Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s (SSCV) Freeski Big Mountain and Park and Pipe athletes have been spanning the globe with successes and personal bests at every level. This year, athletes from the team have competed in the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Freeride Junior Worlds in Spain, Aspen XGames, European XGames, Revolution Tour, Dew Tour, IFSA Big Mountain Series and USSA and USASA Rocky Mountain competitions. The youngest athletes get their start by competing locally at the Steadman Clinic Vail Cup series.
The Freeski team competes in the disciplines of big mountain, halfpipe, slopestyle, rail jams, big air and skicross. There are also online video competitions that many of the athletes have been participating in and winning! These athletes are all improving in their sports and learning life lessons along the way, regardless of age group. “We aim to help kids become great people and not just great skiers,” preaches Freeski Program Director E. Chase.
These children, teenagers and young adults are committed to skiing and training to bring themselves and their sport to the next level. In addition to winter on-snow ski practice, these dedicated athletes train year-round with water ramps, trampoline camps, off-season on-snow camps and dryland conditioning.
Recognition goes out to Aaron Milligan, Finn Anderson and Austin Obourn for their commitment to their sport.
Aaron Milligan is an SSCV full-time park and pipe athlete and senior at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA). Aaron took 1st at last week’s Winter Park Revolution Tour after a top finish at the Aspen Open the week before. Aaron earned these results after a long recovery period from two injuries that took him out of competition last spring.
Austin Obourn, a full-time Big Mountain athlete and 9th grader at VSSA, is ranked #1 in the Rocky Region for 14 and under and in the top 3 nationally with IFSA for the same age group.
Another SSCV full-time athlete and VSSA 10th grader Finn Andersonn took 2nd in Winter Park, 5th in Crested Butte, 5th in Taos and 2nd in Sunlight this season. Finn always tries hard on the slopes and has been committed to attending dryland sessions. He is helpful to his teammates, and now as the veteran Big Mountain athlete at VSSA, has assumed the team leader role.
Character, Courage and Commitment (C3) February Awards
Nick Iskenderian is the February C3 Athlete Award Winner. He is a full-time Nordic athlete in the 10th grade. Nick has been with the SSCV Nordic Program for four years. This past summer Nick’s family relocated to Big Sky, Montana. Nick made commitments of his own to his sport that he wanted to see through so he researched the option of attending SSCV Winter Tutorial. He chose to attend Winter Tutorial and honor the commitment he had made to himself to pursue Nordic skiing. Nick spent the summer in the Valley training with SSCV and headed to Big Sky for school through November. During Thanksgiving week Nick joined his teammates for their annual camp in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Nick has embraced the benefits of being a full-time athlete and attending Winter Tutorial, focusing on training and learning what it means to be a cross country ski racer. Nick has developed into a competent ski tech, a great asset to coaches and athletes. Nick’s effort throughout the season has been tremendous. He has gained a new appreciation for his sport and its lifestyle.
Congratulations also go out to February SSCV Athlete Award nominees Jack Coyne and Colbey Derwin for the honor of being nominated for the February C3 Athlete Award.
Eric Pepper is the SSCV Nordic Head Coach and February C3 SSCV Staff Award Winner. Eric is very dedicated to the athletes on the comp and devo Nordic teams. He is organized, communicative, and focused in his coaching role.
Nordic skiing is a year-round commitment. Eric organizes roller-ski adventures and epic hikes many weekends starting in the summer and extending into the fall which build fitness and foster a team community.
Eric’s support does not stop there. He works closely with athletes not only during dryland and on-snow activities, but he also supports athletes dealing with other things going on in their lives, communicating with parents about his concerns and necessary next steps. Eric is extremely responsive and readily available, always showing exemplary commitment and outstanding character.
SSCV athletes are developing character traits through the vehicle of a competitive snow sport, learning life-long lessons along the way. A free SSCV “Try the Club Day” is a great way to expose your child to everything that SSCV offers and start the journey to a lifetime of enrichment.
Freeski (park and pipe and big mountain)-March 20
Freestyle (moguls)-March 20
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