Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Hunter Bailey (left) captures gold at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships men’s moguls event this past Saturday in Are, Sweden competing against the top junior mogul athletes in the world, many of whom are already competing on the World Cup. Tess Johnson (right) finished second in the women’s moguls event that same day. Not pictured, Emerson Smith took second in dual moguls this past Sunday at Junior Worlds.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hopes to spark a dream in its snow sports athletes which will provide focus and teach life lessons throughout their childhood that carry into their adult lives. This past Saturday in Are, Sweden long time Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freestyle mogul athlete Hunter Bailey personified the club’s hope, winning the FIS Junior World Ski Championships men’s moguls event. This outstanding performance earns him a nomination to the 2016-2017 US Freestyle Team.
Bailey has been a member of the US Freestyle Development Team for the past few years but his dream was to make the US Freestyle Team. He spent the last two seasons since graduating from SSCV academic partner Vail Mountain School, as a full-time post-graduate athlete at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail pursing that dream. The grit and determination to continue this pursuit on his own while peers moved on to college is a testament to his passion.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Head Moguls Coach Riley Campbell who traveled with the team to Are said, “This season was not easy for Hunter. He trained hard and competed well but he fell short of his potential many times, especially in the all-important NorAm Tour. He was able to stay focused and determined throughout these frustrations and come out with an astounding victory here in Åre, Sweden against the top juniors in the world. Many of these athletes in Are were already seasoned World Cup competitors. Hunter tagged his cork 1080 on the bottom air, and at that moment it was clear he was in the running. This win was Hunter’s last chance to secure a spot on the US Freestyle Team this season. Watching him achieve this dream was one of the most notable moments of my coaching career. This achievement is a true testament to the benefits of hard work and determination. ”
Great showing for SSCV athletes at Junior Worlds
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail qualified four of the eight United States athletes who earned the coveted right to compete at Junior Worlds – Kaitlyn Harrell, Tess Johnson, Bailey and Emerson Smith – along with Matt Leseur who represented Bermuda at the event.
Bailey was surrounded by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail team mates who also logged outstanding performances at Junior Worlds. Johnson took second for the girls in moguls on Saturday. On Sunday in duals, Smith took second for the boys (after logging a top ten finish on Saturday in moguls) with Harrell placing fifth (after taking thirteenth in moguls on Saturday) and Johnson taking ninth for the girls. Leseur took nineteenth in moguls and twentieth in dual moguls for the boys.
Campbell said, “The course here in Åre was fairly steep and conditions were spring-like. The conditions made for some high intensity skiing and an exciting show. Team Vail took several of the top spots and comprised half of the United States team. Also in our crew was the sole athlete representing Bermuda, Matt Leseur.”
Excitement lies ahead
In addition to Bailey, two other Ski & Snowboard Club Vail mogul athletes have qualified for nomination to the 2016-2017 US Freestyle Team-Smith and Harrell as first timers to the team, along with Johnson who has qualified for re-nomination to the US Freestyle Team for 2016-2017.