Freestyle skiing is about pushing the envelope, going bigger and faster than the run before, and progression. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s (SSCV) freestyle team headed down to Telluride this past weekend to compete in the Rocky Mountain Division Regional competition. Just about everyone in the program finished in the top ten at a given point during the weekend.
Riley Campbell spearheaded the trip down to Telluride and coached the program to outstanding results. “It was a great weekend in Telluride. Basically every kid was able together a solid run on one of the days,” said Campbell.
Telluride is home to one of the best mogul courses around (besides Vail’s Cookshack of course). The course is steep, quick, and fast. Those that stayed forward and on their feet came out successful. Saturday and Sunday were spent competing in open moguls for the SSCV team, with dual moguls on Monday. It was a grueling weekend for most but some great results for the local team came out of the event. The competition applied towards points for the Junior Olympic and the field was deep. Hunter Bailey returned to the Telluride course where he was competing in NorAms just two short weeks ago.
On Saturday SSCV’s Miles Hannah placed third on Saturday with the biggest back flip of the event for the girls. “Matthew Leseur and Miles Hannah had the biggest backflips at the event for their gender,” said Campbell. Following Hannah was Lindsey Eckhoff in sixth place and Mallory Skidmore coming in tenth. This was Skidmore’s best finish of the year thus far and she was even competing with the flu. Emerson Smith had a standout performance in Telluride and won Saturday’s event with a huge back full on the top air and a cork 720 on the bottom air. Following Smith was Alex Debonville in fourth and Bailey in fifth. Leseur placed well with his huge backflip and won the J3 category followed by Jack Skidmore in second.
Sunday came with more great results from the SSCV team. Hannah Miles had another top ten finished and placed in sixth at the event. Tess Johnson made an incredible recovery from crashing twice on Saturday and placed eighth overall and first in her age division. Bailey skied well on Sunday winning the event with a back full on the top air and a cork 720 on the bottom air. Following Bailey was Smith in fourth and Debonville in seventh. Presidents Day was reserved for duels and more great results came in. “Monday’s duels went really well. In particular our young dark horse Katie Coyne skied fast and placed third overall,” said Campbell. “It was such a fun weekend for everyone, we even had a team dodge ball tournament and the Vail team ended up winning.”
Meanwhile a few of their teammates headed to Apex in Canada to compete in the NorAms. A few local freestyle athletes are in their second weekend of their NorAm tour and are starting to get noticed. Christopher Leseur, and Kaitlyn Harrell are two local skiers that have been out on the road competing in the NorAm cup looking to ski well and potentially earn World Cup starts for next season. The NorAm team is part of SSCV’s elite freestyle program under the tutelage of John Dowling. Dowling has years of experience and is known by many as one of the best freestyle coaches in the sport.
Harrell had an incredible performance at the event with a fifth place finish in the duels and a tenth place finish in the single moguls. Harrell’s fifth place finish is her best yet at a NorAm. “Harrell qualified in the number one spot for duels with the fastest time and highest turn marks in the field,” said Dowling. She also had the fastest time during her single moguls run and actually maxed out her time score. “It is the first time I have ever seen a woman max out their time points,” said Dowling.
The SSCV freestyle team has been tremendous this season and is quickly becoming one of the best teams in the Rocky Mountain Division.