Next two weeks crucial for local freestyle skiers |

Next two weeks crucial for local freestyle skiers

Sun News Service

Starting the season for the world’s best freestyle athletes is the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand Nationals, which will be held at Winter Park Resort in Colorado this weekend.

This major international event will give several of Lake Tahoe’s finest freestyle skiers the chance to compete against mogul skiers and aerialists from Canada, Australia and all over Europe.

Some local skiers like Jonny Moseley and Shannon Bahrke, both of whom train with the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team and are on the U.S. National Team, have already fared well on the international circuit. Moseley took the Olympic gold in 1998 and Bahrke took a second-place finish in a World Cup moguls event at Madarao, Japan, last year.

This will be a major opportunity for U.S. Ski Team members who are not yet on the A team like Tahoe City residents Laurel Shanley and Tony Basile to prove themselves against international competition, which means improving their USSA point rankings, impressing the U.S. team coaches and a chance to get a chunk of the $62,000 purse.

Selections for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team will be made in the week following the Grand Nationals at an event held in Snowbird, Utah. This week-long competition will give many top skiers, like Jessica Davis, 17, a student at North Tahoe High School, the chance to earn a spot on the U.S. Ski Team.

Travis Ramos, who left the U. S. team at the end of last season, may be at selections trying to regain a spot on the team.

Shanley, who is already on the C team, will be at selections trying to impress coaches and earn some World Cup starts.

Although earning a spot means having to finish ahead of skiers who are already on the team, everyone who qualified to attend the event has a chance.

“Once you get to this caliber it gets pretty interesting because it can come down to who has the best day,” said Lou Basile, father to U.S. Ski Team member, Tony, and an organizer for USSA/Far West.

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