SquawFree sends a stacked lineup to Freeski nationals
Special to the Sun
The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association National Championships were contested earlier in the month, and several of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s top up-and-coming winter athletes put together impressive performances on the way to capturing medals.
The championships are held annually at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and boast more than 1,800 participants making it the largest freesking event in the world. It is widely considered the first step in the Olympic pipeline for snowboarding and freesking.
To reach the national championships, athletes must first qualify by competing in a regional series. This year, the USASA North Tahoe Series had a challenging contest season due to weather, and lack of local terrain parks with comparable amplitude to the big-time venues found around the country. Despite that, the Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeski Team, known by locals as SquawFree, qualified an unprecedented 11 athletes, including Morea Adams, Tucker Beck, Sawyer Coll, Seamus Colborn, Lucy Hukari, Julian Krugh, Max Loveless, Zach Poulin, Tyler Poulin, Abby Winterberger and Mack Winterberger. Head coaches Copper Davidson and Tyler Homen had the team stoked and firing on all cylinders at the championships. Scrambling from venue to venue, each athlete was judged on difficulty, amplitude, variety and execution as they attacked Copper Mountain’s massive jumps, rails and world-renown superpipe.
Sixteen-year-old Morea Adams, of Truckee, put down an amazing run earning a second place silver medal in Women’s Open Class Slopestyle. Truckee’s Sawyer Coll demonstrated his versatility across all disciplines with a gold in the overall category. Truckee locals impressed the judges in the Women’s Grom Division. Lucy Hukari burst onto the scene with second-place finish in slopestyle. Abby Winterberger added to her National Championship medal count with three podiums. She took gold in slopestyle and bronze in rail jam on the way to earning a bronze medal overall.
SquawFree is an independent freestyle and freeride team operating out of Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley Freestyle alumni and faculty includes the who’s who of the ski world, from world cup athletes all the way to Olympians and US Ski Team Members. They are committed to inspiring and developing world class skiers through fun, hard work and providing youth with the tools to exceed their goals on and off the mountain. If you have ever wondered who the kids in the blue jackets at Squaw Valley shredding moguls, hucking cliffs, boosting back flips are? It’s the SquawFree crew. Check them out at SquawFree.org.