal in the U15 age group with teammates Ryan Stockton and Caden McCormick skiing good runs in a deep field. U17 Nash Lucas qualified in sixth place and ended the day just outside the top 10 in 13th overall after drifting in his top air. On the third and final day of the championship event, Lucas bumped his way to the final round of duals, taking sixth and knocking out one of the top seeds in an exciting run with a mid-air collision.
“It was a fun event with some strong performances from our team,” said SSCV freestyle program director John Dowling. “We walked away with some age-class wins and podiums. For a few of our skiers, it was their first nationals and they got some good exposure.”
For a full list of results from the Nordic Western Junior Championships, go to summittiming.net/races/race_results.php.
Kirk Dwyer is the executive director and alpine program director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.