SVSEF, Sun Valley Ready For U.S. Freestyle/Freeskiing Junior National Championships

 Story by Robin Sias of Sun Valley Company
Some high-flying action is about to come to Sun Valley with the USSA Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championships.  From March 7 to March 13, competitors from all over the country will hit epic moguls, slopestyle courses, big air, and the Superpipe in a quest to see who is best.
riding rails
According to the USSA, “The Junior Nationals brings together the top junior competitors from each division.  Junior National results determine who is the best overall junior competitor in each discipline: moguls, dual moguls, aerials, big air, slopestyle, halfpipe, combined and the best competitor in each age class.  A Divisions Cup is rewarded to the top overall division at the event using the FIS World Cup points system.”
This event is a qualifying U-19 (athletes 18 and younger) competition and draws the national top 60 boys and girls in moguls.; the top 48 boys and girls in dual moguls; the top 50 in aerials; the top 80 boys and top 40 girls in halfpipe, slopestyle  and big air.  More than 25 local Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) skiers, from Elementary School age through high school, will compete.
There will be a spectacle for the eyes on both Bald and Dollar Mountains. On Baldy, mogul and aerial competitions will take place below the historic Roundhouse Restaurant on Roundhouse Slope. On Dollar, athletes will take to the Superpipe and the Terrain Park in numerous events.
Andy Ware, the SVSEF Freestyle, Freeskiing and Snowboard program director, said this is the biggest freestyle event Sun Valley has ever seen. “We are expecting more than 300 athletes on Dollar and Baldy who are coming from Maine to California and everywhere in between,” he said. “Right now, Snow Park Technologies (SPT) is making the Superpipe as grand as it can be and they are building a really great, creative slopestyle course at Dollar. For aerials, we brought four-time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Bergoust to Sun Valley to build the invert jump. He is really inspiring to our athletes.”
Nate Sheehan, Dollar’s Terrain park manager, said that the slopestyle course is going to be innovative and will be something the athletes will love. “We moved the shipping container that GoPro sent for the ‘Out of the Box’ campaign to the top of the course and built a snow bridge over the top of it,” Nate explained. “There are new rails and boxes at the top and rails at the bottom of the course. It adds a lot of flair.” The slopestyle events will be great ones for spectators to watch, too, as they are visible from Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge. Grab some delicious food and a beverage and come out to support the athletes.

Word around SVSEF is the Dollar Mountain venues are in the best shape ever and the halfpipe is “sick.”

There will be simultaneous events held daily on Dollar and Baldy. Foot traffic will be permitted on Dollar to catch the action. On Baldy, spectators can buy a “foot traffic” (gondola) lift ticket to access the top of Roundhouse Slope, or if you are on skis or a snowboard, you can catch the action from the bottom of the course. Walking down the course is not advised.
Addie Rafford, a freshman on the SVSEF Freestyle team who competes in moguls and dual moguls said, “I’m most looking forward to competing with my teammates and watching as everyone gives it their all for these two competitions we’ve been working towards all year.”
Hunter Diehl, who, will compete as a SVSEF team member in the dual moguls on Sunday added, “I am most excited to compete against new athletes from other areas that I have not yet seen in competition. I am especially happy that for Junior Nationals, I can compete in my hometown, on our own course!”

Thanks to a ton of hard work by SVSEF staff, Sun Valley Company and volunteers, the mogul course is in great shape. Photos courtesy of Robin Sias.

Everyone is excited to welcome athletes from all over the country. “Many of the kids and families have never been to Sun Valley,” Andy said. “We can’t wait to show it off.” And there will be fun off the hill for the competitors, too. This includes a Dodge ball tournament, a screening of the film “Dog Days of Winter” at the Sun Valley Opera House, and an athlete banquet.
“The energy is very high right now,” Andy said. “We are really excited to host this event.”
A highlight of scheduled events includes:

  • March 10:  Men’s Moguls on Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.; Women’s slopestyle Competition at Dollar Mountain Terrain Park at 10:15 a.m.
  • March 11:  Women’s Mogul competition at Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.; Men’s slopestyle competition on Dollar at 10:15 a.m.
  • March 12: Men’s and Women’s Superpipe Competition on Dollar at 10:15 a.m.; Men’s and Women’s Aerial Competition at Roundhouse Slope at 11 a.m.
  • March 13: Men’s and Women’s Big Air Competition at Dollar Mountain at 11 a.m.; Dual Mogul Competition for Men and Women on Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.

Best of luck to all the athletes. We are really excited that you are in Sun Valley!