Squaw Free claims top spots in national freestyle competition
While the Truckee-Tahoe area digs out from last week’s storms, one Northern California group of freestyle skiers has been cementing its name among some of the fiercest and most-talented young competitors in the country.
This winning youth team — known as the Olympic Valley Freestyle Freeride Team or SquawFree for short — traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho to close out January, competing in the Freestyle Spectacular against 90 of some of the best young mogul skiing athletes.
A number of SquawFree team members came away victorious in their respective age groups. Among the first-place finishers were Alicia Buckmaster, of Tahoe City; August Davis, of Napa Valley; Chloe Nicolaou, of Palo Alto; Beau Rohlen, of Truckee; and Ryan Tam, of Burlingame.
“Sun Valley was a very good team-bonding experience,” said Nicolaou, age 17. “It was a great opportunity for all of us to get to know one another better, whether it was cheering each other on during the competition or spending time in the team house.”
Second place medals went to Kaya Russell, of Grass Valley; Kylie Kariotis, of Tiburon; and Hunter Panelli, of Reno.
“I think Sun Valley was awesome,” said Panelli, age 10. “It was a great experience to compete against other competitors from Sun Valley, Montana and Park City!”
Julian Cayolle, of Tahoe City, earned a third-place spot on the podium as well.
“It was great for our athletes to travel and compete against some high-level competition, but it was also a very fun and amazingly rewarding experience for us all,” said Shelly Robertson, SquawFree head mogul coach. “Our athletes have been training very hard over the past couple of months and to walk away with top finishes against a field of nearly 100 athletes, we’re just so very proud of our team!”