Tahoe athletes claim medals at Freeride Junior World Championship (VIDEO)
Some of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s top up-and-coming winter athletes put on a show in Europe on Thursday, competing in the annual Freeride Junior World Championship.
The showcase of some of the world’s best young skiers and riders was held under sunny skies and followed storms that delivered powder to the mountain.
At junior world championships, athletes are only allowed to visually inspect the course, making it invaluable to spend time examining the venue through binoculars or from the lift.
“It’s kind of like studying,” said local skier Britta Winans ahead of making the trip to Austria. “I’ve been watching videos from previous years, and when you actually get there, it’s a lot of sitting. You get to look at the venue from different angles. You’re not actually allowed to go on it, but there’s a side view from the top of the lift, and then you just keep looking at it. But nothing is the same as actually skiing on it … it’s pretty sketchy.”
For Winans, the trip to Austria marked the second time she’s competed in the Freeride Junior World Championship. She finished runner-up in the women’s ski class last year.
“It’s a whole new ballpark. The mountains are so steep and it’s a whole different type of skiing because the runs are so long,” Winans, a senior at Truckee High School, said on skiing in Austria. “It’s so fun experiencing this new place. The alps are a whole different league, so it’s really cool to ski stuff like that, but also to just meet a ton of people from all around the world.”
On competition day, Winans was the first athlete out of the women’s class to come down the venue. She attacked the course with her usual speed and fluidity, and went bigger off a feature than most any other girl to finish with a score of 75.00.
Winans would sit in first place until the second to last skier, Canada’s Claire McPherson, overtook her with a score of 80.00, making it two straight years she’s finished as the runner-up at the junior championships.
Representing Squaw Alpine Snowboard Team, Adrien Babet claimed a bronze medal in men’s snowboard with a score of 71.00. Showing off a casual style along the steep sections of the venue, Babet impressed judges with a feature-rich run, creative lines, and landing deep in the powder off a cliff toward the bottom of the course.
Teammate, Tavo Sadeg finished in fifth place with a score of 63.67. Sadeg had a solid run, but an unclean landing on a 360 at the bottom of the venue likely hurt his score.
In skiing, Squaw’s Evan Loring, opened his run with a 360, and then went bigger than perhaps any other athlete on the day, attempting a hand drag cork 360 across a massive gap. Loring, unfortunately, wasn’t able to pull off the landing, crashing hard, which resulted in a no score.