Nichols wins in Washington |

Nichols wins in Washington

Billy Swan, Junior Freestyle Tour | Special to the Daily

Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Big Mountain Team finally got a chance to show its stuff last weekend after a lean snow season caused delays on the Junior Freeskiing Tour.

Eleven athletes from the team traveled to Crystal Mountain, Wash., to compete in the four-day event, the first on the national tour after two other venues were forced to reschedule for lack of snow.

SSCV’s Christian Nichols won the 15-18-year-old division. After a qualifying run on the Northway venue, Nichols was sitting in fifth. The field of 60 from the U.S. and Canada was cut to 15 athletes for finals. Nichols put down a high speed, fluid run with great technical skiing to win the event. This was an especially gratifying achievement for Nichols after a difficult fall caused significant injuries during a training run in 2009. He was not able to finish the competition that year.

“The skiing was at such a high level, the judges were left speechless. The lines that the boys had to ski were difficult and had to be flawless to stand out. Both of Christian’s runs were fast, precise, mistake-free and included big air,” said Garrett Scahill, SSCV big mountain coach.

Sixteen year-old Aidan Stege skied two spectacular runs to place 12th for his first competition in the older division.

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Anna Suszynski took seventh for the 15-18 year-old girls while Kevin Nichols finished in 12th place for the 12-14 year-old boys.

Before the Crystal event, some athletes from SSCV Big Mountain Team were able to compete in a Junior Freeskiing Tour regional event at Snowbird, Utah. The regional events were added to the National Series this season to help meet demand for the growing sport.

On Feb. 26, with a field dominated by local, Alta/Snowbird big mountain athletes, Ski Club Vail’s Christian, Jack and Kevin Nichols posted three top-10 finishes on Snowbird’s Silver Fox venue.

Christian took third for the 15-18 year old boys while 15-year old Jack finished tenth with a high scoring line. Thirteen year-old Kevin took fourth for the 12-14 year old boys division.

SSCV’s Big Mountain Team heads to Squaw Valley, Calif., this weekend.

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