U.S. Freestyle Championships: Squaw Valley USA to host event for first time since 1987 | SierraSun.com

U.S. Freestyle Championships: Squaw Valley USA to host event for first time since 1987

Sylas WrightSierra Sun
Jonah M. Kessel/Sun News ServiceJake Hickman, 14, earns style points in a Far West Freestyle moguls competition at Heavenly earlier this season. The Tahoe Vista skier is coming off a gold-medal performance last weekend in the Junior Olympic J3 moguls competition in Waterville Valley, N.H. Hickman also won the Far West Freestyle J3 Division moguls campionship.
Jonah M. Kessel |

Its not every day Far West Freestyle athletes get a chance to charge down a moguls course alongside the top dogs on the U.S. Ski Team.Then again, its not every day the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships swing through their backyard.For the fist time since 1987, Squaw Valley USA will host the U.S. Freestyle Championships starting Thursday and ending Sunday, March 29.The home team, Squaw Valley Freestyle, will be well represented with 14 skiers ranging in age from 14 the youngest allowed to compete to 31.We qualified 14 kids, which were super stoked on, said Nat Schirman, director of the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team, adding that two other Squaw skiers qualified who were too young. Last year we took six kids, so were excited to have this big of a contingent at home.”The U.S. Freestyle Championships will include three events moguls, dual moguls and halfpipe and will feature the best U.S. Ski Team athletes in addition to the top-qualifying non-U.S. Ski Team members. Everybody is competing against everybody, Schirman said. Its the one comp of the year where our regional athletes are able to compete against the guys that are at the World Championships.A few of the big-name moguls skiers include Jeremy Bloom, Sho Kashima and David Babic on the mens side, and Hannah Kearney, Shelly Robertson and Tahoe Citys Shannon Bahrke in the womens field.Schirman said the top 37 non-U.S. Ski Team members in the country qualified to compete in moguls.The Squaw Valley Freestyle Team will be represented by the No. 1-qualifier in mens moguls, 19-tear-old Kyle Jordan, as well as the No. 3 qualifier, 16-year-old Nathan Park. Invitations were based on cumulative points totals from this past season, Schirman said.After a training day Thursday, competition kicks off Friday with moguls, followed by halfpipe Saturday and dual moguls Sunday. Moguls will be held on Red Dog.Its a perfect venue. Theres nothing else like it, Schirman said. We have the moguls course finish area about 100 feet in front of our locker room. Its right here at the base area coming right underneath Red Dog, so everybody will really be able to see it. I just love the fact that people can walk right from the parking lot 100 feet and youre at the bottom of the course. Its a special thing. And Far East Express, you cant touch it; its a two-minute chair.Thats part of the reason for me to bring this event here, is to show off our training facilities, and to show off Squaw Valley. Its been 22 years, so there are generations of freestylers that dont know about it out here, and it used to be the best team in the country. So were bringing that back.

1. Veronica PaulsenAge: 15Hometown: Tiburon, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls2. Jake HickmanAge:14Hometown: Tahoe VistaTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls3. K.C. OakleyAge: 20Hometown: Piedmont, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls4. Max SzekelyAge: 15Hometown: TruckeeTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Halfpipe5. Miles Honens Age:15Hometown: Orinda, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Halfpipe6. Ben WestmorelandAge: 17Hometown: TruckeeTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Halfpipe7. Kyle Jordan Age: 19 (freshman at U.C. Davis)Hometown: San Rafael, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley FreestyleEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls8. Kendall JordanAge: 17Hometown: San Rafael, Calif.Events: Moguls/Dual Moguls9. Name: Sam RudyAge: 17Hometown: Palo Alto, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvents: Dual Moguls10. Scott FitzmorrisAge: 31Hometown: Tahoe CityTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Moguls11. Kevin GagneAge: 31Hometown: Truckee Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Moguls12. Nathan ParkAge:16Hometown: DavisTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls13. Jeff StanleyAge: 17Home: Granite Bay, Calif.Team: Squaw Valley Freestyle Freeride TeamEvents: Moguls/Dual Moguls14. Bobby WardAge: 16Hometown: Olympic ValleyTeam: Squaw Valley Freestyle TeamEvent: Moguls