Bumps, Jumps, Air, Park & Pipe: 2016 Junior National Freestyle/Freeskiing Championships

Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championships featured SVSEF athletes on their home terrain.

Despite warm temperatures and the occasional spattering of rain, Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championship events were beautifully orchestrated and well-attended in Sun Valley this past week. Athletes from across the country brought their A-game to the slopes of Baldy and Dollar mountains, where they competed March 10-13.
It was a big undertaking, and Freestyle and Freeskiing Program Director Andy Ware acknowledged the effort that went in to making the event a success.
Said Ware, “I love this community.  We took on one of the largest and most difficult USSA freestyle and freeskiing events to produce and not only made it happen, we made it an incredible experience for everyone who participated.  Those were the worst weather conditions we could have had and [we] still pulled off events. Many of the teams and families from around the country have never been to the Wood River Valley and they were amazed not just with the beauty of it but with the welcoming feeling of everyone here.”
Thursday was the first day of competition; the men took to the moguls, while the women started off with slopestyle. On Friday, roles were reversed; the men competed in slopestyle, while the women attacked the mogul course. Alex LaFleur skied strongly to 14th place overall in the men’s mogul, the best finish by a SVSEF skier in eight years in the event. SVSEF’s Hunter Diehl was third in his age class. In the women’s slopestyle, Hanna Blackwell was third in her age class. On Friday Alvaro Jiraldo skied well in the men’s slopestyle event and took home 24th overall and eighth in his age class. Sammy Smith, who competed in the women’s moguls, was 29th overall as an F11; she was one of the youngest competitors out there.
Competition continued on Saturday with the halfpipe at Dollar Mountain and aerials at Baldy on Roundhouse slope. Jed Waters finished in 16th in the men’s halfpipe, while the women had a strong showing with fourth, seventh and eighth place finishes by Hanna Blackwell, Liesl Beyer and Amanda Brown.
The week of events ended Sunday with the big air competition at Dollar and the dual mogul competition for both men and women on Roundhouse slope. Jedson Waters finished in the top 20 in the big air event, taking 14th overall. Hanna Blackwell finished the weekend on a high note with a fifth place finish on the women’s side.
Commented Ware on the events overall, “It was an amazing display of athleticism from athletes around the country on both Baldy and Dollar.  Watching kids perform such incredibly difficult aerial maneuvers and skiing so fast with so much competitive pressure on them is just incredible.”
The professionalism and care put into making the competition a great one would not have been possible without help from the local community. Ware noted, “I am so grateful to our local sponsors; Atkinson’s Markets and Sun Valley Sotheby’s Realty, Dembergh Brown Builders and Sturtevants Mtn. Outfitters. The many parent volunteers who donated their time, the SVSEF and the Sun Valley Company for putting so many people and resources towards this event.”
Overall top 3/SVSEF members 
Men’s Moguls, March 10

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jack Kariotis, M19, Intermountain
  3. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
14- Alex LaFleur, M17
38- Wilson Dunn, M17
39- Hunter Diehl, M15
49- Henry Cherp, M15
65- Luke Rizzo, M15
Women’s Slopestyle, March 10

  1. Rell Harwood, F15, Intermountain
  2. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  3. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern

SVSEF athletes:

  1. Hanna Blackwell, F17

Men’s Slopestyle, March 11

  1. Quinn Wolferman, M19, Northern
  2. Joseph Lauer, M19, Intermountain
  3. Nathan Miceli, M19, Intermountain

SVSEF athletes:
24- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
26- Jed Waters, M15
82- Will Griffith, M17
Women’s Moguls, March 11

  1. Olivia Giaccio, F17, Rocky
  2. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern
  3. Maggie Ryan, F19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
29- Sammy Smith, F11
43- Katie Markthaler, F15
55- Devon Brown, F17
56- Eliza Marks, F15
58- Addie Rafford, F15
Men’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Cody LaPlante, M15, Far West
  2. Felix Coudouy, M17, Rocky
  3. Keenan McIntyre, M19, Rocky

16- Jed Waters, M15
21- Joey Markthaler, M13
22- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
27- Will Griffith, M17
29- George Murray, M13
30- Sam Ware, M13
36- Trey Potter, M19
37- Charlie Price, M13
38- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
53- Dylan Mills, M13
59- Lachlan McFarland, M13
61- Luke Higgins, M13
Women’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  2. Zoe Atkin, F13, Intermountain
  3. Svea Irving, F15, Rocky

4- Hanna Blackwell, F17, Intermountain
7- Liesl Beyer, F11, Intermountain
8- Amanda Brown, F13, Intermountain
Men’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Patrick O’Flynn, M19, Eastern
  2. Michael Lillis, M17, Eastern
  3. Justin Schoenefeld, M19, Central

Women’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Winter Vinecki, F19, Intermountain
  2. Megan Smallhouse, F15, Eastern
  3. Tyra Izor, F19, Eastern

Men’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Kiernan Fagan, M15, Rocky
  2. Scott McLaughlin, M19, Northern
  3. Mac Forehand, M15, Eastern

14- Jedson Waters, M15
44- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
25- Will Griffith, M17
35- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
43- Joey Markthaler, M13
76- Trey Potter, M19
Women’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern
  2. Isabella Gold, F19, Far West
  3. Nikita Rubocki, F17, Intermountain

5- Hanna Blackwell, F17
Men’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky
  3. George McQuinn, M19, Rocky

Women’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Hallee Ray, F19, Rocky
  2. Sophia Marseilles, F19, Far West
  3. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern

AERIALS – USSA JR Champs 2016_AE
BIG AIR – USSA JR Champs 2016_BA
DUAL MOGULS – dualsofficialresults
4 freestyle girls

SVSEF competitors Katie Markthaler, Eliza Marks, Addie Rafford and Devon Brown are all smiles. Courtesy photo.