Youngsters carve up Alpine Meadows for Far West Skiing league opener
Hundreds of youngsters ripped up Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows last weekend, as Far West Skiing’s youth leagues hit the mountains for the season’s first races.
The competition opened on Saturday morning, Jan. 6, with the U10 league racing two events at Alpine Meadows, as part of the weekend-long Kangaroo Classic.
More than 60 boys took to the course on Kangaroo Main Run to open the season, where the squad from Kirkwood got off to a strong start to the year.
Kirkwood Ski Team member Blaise Turnbull laid down the fastest time of the day at 40.39 seconds in his first run, and then went on to claim first place with a total time of 1:22.40. Teammate Tucker Reimund was next with a total time of 1:23.21, followed by Sugar Bowl’s Harry Pullen with a time of 1:23.43.
The boys would then return to the course a few hours later to compete in another round of competition. Turnbull again set the standard with a time of 39.98 for his first run. He’d then finish his next run more than 1.5 seconds faster than the next closest skier to claim first place with a total time of 1:21.80. Squaw Valley’s Dylan O’Neil was second with a total time of 1:24.88, followed by Pullen (1:25.58), and Reimund (1:26.53).
On the girls’ side, Lara Humi of Northstar, picked up first place with a total time of 1:18.40 to top a field of 56 racers. Teammate Gabi Medeiros was next with a time of 1:20.83, followed by Annika Pekarek with a third-place time of 1:23.00.
Medeiros would then capture first place in the afternoon race with a total time of 1:19.63, followed by Humi with a time of 1:19.81. Mammoth’s Margaux Schlumberger was next with a time of 1:24.05.
Racing continued at Alpine the following day with the U12 series hitting the race course. During the day there would be an Alpine Meadows record of nearly 800 starts, according to race organizers, as skiers dealt with firm, slick conditions to open the year.
The Sugar Bowl Academy boys put together a strong showing with a sweep of the day’s two races.
The club’s Carl Ottosson led the way with a total time of 1:10.55 for a first-place finish in the morning race to edge Squaw Valley’s Florian Standteiner, who finished with a time of 1:10.67. A trio of Sugar Bowl skiers then crossed the line next as Luke Wilkins (1:10.87), Jack Schrady (1:11.24), and Noah Horsch (1:11.56) gave the team four skiers in the top five.
“Our kids definitely showed up and did an awesome job,” said Sugar Bowl Head U10 Coach Michael Thomas. “We’ve got limited conditions so we’re being creative and adapting to everything we have … that was the big thing, just to make a race happen.”
Schrady gave the Sugar Bowl boys’ team another first-place finish in the afternoon race, with a total time of 1:13.54 to edge out teammate Ottosson’s time of 1:13.55.
Diamond Peak skier Kate Geis put together two fast runs to claim first place with a total time of 1:11.76 to win the girls’ morning race. Squaw Valley’s Madison Vieara-McCarthy was next with a time of 1:12.09, followed by Mammoth’s Jenna Lynch with a time of 1:12.18.
The Squaw Valley team then took control of the afternoon race with Lylah Kelly (1:15.40) capturing first place, followed by teammates Natalie Grosse (1:17.41), and Vieara-McCarthy (1:17.45). Alpine’s Tatum Akers was next with a time of 1:17.64, followed by Mammoth’s Piper Wilkison (1:17.74).
“The conditions were so tough with the lack of snow, but the race crew was awesome just to get this on,” said Alpine Meadows Head U10 Coach Jessie Eiting. “First race this season, I’m stoked with how everything turned out.”
The U14 series also got underway with the season’s first race on Sunday, Jan. 7, at Squaw Valley. Karsten Hart picked up first place in the giant slalom race for the Squaw Valley Ski Team, tearing up the course for a total time of 1:01.50. Teammate Toby Gajar was next with a time of 1:02.33, followed by Mammoth’s’ Parker Gumins with a time of 1:02.44. Two more Squaw racers, Jason Roth (1:02.71) and Josef Standteiner (1:02.75) finished next, giving the team four skiers in the top five.
On the girls’ side, Allison Mollin gave Squaw Valley skiers a clean sweep in the day’s racing, topping a field of more than 100 girls for first place with a time of 1:01.77. Sugar Bowl skier Maddie Welling was next with a time of 1:02.87. Carly Hamilton (1:03.42) was third, followed by six teammates as Squaw put seven skiers in the top 10.
Over at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the Minaret Challenge was held in the Far West Skiing’s U19+ division last weekend.
Diamond Peak skier Matthew Smallhouse captured first place in the slalom with a total time of 1:26.60, to edge out Sugar Bowl’s Preston O’Brien, who finished 0.76 seconds back.
Sugar Bowl skier Isaac Mozen would take home first place in the men’s giant slalom with a time of 1:28.44 to top second place, Payton Norton, of Diamond Peak, by 0.38 seconds.
On the women’s side, Squaw Valley’s Magnolia Neu took first in slalom with a time of 1:28.59, and Diamond Peak’s Kaelin Woodruff captured first in giant slalom with a time of 1:31.66.
The Tahoe League kicked off its season on Sunday, Jan. 7, with giant slalom and slalom racing at Northstar California Resort.
Nicholas VanBreda, of Alpine Meadows, would post the day’s fastest combined time for first place in the giant slalom U10 division, finishing in 57.72 seconds to top a field of nearly 100 boys. Teammate Tyler Hunt (58.01) was next, followed by fellow Alpine Meadows skier Dashiel Vastine (58.28), who also had the day’s fastest run with a time of 28.14. Noah Leopold’s combined time of 59.48 gave the Alpine boys the four fastest times of the day, and were the only skiers to break the 1-minute mark.
Alpine Meadows skier Shen Harman also captured first place in the U8 division with a time of 1:00.18.
On the girls’ side, Diamond Peak skier Daisy James defeated 70 other girls to claim first place. She finished the two slalom races with a combined time of 58.61 seconds. Alpine Meadows skier Madeleine David was next with a time of 59.96. Heavenly’s Ava Bradford posted the fastest run of the day with a time of 28.37 seconds, and finished in third place with a total time of 59.99. Ashlyn James captured first place out of the U8 division with a time of 1:00.21.