Monforte qualifies for SX World Junior Championships, J2 Nationals |

Monforte qualifies for SX World Junior Championships, J2 Nationals

Photo by Zeev GurNico Monforte recently qualified to compete in the USSA J2 Nationals as well as the SX World Junior Championships (ski cross) in Italy.

Fresh off his Tahoe Basin Ski League state combined championship, North Tahoe junior and Squaw Valley Ski Team member Nico Monforte received some big news. Not only did he qualify for the USSA J2 Nationals, but he earned a coveted spot in the SX World Junior Championships (ski cross), representing the U.S. Ski Team.

Itand#8217;s been a quite a month for the Olympic Valley resident.

and#8220;One of my goals was to make the J2 Nationals this year. I didnand#8217;t ski my best, but finished all qualifiers,and#8221; he said.

Monforte earned his best results in giant slalom, with six top-10 finishes for J2s (birth year 1995 and 1996). The J2 Nationals are being held at Mammoth from March 3-12, bringing together all the top J2 racers from across the country.

Jumping from alpine racing to ski cross isnand#8217;t a tough transition for Monforte, who is comfortable on the steeps of Squaw Valley. Attending two qualifiers, Monforte earned a spot (out of four) to attend the SX World Jr. Championships in Valmalenco, Italy, from March 19-25. The event will showcase young athletes from all over the world with birth years between 1992 and 1996.

Ski cross is a relatively new sport to the United States. Debuting at the Whistler Olympics in 2010, it is a high-intensity discipline that makes for a festive spectator event.

and#8220;Four skiers at a time take to a man-made course with GS turns, banks, rollers, park jumps and other varying terrain,and#8221; Monforte explained. and#8220;The top 32 qualify based on single qualifying time and advance to quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Itand#8217;s a long day of ski racing.and#8221;

Monforte, who was sixth in the NorAms at Copper Mountain and had a second and two thirds to earn the coveted Jr. Worlds spot, seems a bit partial to ski cross.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s the purest form of ski racing,and#8221; he said. and#8220;You know where you stand, itand#8217;s exciting to watch. Thereand#8217;s lots of action down the course, and you get more than one run to prove yourself. I think I like ski cross better than traditional ski racing. I grew up chasing the big kids around the mountain; itand#8217;s exciting.and#8221;

Monforte gets in some training time at Squaw. The resort has two start gates for practicing, but most of his time on snow is spent running speed, GS or freeskiing. Offseason, motocross and mountain biking provide good cross training.

Squaw Valley Coach Mort Nyberg has been supportive, working with Monforte to integrate his time with the race team and ski-cross team. Matt Migel from Mammoth Mountain will be Monforteand#8217;s coach in Italy.

Traveling to two major events is tough on the pocketbook. While Monforte is supported by his sponsors, donations for travel and support are still welcome. Contact USSA Far West at 530-559-4130 or to help support Monforteand#8217;s trip to Italy.

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