Squaw Valley Freestyle Team continues tradition of excellence | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley Freestyle Team continues tradition of excellence

Special to the Sun
Courtesy of Chris Saito12-year-old Colton Morris benefits from year-round training from SquawFree to sharpen his halfpipe skills.
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The Squaw Valley Freestyle andamp; Freeride Team continues its tradition of producing champions. While the team andamp;#8212; aka SquawFree andamp;#8212; has a proven legacy in mogul skiing, it has also evolved to encompass newer, complementary disciplines of freestyle skiing, including freeride (slopestyle and halfpipe) and freeskiing (big-mountain), where it offers prestigious coaching and trains juniors at the highest levels.As a freeride team, Squaw Valley Freeride offers superb aerial coaching through Head Freeride Coach Cody Salrin, so that athletes can move on to elite competitions such as the X Games and Olympics, in which halfpipe skiing will premiere as a sanctioned event in Russia 2014. Former coach Brita Sigourney left coaching this year to focus on representing the U.S. and Squaw Valley as a serious medal contender at those games. Current Squaw Valley Freeride teen athletes Ian Krommenhoek and Max Szekely returned from this year’s Junior National Championships with a 13th and 10th place in slopestyle, respectively, out of a stacked field of 69 athletes, with Krommenhoek also finishing 13th in halfpipe. At the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, Szekely won the regional event, which paved his way to finish an impressive third place at the tour’s final stop in Snowbasin, Utah, where he went up against up the country’s top slopestyle competitors.With 120 athletes training at Squaw Valley, SquawFree grooms talent as young as 8, as well as Under-18 athletes competing on professional international circuits. andamp;#8220;Beyond the great results, it is incredibly rewarding to help our up-and-coming athletes progress,” said Head Mogul Coach Mark Kendrick. “Watching them land their first 360s, flips and other tricks is an endless source of joy. Their faces beam when they break through, and the feeling is contagious.andamp;#8221; In 2012, SquawFree athletes claimed eight of the top 10 girls’ spots at the Far West Championships and dominated among the boys with a 1-2-3 sweep. Trevor Semmens, son of former National Champion and SquawFree coach Jarrod Semmens, marked his strong season with a second place in Dual Moguls at this year’s Junior National Championships in Steamboat, Colo.Squaw Valley Freestyle andamp; Freeride Team athletes are also given the opportunity to train and compete with their skills in big-mountain venues. Junior athlete Chanc’ Deschamps-Prescott is coming off consecutive first-place finishes andamp;#8212; after dominating the field at Alyeska’s Chugach Open andamp;#8212; and winning dual events to close the Tahoe Junior Freeski Series. He is one of five team athletes who competed in the Junior Freeskiing Tour Championships in Snowbird this pst weekend. Several athletes have points in both tours andamp;#8212; awarded to top-15 finishers andamp;#8212; including Mia Winans, who claimed third place in a national event this year and led the TJFS heading into the finals. Both she and her sister Annika are consistent strong skiers, with neither one ending an event on either tour outside the top 10 in the past two years.For more information on the program, go to http://www.SquawFree.org.andamp;#8212; This article was submitted to Sports Editor Sylas Wright at swright@sierrasun.com.