Local skier takes on big mountain comp
Jehren Boehm proved to himself that he can freeski with the best of the Northwest, sponsored or not.A 17-year-old senior who competed on the Truckee High ski team, Boehm knew from his extensive background dissecting Squaw Valleys technical terrain that freeskiing was his forte. So when he heard about the Silver King Junior Freeskiing Challenge at Crystal Mountain, Wash., he decided to give it a go.In no way was he disappointed with his decision.I was very satisfied, Boehm said of his 10th-place performance among 35 finalists. But the whole results thing wasnt that important to me. It was just fun sitting down and watching kids throw down. It was a great experience.The event was the third and final stop of the IFSA North American Junior Freeskiing Championship Series, held March 6-9.Boehm, who made the trip with his father Don and friend Jason Paladino, was the only non-sponsored skier to crack the top 10. He also was the only top-10 skier without a team or a coach there to help. He competed against teams from Whistler/Blackcomb (British Columbia), Alta/Snowbird (Utah), Tamarack (Idaho) and host Crystal Mountain.While many of the skiers had prequalified at one of the first two stops of the series, Boehm was one of 25 walk-ons who had to earn a spot. He did so with a 15th-place finish in the qualifier, which landed him in the final field of 35. The last two days of competition were combined to determine the series champion, and each skier was granted one scoring run per day.
The first day of the finals took place on a large mountain called the Throne. With no chairlift access, the skiers had to hike about 10 minutes to reach the top. The run was technical, Boehm said, with tightly spaced trees that were difficult to navigate.Boehm, who said he was impressed with the level of competition, placed 16th on Day 1 of the finals. Organizers upped the ante on Day 2, sending competitors hiking for 30 minutes up a huge, steep mountain called Silver King. Boehm compared it to Squaws Granite Chief, but even bigger and with a more sustained steepness. He estimated it had at about 2,500 feet of vertical.Near the top of the mountain, Boehm shot through an extremely narrow chute that extended about 40 feet while dropping off and veering right. At the skinniest point, even Boehms 5-foot-7, 115-pound frame was barely able to squeeze through.It was probably the narrowest chute Ive ever been through, he said. I had to turn sideways, and my skis hit both sides of the rocks. He was the only skier to take on the chute.Farther down the mountain, Boehm aired about 25 feet from a technical takeoff through trees and rocks, then stomped the landing in the deep and relatively fresh snow. As he crossed the finish, he was greeted by cheers from the other competitors.The run was good enough for the third-best score of the day, which, combined with his Day 1 score, earned him 10th place overall.I was surprised how great all the kids were, Boehm said of the competition. There were some really good skiers out there.
Go to http://www.skicrystal.com and click on the video gallery for a three-minute clip from the Silver King Junior Freeskiing Challenge.