Powderhorn Resort, perched up high on the Grand Mesa, hosted the J5/J6 Championships this past Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. Over 200 competitors from the Rocky Mountain Division aged 10 and under competed in two one-run giant slalom (GS) races on Saturday and two one-run slalom races on Sunday. And, when all the results were in for the two-day event, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had accumulated five podium sweeps.
Saturday morning’s GS race saw the SSCV J5 girls take a clean sweep of the podium with Samantha Trudeau in first, Allie Resnick, second, and Caroline Jones in third. Meriel Upton placed sixth and Kaitlyn Harsch finished eighth. For the J6 girls, Riza Pykkonen took first place, Emma Resnick placed second, and Nancy Brown placed sixth.
SSCV’s J5 boys took two places on the podium in their first run with Preston O’Brien skiing to a first and Henry Heaydon in second. Fletcher Holm finished fifth for the J5 boys with Andrew Stevens in sixth and Kellen Kinsella in tenth. Sumner Fransden placed third for the J6 boys with teammate Cole Pattison in tenth.
With the snow getting a little softer, the PM race got underway, and SSCV’s J5 girls took six of the top ten places. Cleo Braun, Caroline Jones and Allie Resnick skied to first, second, and third, respectively, while Samantha Trudeau, Kaitlyn Harsch, and Mariel Upton placed fourth, seventh, and ninth, respectively. The J6 girls saw Riza Pykkonen skiing strongly to take her second win of the day with Emma Resnick taking third.
When the boys got underway for the P.M. GS, it was evident that starting positions were extremely important because of the softening snow. SSCV’s Preston O’Brien was clearly on his game with another first place for the J5s. Fletcher Holm skied aggressively and placed second for the J5 boys with Henry Heaydon in a very close third. SSCV’s Sumner Frandsen and Cole Pattison took fourth and tenth for the J6 boys in the afternoon race.
As the second day got underway, Mother Nature was once again looking out for the 200 competitors with the sun shining brightly for two runs of slalom for the boys and girls.
SSCV’s J5 girls got off to a great start Sunday morning taking seven of the top 10 finishes. Cleo Braun and Caroline Jones took the top two places on the podium, with Meriel Upton in fourth, Samantha Trudeau in fifth, Allie Resnick, seventh, Kaitlyn Harsh, eighth, and Marley Chappel finishing tenth. J6 skier Riza Pykkonen started her day with winning her run by over than three seconds. Emma Resnick took fifth in the A.M. run for the J6 girls.
The AM race for the J5 boys saw an exciting finish with another podium sweep and only 0.73 seconds separating the SSCV boys. Fletcher Holm took first, Preston O’Brien, second and Henry Heaydon finished in third. Teammates Zane Worrell and Kellen Kinsella placed fourth and tenth, respectively.
Things switched around a little in the PM race for the J5 girls as Meriel Upton took second, Kaitlyn Harsch, fifth, Marley Chappel, seventh, Kate Kirwood, eighth, and Falyn Pykkonen finishing ninth. For the J6 girls, Riza Pykkonen took her fourth first place in two days, with fellow teammates Emma Resnick in fifth, and Nancy Brown finishing seventh.
There was one position change for the top three in the P.M. race for the J5 boys: Preston O’Brien took first, Fletcher Holm, second, and Henry Heaydon placed third. It was another tight race with only 0.82 seconds between the three J5 racers. Taking 4th place again was Zane Worrell with Kellen Kinsella in fifth.
For the J6 boys, Sumner Fransden took seventh place with Cole Pattison in ninth.
“This J5/ J6 Championships is the culmination of all the hard work, long cold days, and early mornings of training with many gates,” Rika Moore, Head J5 Coach said. “To finally put it all together is this incredible result from the weekend’s racing. The success these young athletes are experiencing, and the smiles on their faces, is all due to their own efforts.”