Vail Nordic skier Haley Brewster 1 of 6 from US to make U18 Scandinavian Championships
16-year-old Battle Mountain student preparing for the biggest race of her career
Local Nordic skier Haley Brewster became one of six Americans to qualify for the U18 Scandinavian Championships with a series of strong performances at the U.S. Cross Country Skiing National Championships in Houghton, Michigan, this month.
The Scandinavian Championships, otherwise known as the U18 Nordic Junior Championships, take placeJan. 24-26 in Falun, Sweden. The top six athletes based on World Cup scoring of the best two or three races at the U.S. Cross Country Skiing National Championships, otherwise known as senior nationals, earned spots on the team.
“Going into senior nationals last year, we were hoping that I would qualify for the trip, but we kind of knew this year I would have a bigger chance of going,” Brewster said.
The Scandinavian Championships will be the biggest event yet for Brewster, who is 16 and a junior at Battle Mountain High School. She said she’s excited for her first trip to Europe.
“It’s going to be a totally new set of competition,” she said, “different than anything in the U.S.”
New coaches, teammates, as well
It will also be a new set of coaches and teammates for Brewster. She will join athletes from Alaska, Idaho, Vermont and Washington, along with coach Bernie Nelson of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, coach Mary Rose of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and coach Andrew Morehouse of Bridger Ski Foundation.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Eric Pepper, whom Brewster normally trains with, said the club is excited to see Brewster branch out with a new group.
“That’s a great part of it,” Pepper said. “Going off and learning to do it, that’s part of the deal.”
Pepper said another exciting element of the trip is for Brewster to experience one of the world’s premier sports complexes. The Lugnet in Falun hosts 58 different sports and is a regular stop on the International Ski Federation’s Cross Country World Cup tour.
“They just hosted Worlds there a few years ago,” Pepper said. “It’s an awesome venue.”
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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.