VAIL, Colo. March 7, 2021 – It was an eventful week in Steamboat Springs for alpine skiers taking part in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Rocky/Central U16 Championships. After four days of vigorous competition among 90 of the top skiers in the region, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail U16s took home 30 of the top ten spots in the downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-g, and alpine combined races and four athletes landed in the top ten standings overall.
“The boys showed a lot of heart and resiliency this past week in Steamboat”, said SSCV U16 men’s head coach, Ian Dunlop. “The alpine combined event didn’t exactly go as planned as our top four finishers from the super-G portion straddled a gate in the Slalom run and did not finish. However, the boys roared back for the slalom with three top seven results. They capped off the comeback with six in the top 10 in the giant slalom, including Carson Hume’s impressive move from the 24th start position to taking the silver medal.”
The first day of the championships kicked off on March 2 with the men’s and women’s downhill event. Although not included in their training progression at SSCV, some men and women elected to compete. At the end of two runs, Frankie Marston sped down the course to come in tenth for the women.
Wednesday, March 3 was a doubleheader for the U16s with a super-G race taking place in the morning and a combined slalom event in the evening. Speeding down the 1110m super-G course in 50.14 seconds was SSCV second-place finisher, Nicole Begue. Following close behind Begue were teammates Sydney Birtwhistle in fifth and Kyleena Lathram in seventh. On the men’s side, Hunter Salani and Julian Arthur took fifth and seventh as well. These athletes were set up nicely for the combined event that took into account their super-G times alongside the times they received in a single-run slalom race later in the day. Knowing this, the women made the most of their early leads and carved through the slalom course with intensity. Begue held on to the podium, moving from second to third later that day. Birtwhistle and Lathram closed ranks with sharp, efficient turns in sixth and seventh and teammate Ashley Anderson took up eighth. SSCV’s Everett Dooley finished in 18th in the men’s super-G but rallied up to ninth place for the combined event thanks to a stellar slalom run.
The next day gave athletes the opportunity to do slalom in earnest, allowing them two runs to cinch the fastest times overall. SSCV’s Phoebe Heaydon scored silver for the day with the second and third fastest times between two runs. Also landing in the top ten were Lathram in fourth, Marston in sixth, Begue in eighth, and Avery Forstl in tenth. SSCV men had an equally impressive showing with Salani standing just outside the podium in fourth, Arthur taking sixth, and teammate Stewart Bruce climbing up into seventh place.
With points on the line on the final day of competition, alpine skiers raced down the giant slalom course at Steamboat. SSCV men kicked off the morning with a dominating display, taking six out of the top ten times in a field of 47. Carson Hume led the charge with consistency and grabbed his first podium spot of the week in second. Dooley guarded the podium in fourth followed by teammates William Zurbay in fifth, Alex Krupka in seventh, Arthur in eighth, and Bruce in tenth. Among the women, Lathram remained calm and collected to score her first silver medal of the week. Teammate Molly Roberts bounced back from a 14th place finish in her first run to snag fifth in the event overall. Begue, just behind Roberts, slid into seventh while Birtwhistle tied Skylar Sheppard for eighth and Anderson finished in tenth.
When the snow finally settled on Friday afternoon and the final points were added, SSCV’s Nicole Begue took home a bronze medal for her outstanding performance throughout the week. Kyleena Lathram was only a few points behind her in fourth and Sydney Birtwhistle closed out the top ten with a 10th place finish overall. After his successful last-minute bid for points in the giant slalom event, Carson Hume was able to secure a ninth place overall on the men’s side.
“I am proud of these young women for the strength, depth, and character they displayed over the past three days,” said SSCV U16 women’s performance coach, Adam Chadbourne. “The podium performances were impressive, for sure, but so was seeing all nine qualified athletes from the same small training group at Vail land in the top 17 in GS. That was mentoring; including early start numbers helping later with course reports and enthusiastic encouragement. They are competitive every day in training, but they are hugely supportive of one another and rise up as a team.”
This competitive championship series had a smaller number of participants this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. A total of 17 SSCV athletes qualified for this prestigious event – those named above as well as Addison Delaney and Mason Renick, with Tyler Hopkins and Brady Malboeuf joining the team for the downhill event only.
For a full list of results, go to https://livetiming.usskiandsnowboard.org/
Photo: SSCV’s Kyleena Lathram charges down the giant slalom course at the Rocky/Central U16 Championships in Steamboat Springs this past week. Photo taken by Fresh Prints Steamboat.