After the excitement of the Olympics with twelve current and alumni Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) athletes competing in Sochi, comes the start of the championship series season for the next generation of SSCV athletes.  One of these championships just ended-the U18 National Junior Championships held from February 28 – March 6 at Cooper Mountain.  SSCV athlete and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA) junior Florian Szwebel won the overall U18 National Title for the men.  SSCV athlete and VSSA junior Erika McCormick had a 3rd place podium for the women in Giant Slalom.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had a number of alpine U18 men and women ages 16 and 17 qualify to compete in this championship series with other top U18 alpine racers from across the US and a few top international athletes on the start list as well.   The series consisted of Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom along with a final day of Parallel Slalom.

Florian Szwebel joined SSCV as a full-time alpine racer three years ago and is a junior at VSSA.   Florian’s dedication is evident, consistently rising to the top through his positive attitude, hard work and dedication.  This season was no exception.

Florian took a major fall during early season training, was transported to the hospital and diagnosed with bad bone bruising and stretched ligaments.  After taking off the requisite time to heal from this diagnosis, he competed very successfully in seven competitions.  However, continuing to experience pain, he returned to the doctor discovering he had been racing and training on two fractured legs for over a month.

Florian worked extremely hard in the gym with a goal to compete in the U18 Nationals in Copper where he was aiming for podiums.  All of his hard work clearly paid off  after missing a good part of the season for recovery.  Florian was awarded Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s coveted Character, Courage and Commitment Award for the month of January, a huge tribute to the qualities needed to achieve this type of result.

Stay tuned for more updates as SSCV athletes of all ages and in a variety of snowsports compete in their season-end championship series, including SSCV Freestyle athletes Morgan Schild and Hunter Bailey heading off to Juniors Worlds in Europe.