Snow aplenty for Tahoe Junior Freeride Series opener | SierraSun.com

Snow aplenty for Tahoe Junior Freeride Series opener

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

Liam Forsyth sends it off a cliff at Sugar Bowl at a 2013 Tahoe Junior Freeride Series stop. The 2016 series is set to kick off at Sugar Bowl from Jan. 8-10.

Finally, after four years scraping by with meager conditions, Tahoe Junior Freeride Series athletes will kick off the season with ample snow underfoot.

The four-stop series is scheduled to begin with three days of competition Jan. 8-10 at Sugar Bowl Resort, where the early-season base ranges from 130 to 215 inches.

"Everybody is stoked. The skiing is off the hook. It's the best skiing in five years," said Eric DesLauriers, a coach with Squaw Valley Big-Mountain Team and co-founder of the Tahoe Junior Freeride Series (TJFS). "It's so nice to see the snow and not have to wonder what we're going to do for skiing the next day."

Originating in 2007 as a friendly big-mountain competition between Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl ski teams, the TJFS has grown into a regional series with more than 180 skiers and snowboarders between the ages of 11 and 18. Athletes must be members of an official freeride team, which are based out of numerous resorts in the Tahoe area.

Each series stop has a three-day format, with every competitor guaranteed two runs. The athletes earn points at each stop toward national IFSA rankings.

After Sugar Bowl, the series swings through Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows from Feb. 5-7, Kirkwood from Feb. 19-21 and Mount Rose from March 11-13.

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Competition at Sugar Bowl will take place on The Nose and Avalanche, both off of Mount Disney.

"It's the most spectator-friendly of all of them," DesLauriers said of the Sugar Bowl venue. "You can just walk up the hill and there it is. You don't even have to ski."

For more information about the TJFS, including competition results and standings, go to http://www.tahoejuniorfreerideseries.com.

Tahoe Junior Freeride Series schedule 

Stop 1: Sugar Bowl, Jan. 8-10

Stop 2: Squaw | Alpine, Feb. 5-7

Stop 3: Kirkwood, Feb. 19-21

Stop 4: Mount Rose, March 11-13