Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s elite snowboard athletes have been recording impressive results from British Columbia to New Hampshire in recent weeks. Dylan Okurowski, Jack Coyne and Dave Retzlaff have been consistently reaching the finals at slopestyle qualifying events for the Junior World Championships, with Coyne and Okurowski each claiming a third-place podium result.
The qualifying events for the Snowboard Junior World Championships are spread among NorAms and Rev Tour competitions. Both series feature some of the best young riders in North America. At those events, 60 athletes are invited to compete — only 12 make it to the finals.
At the NorAm Junior World qualifier in Sun Peaks, Canada, Jan. 22-24, Okurowski set the tone for the season placing third. The team rolled through to the Rev Tour at Waterville Valley, N.H., Feb. 12-13. Coyne matched his teammate’s previous effort with the third-place result of his own, while Okurowski recorded the highest scores of the contest both days in the qualifying round.
“It’s massive to have two kids on the podium so far this season,” said SSCV Head Snowboard Coach Brady McNeil. “Especially for Jack (Coyne), who also got a podium last year, it just keeps him in the running for Junior Worlds, and it puts him one step closer to the (U.S. Ski & Snowboard) Rookie Team.”
The Junior World qualifiers continues later this month with an event in Park City, Utah, and conclude with a contest at Mammoth Mountain in March. The Snowboarding Junior World Championships will take place in August in Cardona, New Zealand.
On the whole, the synergy and camaraderie on the team has proved to be one of its greatest strengths, says McNeil.
“Having three guys who are at fairly similar levels, the team is really working well together. They elevate each other in different ways,” he said. “For Retzlaff, the oldest of the three, his time is now, so he brings good discipline and work ethic to the group, setting the tone on and off the snow and in the gym.”
With their results so far this season, Coyne and Okurowski both have a strong shot at making Junior World Championships, but both also still have work to do in the two remaining qualifiers. A podium result in one of those events would likely seal the deal, says their coach.