Sugar Bowl’s McJunkin takes silver
Team & Academy
Special to the Sun
The Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy Freeride team traveled to Kicking Horse, British Columbia for the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association North American Championships hosted on some of the most difficult and exposed slopes on the continent.
The freeride team qualified four athletes for this year’s event, which ran during the week of April 9-13, 2019, and was comprised of 175 athletes from all over North America in ski and snowboard disciplines.
The Sugar Bowl crew consisted of Lizzie Howard and Tallulah De Saint Phalle competing in the ages 15-18 division, along with Hayden McJunkin and Eliza Gould competing in the 12-14 division. Qualifying for the event alone is no small feat, with only 21 athletes invited to the girls’ 12-14 event, and 25 invited to compete with 15-18 girls.
Qualifier day for the younger girls was on the Marley’s venue, a cliff riddled steep face with multiple technical airs followed by a playful runout. Gould dropped into an intimidating line with a tricky drop mid-run followed by a high speed huck into a bumpy exit. She attacked the venue with her signature tenacity, but the bumps in the outrun bounced her into a spectacular high speed crash ending her run with no injuries. Her efforts didn’t move her forward to finals day, rounding out her first year of competition in 19th place for the day and 15th for the season.
McJunkin opted for a similar line dissecting the venue right down the middle with steep technical turns into a boosty finishing air to reel in a second-place finish for the day.
De Saint Phalle and Howard saddled up to the infamous Compton’s venue accessed via Kicking Horse’s Stairway to Heaven chair. The venue for the 15-18 age categories was a double fall line with big airs and technical features peppered across its entirety. De Saint Phalle chose a line on the skiers left that started with a tricky first move that found her speeding around most of her planned route and improvising the rest of the run with her flowy style to the bottom, earning her a 15th-place finish on the week and 20th place for the season-long standings. Howard found a unique line with a big air at the top, but a small bobble set her off balance. She executed the remainder of her run with style and grace, ending up in 18th for the day and 24th for the season.
McJunkin claims silver
With the crew of the Sugar Bowl freeride team supporting her into finals day, McJunkin started second to last in the 12-14 girls’ age division. She selected a unique line down the Whitewall venue that competitors accessed via a 5-minute bootpack from the top of the Stairway to Heaven chairlift.
Dropping from the start flag, McJunkin aired a large cornice and stacked cliff after cliff into the rolling fields of powder above the finish corral. She showcased her signature aggressive style and picked apart the steep venue earning herself second place at the North American Championships. McJunkin’s finish set her up to place in the second spot as well for the season standings for North America.
The Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy Freeride team said it’s thankful for an enjoyable season full of deep snow, dedicated athletes, inspiring skiing, and supportive parents.