Moguls course up and running on Cookshack for Rocky Mountain Freestyle
Rocky Mountain Freestyle moguls competition
1 Tanner Lyle
2 Jesse Andringa
3 Lando Wendler
4 Waytt Antkiewicz
5 George McQuinn
6 Max Duxbury
1 Gabriella Fisher
2 Tori Ware
3 Kai Owens
4 Kenzie Radway
5 Hannah Miles
6 Tegan Large
1 Tanner Lyle
2 Landon Wendler
3 Jesse Andringa
4 George McQuinn
5 Tanner Murphy
6 Edwin Kust
7 Karsten Barndt
8 Ezra Cope
1 Kai Owens
2 Hannah Miles
3 Anna Whittier
4 Kenzie Radway
5 Gabriella Fisher
6 Tori Ware
7 Riley Hodges
8 Elissa Cole
VAIL — It’s not every year you get to host a mogul competition on the eve of the Olympic team naming.
This year, at the annual Rocky Mountain Freestyle competition Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21, the excitement was palpable as mogul skiers from around the region took on Vail’s Cookshack course.
“We have four athletes, potentially (for the Olympics), and everybody’s pretty aware of it,” said Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Freestyle Program Director John Dowling. “So it’s on everyone’s minds, for sure.”
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail skier Jesse Andringa, 20, said he was hopeful for his brother, 22-year-old Casey Andringa.
“I think he’s got a good shot at being named to the team,” Andringa said. “We should know for sure hopefully on Monday.”
Casey and Jesse Andringa both participated in the Rocky Mountain Freestyle comp last year, where Casey won the dual moguls event. This year, Jesse Andringa skied it without his brother, who competed in the World Cup moguls competition in Tremblant, Canada, over the weekend, where he finished 24th.
Meanwhile, in Vail, Jesse Andringa notched a pair of podiums on the Cookshack course, finishing second in the singles competition on Saturday and third in Sunday’s dual event. He said the competition on was solid.
“We’ve got some high level athletes here, all these guys are going to go on to the NorAm (North America Cup, one level below World Cup) tour next week,” Andringa said. “So it’s really just a smoke show.”
On Sunday, the abundant snowfall Vail Mountain received throughout the day softened the course considerably.
“People are sending, which is pretty exciting,” Andringa said. “We see people going twice as fast as they were.”
Andringa’s coach, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Freestyle Program Director John Dowling, said all of his athletes gained confidence on the softer course Sunday. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Kai Owens won the dual moguls competition on Sunday after finishing third in singles on Saturday.
“Natural snow is our element, the bumps are softer so you can really attack, it all feels a lot better,” Dowling said.
On Saturday, a harder mogul surface greeted athletes.
“With the low snow and everything, we struggled to get ready, but we built the course in two days,” Dowling said. “We had a great effort from all our coaches — our development coaches, our ability coaches, everybody — to pull it together.”
Unable to be missed from Chair 2, the event attracted crowds to the Cookshack course throughout the weekend. About 70 athletes participated, hailing from clubs throughout the region and even Australia.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Hans Gardner said the event, which is the biggest competition hosted by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Freestyle program every year, went off well in 2018.
“The snow on Sunday really helped,” he said. “We’re just out here having a great time.”
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.