Spriggs, Levy dominate in Steamboat
Someday in the near future, locals in the Vail Valley will see John Spriggs and Ali Levy on TV and say, “I knew them back when.”
That’s because Levy and Spriggs both continue to devour whatever contests are thrown their way, as they move up the freestyle food chain on to bigger and better competition.
The latest offering for the two rising Ski and Snowboard Club Vail stars was last week’s Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisionals in Steamboat.
Spriggs – still not legal to drive at only 15 – hucked his way to a first-place finish in Thursday’s halfpipe competition and a second-place podium spot in the big air showdown. Levy, winner of the Nor Am moguls overall in her first year on the U.S. Freestyle C Team, bashed the bumps for two gold medals – one in Friday’s championship-moguls event, the other in Sunday’s dual moguls competition.
“I just tried to link all my tricks together,” Spriggs said nonchalantly on the phone Wednesday night when asked about his strong Steamboat showing. “They have the longest pipe in the world, or they claim something like that. I just tried to link as many tricks as possible, and to do a big trick right off my first hit.”
Levy couldn’t be reached for comment, being that she is currently in Sestrieres, Italy, gearing up for the World Cup Moguls finals Sunday after qualifying for the event by winning the Nor Am moguls crown.
Brian Baker, Levy’s freestyle coach at SSCV was within cell-phone distance, though, and boasted about the exploits of his 19-year-old star.
“Ali was just kind of getting tuned up for the finals in Italy,” Baker said about Levy’s wins in Steamboat last weekend. “Only the top-12 moguls skiers on the World Cup circuit and then the Nor Am champ and the Europa Cup champ qualify for the finals. There have been some injuries in the field, but she will be competing against the best in the world.”
Next up for Spriggs is this weekend’s Mavericks Superpipe competition in Steamboat, a local pro-am competition that vaunts a $2,500 first-place prize and a tougher field than he has been facing on the RMD freestyle circuit.
“Last year there were a couple big names there,” Spriggs said. “There will definitely be better competition. They have a 15-years-and-under category, but I think I am going to enter in the open category just to go against the best guys.”
Spriggs also added that with his continued success in the regional Rocky Mountain Division this year, it has given him the incentive to seek out more national events next year to find better competition.
“I’m definitely going to start doing less RMD and do more of the big comps next year,” Spriggs said. “I’ll maybe do a local RMD event, like the one in Vail just to try and get some points, which you have to have to get on the World Cup. I wouldn’t say I’ve distanced myself from the field in the RMD. I’m just ready to try to compete on a bigger level.”
Other notable Vail finishers from the Steamboat RMD stop were Matt Luczkow, Reed Milne, Casey Baskins, Taylor Seaton, Brett Branca and Brian Johnson.
Luczkow finished fifth in the halfpipe and eighth in big air while Milne, Baskins and Seaton finished sixth, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the pipe. Johnson notched a 10th-place finish in the big air event and Branca finished seventh in junior moguls.
Junior II Nationals
On a mountain far, far, away, two Vail locals proved that they are the second and third best Junior II super-G skiers in the country.
Laura Littman and Ericka Ghent grabbed a 2,3 finish in the JII super-G nationals Tuesday at Whiteface Mountain in upstate New York.
The win was that much sweeter for the Coloradans since they nabbed podium spots under what were unfamiliar East Coast conditions. Foggy overhead clouds first brought rain down on competitors in the early goings of Tuesday’s race, with snow soon following after.
Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.