Olympians coming to Squaw for U.S. Freestyle Championships | SierraSun.com

Olympians coming to Squaw for U.S. Freestyle Championships

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Sun File photo/Jen SchmidtWade Parkinson and South Lake Tahoe's Sho Kashima try to right themselves after colliding midair during the dual moguls final at the 2009 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Squaw Valley. The event returns to Squaw from March 26-28.

Squaw Valley USA is soon to be crawling with Olympians both past and present and#8212; from Jonny Moseley to Hannah Kearney, Bryon Wilson, Jeret and#8220;Speedyand#8221; Peterson, the Bahrkes and more.

For the second straight year, Moseley and Squaw Valley will host the nation’s top freestyle skiers when the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships return to Tahoe from Friday through Sunday, March 26-28.

and#8220;It’ll basically be the same show you’d get going to the Olympics,and#8221; Nat Schirman, head coach of the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team, said of the event. and#8220;We’ll have every (U.S.) Olympic athlete out here competing. It’s going to be the highest-flying show in town.and#8221;

Especially with Squaw set to host the aerials competition, which was held at a separate venue during last year’s U.S. Freestyle Championships.

and#8220;I’m so excited,and#8221; said aerialist Scotty Bahrke of Tahoe City, who competed in his first Olympic Games last month. and#8220;Last year when they got called off I was pretty bummed out. I was ready to compete in front of the home crowd. But they’re building a site here this year, and it should be awesome.and#8221;

Scotty will join older sister Shannon Bahrke, a moguls skier who recently won an Olympic bronze medal at the Vancouver Games, and will look to defend her dual moguls title she captured at last year’s U.S. Freestyle Championships. She placed third in the single moguls last year.

Recommended Stories For You

and#8220;That’s where I grew up,and#8221; said Shannon, who plans to retire after the season. and#8220;That’s where I learned how to ski my first moguls course, so you know to finish it there, to start a career and finish it there is something that you know I think every athlete dreams of doing, and I get to do it, so that’s pretty cool.

and#8220;It’s going to be so much fun. My whole family, my friends, you know my coaches that have been through everything with me are going to be there, so that’s really going to be an awesome experience.and#8221;

Schirman pointed out that U.S. moguls skiers won three of the six Olympic medals last month, with Kearney and Bahrke earning gold and bronze, respectively, in the women’s competition, and Wilson taking bronze in the men’s field. In addition, Peterson won a silver medal in aerials. World Champion Ryan St. Onge, World Cup winner Emily Cook and Olympian Lacy Schnoor also will compete in the aerials competition at Squaw.

and#8220;These athletes were just at the Olympics doing their thing, and now they’re going to be doing it for us, our community and#8212; a private showing,and#8221; Schirman said, adding that the moguls course at the bottom of Red Dog is about as spectator-friendly as it gets. and#8220;It’s going to be just amazing. Everybody is really fired up on skiing from the Olympic energy.and#8221;

The Olympians will be challenged by the top-qualifying athletes who are not already on the U.S. Ski Team, such as 14-year-old Squaw Valley Freestyle Team standout Ali Kariotis, who just won a gold medal in moguls at the Junior Olympics. Schirman said Kariotis also qualified last year based on her cumulative points total from the season, but she was too young to compete.

and#8220;Now here she is competing against Shannon Bahrke, who has an Olympic bronze and is throwing a retirement party,and#8221; Schirman said. and#8220;So that’s just something special. It’s special for Shannon because she sees the changing of the guard, and it’s special for Ali because that’s what she wants to be. So that’s something that’s really, really cool about Nationals.and#8221;

Other Squaw Valley Freestyle Team athletes who will compete include Neal Cadra, Brita Sigourney, Sean Collin, Michael Bocheneck, Veronica Paulsen, Trevor Semmens, Anu Khosla and Lani Tice. See the Results Page on 22 for the athletes’ events and ages.

and#8212; The U.S. Ski Team contributed to this report.

Friday, March 26 and#8212; Moguls

Saturday, March 27 and#8212; Halfpipe, Aerials

Sunday, March 28 and#8212; Dual moguls

For more information, visit http://www.usskiteam.com