Local alpine skiers shine at regional championships
VAIL — With alpine regional championship season in the books, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes and coaches have much to celebrate, from athletes younger than 10 to ages 17 and 18.
At the Junior Regional Championship in Winter Park, local racer Gretchen Pavelich claimed the overall victory for the 17 and 18 year old age division. She solidified her win with a third-place result in the GS behind a couple of senior racers, notably Sarah Schleper, who won the race.
“We always knew Gretchen was a really good skier, she trains well,” said coach Crawford Pierce. “Periodically, in training, she’s been fast. As we were getting closer and closer to the regional championships, she started really turning it on.
“The first day in the slalom, she didn’t do so well,” Pierce added. “She was kind of mad. But she was increasing her intensity and her focus, and each day just kept getting better and better. By the end, she had earned enough World Cup points to take the overall.”
Not to be outdone, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Kyle Negomir clinched the overall on the men’s side by “being good at everything,” said Pierce, who was on hand for the men’s events, as well.
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“He never really stood out as a slalom star; he’s always been a downhill star,” Pierce said. “But he actually did really well in the slalom and then killed it in the GS.”
Other podium finishers included Bridger Gile, Madeleine Dekko, Jack Keane, Lucia Bailey and Kalle Wagner.
U16S SWEEP TOP 10
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosted the Rocky/Central U16 Alpine Championships at Vail and Beaver Creek with stunning results for the home team. The championships feature the best racers in the under-15 age group from Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Minnesota and other Midwestern states.
Among an incredible set of results, the club’s girls swept the top 10 in the GS, alpine combined (top 12), super-G (top 13) and nearly swept the slalom top 10, save one racer from Aspen who claimed fifth.
“It became a race for the first girl not from Vail,” said U16 coach Rob Worrell. “So it’s fair to say our girls were really strong.”
On the boy’s side, Kellen Kinsella continued his winning ways, snapping out victories in the alpine combined, GS and slalom. Overall, local boys captured eight of 12 total podium spots.
The race was a qualifier for the U16 National Championship, which will take place from Friday to Tuesday in Sugarloaf, Maine. Of the possible 29 athletes who could qualify, 21 were from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
U14s WIN REGIONAL AWARD
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail locked down the team award at the regional championships in Steamboat Springs last weekend. Despite a new point system that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to SSCV’s depth — scoring the top two finishers from each event — the club was able to repeat as regional champion.
Some of the top performers included Emma Resnick and Taylor Hoyt, who finished second and third in the overall scoring. On the boys’ side, Sam Packer also scored a number of podium finishes.
SSCV finished second in the team duals event behind hometown squad Steamboat.
U12S CLEAN UP AT POWDERHORN
The alpine season for racers 10 and 11 years old culminated at Powderhorn with participants from across the Rocky Mountain and Central regions. Mikayla Smyth and Stewart Bruce were among the club’s top performers.
“It was a very fair hill, but we set some challenging courses, as this was a championship race,” said Head U12 coach Brett Borgard. “Snow conditions held up. It was hard snow in the morning and we threw some salt in the afternoon, so it was really firm and challenging conditions.”
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail won the team award with three times the amount of points as the second place team. The club also dominated the Skills Quest competitions, to which Borgard attributes much of the club’s success — focus on the fundamentals.
“The kids have worked very hard, the coaches have worked very hard,” Borgard said. “And I think a very high majority of our kids peaked at the right time.”
U10s TAKE ON TELLURIDE
At the U10 regional championships in Telluride earlier this month, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail procured no less than four athletes in the top 10 at every race — two GS and two slaloms. The team slipped six in the top 10 in two of those four races. Their accomplishments also consisted of podium sweeps of a girls’ slalom and giant slalom. Jackson Leever led the way for the boys with three first-place finishes plus a runner-up result. Meanwhile, Vika Zaytseva swept all four of the girls’ races.
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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.