VAIL, Colo. March 6, 2021 – It was a great week for big mountain athletes competing at the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association’s regional competitions at Vail Mountain’s Lover’s Leap course. With varying conditions between the two days of skiing and snowboarding, athletes had to be adaptable in their lines and technique. Undaunted, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail rose to the occasion and secured 27 of the top ten spots across the board.
On Wednesday, athletes with years of birth 2010 and under took to the hill to showcase their skills. SSCV boys Levi Flach, Tanner Havenstrite, and ZJ Chenault broke into the top ten U12 skiers with high technical scores. Flach stepped up to the podium in third, followed by Havenstrite in sixth and Chenault in eighth. On the girls’ side, Tyler Minnick fell just outside the podium in fourth and Vanessa Conty landed in ninth for the day. SSCV snowboarder Luis Gene took home a silver medal for his performance among the U12 boys, and teammate Griffin Applegate rounded out the field in seventh place. U12 snowboarder Ziva Levy also took home second for the girls.
The next day proved to be a worthy challenge for the older athletes that participated. With half a foot of powder falling throughout the day, athletes had to navigate the tricky entrance with reduced visibility and shifting snow. In the girls’ 12-14 skier age group, SSCV’s Kailey Thayer scored a place on the podium in second and Sydney Thompson, Lola Behlendorf, and Sloane Thompson snagged fourth, seventh, and ninth, respectively. Among the 12 to 14-year-old boys, Alex Paul and Henry Falk secured silver and bronze medals for their technical finesse on skis. They were followed by Gage Sawyer in sixth, Zeke Willard in eighth, Vincent Mangat in ninth, and Colby Saunders in tenth. Oscar Wood and Kaleb Gibbs, two SSCV snowboarders aged 13 and 12, just missed the podium in their category, claiming fourth and fifth, respectively. SSCV’s Jenna Meyers took home the win in the female skier 15-18 age group with teammates Caroline Ungar grabbing a podium finish in third and Kate Pitkin following close behind in fourth. On the boys’ side, Samuel Heller and Finn Griffith landed silver and bronze medals, and Erik Jaerbyn took fourth in a field of nineteen skiers between the ages of 15 and 18. Teammate Miles Sawyer finished the day in 8th place.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in this competition this year, and the sport in general,” said SSCV’s Head Big Mountain Coach, Matt Luczkow. “In U12, we had almost 30 of our athletes competing and almost 30 competing in the next day’s event. The sport is continuing to grow and more kids are finding it and gaining access to it.”
For a complete list of results go to https://www.rockymountainfreerideseries.com/
Photo: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Henry Falk on his way to capturing a bronze medal at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation competition on Thursday at Lover’s Leap in Vail.