Far West – Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows (Moguls Travel)
Mogul athletes ventured to Squaw Valley to compete at a Far West series. Competitors converged from Olympic Valley, Wasatch Freestyle, Park City and Squaw Valley. Top results came from Sammy Smith, who won the first day of two-run singles in the ladies’ field of 30, and Luke Rizzo, who also won in the men’s field of 53. Sammy took the top spot again in the one-run single event on January 7, with Rainey Wilson close behind in fourth. Toby Rafford stepped up into fourth in the men’s competition, and Erik Babcock had a solid run to 12. In duals on Sunday, Sammy was fourth and Rainey Wilson 11. Luke Rizzo took a second win to end the weekend.
U.S. Nationals, Anchorage (Comp, PG, Gold)
SVSEF Comp, PG, Gold and alumni athletes spent the past week in Anchorage, Alaska, competing at U.S. Nationals at Kincaid Park. The series featured a skate distance and sprint and classic distance and sprint. Standout performances came from Gold Team skier Kevin Bolger, who finished second overall after cruising through skate sprint heats in the men’s national championship race, and teammate Rogan Brown, who was fourth in the men’s 15km skate race in a field of top U.S. competitors. Kevin also made it to the finals heat of the men’s classic sprint (the event he won at Nationals last year), and finished fifth in this event. Gold Team athlete Kelsey Phinney skied through to the final women’s heat in the skate sprint, and finished sixth overall. Johnny Hagenbuch and Sydney Palmer-Leger, Comp Team athletes, both had a solid week, breaking the top five in the junior category and securing selection to both the U.S. Junior World Championship team and the U.S. U18 Nordic Nations Championship team (they have opted to compete at U18 Nordic Nations Championships). Sydney was the second U18 finisher (27 overall in a field of 147) in the women’s 10km freestyle on January 3. She secured a win in the women’s junior freestyle sprint on January 5, breezing through qualifiers and three rounds of heats. Johnny, like Sydney, was the second U18 finisher (28 overall) in the men’s 15km freestyle race on January 3. He also made his way through junior sprint heats, finishing fourth overall.
Big Sky University Races and Winter Park FIS Races (FIS)
Ten SVSEF FIS male athletes headed to Winter Park for a series of FIS GS races. Top results came from Spencer Wright in 12 and Bennett Snyder in 20. The following day, Wright finished 14, Max Noddings 18 and Charlie Lamb 19. This was a good, short series to get a feel for where adjustments and steps towards mastery can be made.
FIS ladies traveled to Big Sky for the University Race series, where they competed against a strong field with all of the top collegiate racers in the West (many of whom, Head Coach Brett Morris explained, have raced on Europa and, some, World Cup circuits). Lily Fitzgerald broke the top 30 in 27 in the first giant slalom and 23 in the second. Alum Haley Cutler was seventh in the second giant slalom.
U14 Qualifier at Snow King (IMD)
Coordination was key last weekend, as SVSEF sent 43IMD athletes to Snow King for a U14 qualifier. The series featured a giant slalom and two slalom races. Colin Hanna nearly broke onto the podium in fourth in the men’s giant slalom on Friday. Leo Molter finished 12, Carter Sammis 18 and Jack Charpentier rounded out the top 20 athletes. SVSEF had six athletes in the top 20 in the ladies’ giant slalom; Jessica Blackburn took the win, Tatum Minor was fourth, Logan Lindstrom eighth, Lily Ann Dean ninth, Saba Grossman 16 and Hannah Ferris 19. In the first ladies’ slalom on Saturday, Jessica Blackburn again came out on top. Hannah Ferris was fifth, Lily Ann Dean 13 and Paige Dehart 17. Agnes Kind was just out of the top 20 in 22. Carter Sammis stepped up in the slalom, taking fourth in the men’s race. Cole Curci was ninth and Leo Molter 14. In the second ladies’ slalom, Logan Lindstrom topped the podium. Saba Grossman was fifth, Tatum Minor 11, Maya Lightner 13, Agnes Kind 15 and Lily Ann Dean 16. Three athletes were top-ten in the men’s Sunday slalom; Colin Hanna was sixth, Leo Molter seventh and Carter Sammis 10. Nils Galloway finished 16 overall.
Head Coach James Tautkus was happy with the first of three qualifiers for the IMD athletes. “We had a very strong showing for the first races of the season. It was a bench mark for how far we’ve come and where we need to go. I believe all the athletes found something they can hang their hats on and we’re eager to further our development in the weeks to come.”
PARK & PIPE
Nico Lerner competed at Snow Basin last weekend in three GS and three slalom races. Racing in the 8-9 year old snowboard grommet category and got first in all events. Although he was competing against only one other person in the age category, his times rivaled those of the older 18-22 year old category. Progression Team Head Coach Pat Lee has been happy with Nico’s progression. “Nico is young but operates on a higher level than most other competitors his age. He has speed on his side, he loves bombing baldy and making fast turns.”