Local freestyle skiers throw down at Squaw to open season (VIDEO)
The Far West Freestyle season got underway with a trio of moguls competitions last weekend at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
After two moguls events on Friday and Saturday morning at Squaw Valley’s Shirley zone, the competition was capped off with dual moguls, bringing the area’s freestyle skiers together for a head-to-head event on a course featuring sets of moguls and a pair of jumps.
On the girls’ side, Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, also known as SquawFree, skier Alicia Buckmaster outdueled 25 other athletes to claim the first place in dual moguls.
“I just visualize my run, go through what I’m going to do, and then just hope that I do it the same that I visualized,” said Buckmaster.
The 13-year-old skier said she enjoys competing in dual moguls because of the one-on-one format against another athlete.
“I’m pretty competitive so I like to challenge myself next to someone,” said Buckmaster, who has competed for the freeride team for four years.
“It’s super fun to be out here, and it’s awesome skiing on this team,” she added.
In the finals of dual moguls, Buckmaster threw down a 360 to twister spread to knock off teammate Kaya Russell, who is also on the SquawFree team and took second place in Friday’s moguls event.
Buckmaster was fourth in moguls on Friday, and then took first place in moguls on Saturday morning.
“I mainly did 360s and backflips,” she said on the two days of competition. “But today I was taking a break from those.”
August Davis, 16, of Napa Valley, took first place in Friday’s moguls event, and SquawFree’s Katie Fuller was third. Fuller was also third in dual moguls. Alisha Gupta and Michelle Tam were second and third, respectively, in Saturday morning’s moguls event.
On the boys’ side, Tristan Cayolle, 17, of SquawFree, bounced back from a crash on Saturday morning to claim victory in dual moguls later that afternoon.
“It kind of pushed me,” said Cayolle on falling earlier in the day. “And made me want to ski harder.”
In the finals of dual moguls, Cayolle landed a back flip iron cross on the first jump before throwing a cork 720 to top teammate Benjamin Nickel. Nickel was also third in that morning’s moguls event.
“It’s stressful,” Cayolle said about competing in dual moguls. “But it’s fun to push myself.”
Cayolle was also third in moguls on Friday. Other top competitors from Friday’s competition included winner Bruce Perry Jr., 24, of Winter Park, Colorado, and second-place finisher, SquawFree’s Ryan Tam.
SquawFree’s Owen Cespon was first in Saturday’s moguls competition, followed by teammate Julian Cayolle in second place. Julian Cayolle took third later that afternoon in dual moguls.
Many of the area’s top freestyle skiers are in Steamboat, Colorado, competing for spots on the U.S. Ski Team. The U.S. Freestyle Selections event will qualify skiers to earn starts in U.S. World Cups and North American Cup competitions. The first moguls competition begins Jan. 9.
The next Far West Freestyle event will be held Jan. 25-26 at Northstar California Resort.