Tahoe athletes throw down at Freeride Junior World Championships
Six athletes from the Tahoe area made their home mountains proud at the 2016 Freeride Junior World Championships in Grandvalira, Andorra, last week.
Led by Xander Guldman of the Sugar Bowl Freeride Team, who placed third in the men’s ski division, the Tahoe contingent was among 15 U.S. athletes and 57 junior competitors total from 12 countries. They competed on the Pic Alt Del Cubil in the Pyrenéen Mountains, which offered a large playground of natural features and technical terrain.
Guldman, the reigning North American champion, impressed the judges with a huge cliff drop at the top of the mountain followed by a big, laid-out backflip that he stomped to his feet. He finished on the podium behind Canadians Jackson Bathgate and Nigel Ziegler.
Ross Tester of the Squaw Valley Big Mountain Team, who won the male 15-18 division on the opening Tahoe Junior Freeride Series stop, placed ninth in the men’s ski field. He started things off with a clean double-cliff drop before throwing a 360 and some stylish airs, and then launching himself over a cat track on the bottom third of the run.
Bennett Drummond, a telemark skier with the Alpine Big Mountain Team, finished 13th among men’s skiers. He also executed a big technical air at the top of the run and included a double-cliff drop and a 360.
Mia Winans, who competes for Squaw Free, was awarded fourth place in the women’s ski division. She wasted little time as she linked together a fast, smooth run with several clean airs. Synnove Medhus of Norway took the win and was followed by American Olivia Askew and Illona Carlod of France.
Squaw Alpine Big Mountain Snowboard Team members Dylan Zellers and Sam Shinkle competed in the men’s snowboard division. Zellers, who had high hopes as the reigning North American snowboard champion, finished fourth, while Shinkle came in eighth. Josep Maria Naudi Descarrega of Andorra topped the men’s snowboard field, Loic Aubert of Switzerland was second and Finn Duffy of New Zealand third.
Click here for complete results and webcasts from the event.