Dill golden in Colorado
Sugar Bowl Freeride Team member Katie Dill saved her best trick for last, tossing to the wind the fact that it wasn’t even part of her repertoire.
“I really wanted [the win], so I just decided to go for it,” Dill, 15, said of the 900 she spun off a 50-foot step-down table during the Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympics slopestyle competition this past Thursday in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
That the Truckee High sophomore had never before attempted the two-and-a-half rotations on her skis was irrelevant. She felt confident. And her 67.1-66.3 lead over 17-year-old Michelle Galvin of Rye, N.H., after one of two runs was far from safe.
Sean Carey, head slopestyle and halfpipe coach of the Sugar Bowl Freeride Team, and Dill’s coach of three years, recalled the moment.
“After she had landed a 720 [in her first run], she thought about it and said, ‘I think I can get it, I think I can get it.’ So I said, ‘Go for it.’ … I just told her to spin it a little harder than a 720,” he said.
His pupil heeded his advice, rotating 720 degrees, then another 180 before returning to earth.
“I stomped it cleanly; it felt so good,” said Dill, who was the only one out of 18 female skiers to attempt the trick in the slopestyle competition.
The feat did not go unnoticed by the judges, who awarded her a score of 68.6 ” good enough for gold after Galvin received a 51.6 on her second run. The next-closest competitor, Logan Devin of Rockville Center, N.Y., scored 58.1 points for third place.
“I’m very stoked about it,” Dill said of her win. “It was pretty overwhelming because I’ve never had that kind of a finish before, especially in a competition this big.”
Dill finished fourth in last year’s Junior Olympic slopestyle event. For her winning effort this year, she received a golden belt buckle.
“My friends said I should wear it, but I’m not feeling it,” Dill said. She does, however, intend on winning another one next year.
Carey has confidence that she can pull it off and then some.
“She’s on her way to the top,” he said, noting that Dill could not even throw a 360 when he began working with her three years ago. “Hopefully she’ll be in the highlights one of these days.”
In addition to her first-place finish in slopestyle, Dill placed fifth in halfpipe. And she wasn’t the only Sugar Bowl Freeride Team skier to post impressive results at JOs.
Four women represented the Sugar Bowl team, with Brittani Ballantyne bringing home ninth place in slopestyle and 12th in halfpipe, Jonneke Grisham earning 13th in slopestyle and 18th in halfpipe and Becca Lefanowicz placing 15th in slopestyle and 24th in halfpipe.
On the men’s side of the Sugar Bowl team, Galen Riggs was 34th out of 53 competitors in halfpipe. Tyler Thistle took 49th in the halfpipe and Luke Grisham 50th.
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