Future of sport on display at Junior Freeskiing Tour
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Due to poor visibility and dangerous conditions on Sunday, the Squaw Valley stop of the Junior Freeskiing Tour wrapped up a day early, with the top finishers from the preliminaries on Friday and Saturday named the Squaw JFT champions.
It was a great first two days at the Enchanted Forest venue, as the competitors repeatedly wowed the crowd and judges with huge airs, solid skiing and smooth style under blue skies. Each athlete had two runs, and each mixed it up with creative lines and showed what could be done with below-average snowpack and challenging terrain options.
The 12-14-year-old group kicked off the event on Friday, displaying composure, control and amplitude. The judges had their work cut out for them with the younger gals.-
Jess Sterrett hucked the big drop, and#8220;Ice Goddess,and#8221; on her first run. Not satisfied that that was enough air for the day, she stomped it on her second run as well. Jacqueline Pollard skied super aggressive and solid lines, ending in a tie with the two girls from Snowbird/Alta for first place. Isabella Gold of Squaw Valley was a close second, with Olivia Askew hot on her heels in third place.
Competition in the 12-14 boysand#8217; category was equally as tough. Xander Guldman, a North Tahoe local, took top honors by skiing fast, aggressive lines, airing big drops and stomping them all. Squaw Valley local Chase Whitney, winner of the Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain award at Crystal, hammered some solid runs as well, proving that his admiration amongst his peers is warranted. Seth Klein of Alta, Utah, skied as solid as ever and represented for the Utah contingent who showed up in force.
On Day 2, the 15-18 group went huge. Grant Howard of Snowbird/Alta, Drew Petersen of A-Basin and George Rodney of Aspen all amazed the judges and spectators with their skills. Eleven 15-18-year-old girls showed their skills on the Enchanted Forestand#8217;s technical terrain, with Snowbird/Alta skiers dominating the field. Perry Martin took first while Hannah May and Mackenzie Eppersen-Valum rounded out the top three.
Ian Borgeson of Arapahoe Basin stood out, amongst many others, with a monster 360 he threw over and#8220;Skid Row,and#8221; eliciting cheers from the crowd and announcers alike. Many people wondered if they were actually watching the JFT and not the adult competitors. Bryan Barlow, competition director for the Freeskiing World Tour, rubbed his eyes and asked, and#8220;Who are these guys?and#8221;
The Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award went to Matt Evans from Crested Butte, who will receive a pair of Blizzard skis and a pair of Tecnica boots and is now in the running for a full sponsorship for the 2013 season. The award honors the athlete who displays the best on-hill/off-hill leadership and a sportsmanlike attitude.
The Junior Freeskiing Tour continues to Grand Targhee, Wyo., from March 15-18.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.