Tough competition in Copper for Ski Club girls | VailDaily.com

Tough competition in Copper for Ski Club girls

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Taylor Hoyt started off this year’s North America Cup strong by finishing in 16th place in the first slalom of the season last week.

Hoyt, 16, was the top finishing athlete of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s younger-than-19 women’s squad. Carissa Cassidy, 17, nabbed a 22nd place finish in another notable result for the club during the two-day series.

Coach Mark Smith said about a dozen U-19 women from the club headed up to Copper Mountain to compete in the first Nor-Am slalom events of the season.

“Some of the girls struggled getting used to the whole thing,” Smith said. “Overall, I was pleased. … Most of the national team girls plus all the foreign college athletes, so it was a pretty good field. … This is the top level they’ll compete at all year long.”

The college-level athletes who attended to make things extra competitive included former Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Caroline Jones, of Edwards, who now attends the University of Vermont. Jones finished 18th in one of the two slalom Nor-Ams to take place at Copper last week.

“I’m proud of those girls; they work hard and continue to race at a high level,” Smith said.

The U-19 squad now enters a training block for a couple weeks before heading to Aspen for the National Junior Race series Dec. 9-11. The North America Cup will pick back up in January, in Vermont.

“Out of those races, some of the girls will likely be selected to go to Europe with the U.S Development Team, to race in Europe for two to three weeks in January,” Smith said.