Lessons have been learned, but not many mistakes have been made for Vail’s local freestyle team. John Dowling, who is the freestyle program director for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s (SSCV) freestyle team, has propelled the team to podium wins in the Rocky Mountain Division and even on the World Cup level. The team headed to Winter Park on Saturday, and collected a few more respective results to add to their season.
The team’s reign of wins has been season long, but since their home event in Vail just three short weeks ago, the team has really gained momentum. Local Vail freestyler Hunter Bailey won the overall event with a technical and fast run. Kaitlyn Harrell won the overall event on the girls side with Tess Johnson winning for the J4 girls. Johnson has had a tremendous season and continues to show that she is one of the best skiers in her age class. Jack Skidmore from SSCV placed second in the J3 boys division followed by Matthew Leseur in third.
The following weekend of January 19th, the team headed to Aspen to compete in a junior mogul competition, which is an 18 and under competition, where SSCV’s Erin Coyne placed second overall and Johnson again won her division. After Aspen, a few of the athletes headed south to compete in Durango where Mallory Skidmore claimed her second win of the year, this time in duals against a strong field. This past Saturday the crew headed to Winter Park to compete in open moguls and had outstanding results.
Harrell had a personal best score winning her J2 division and placing second overall. Coyne took sixth overall with smooth turns and a clean line down the Winter Park Course. SSCV’s Lindsey Eckhoff earned a personal best 21.6 and bumped into eighth place to redeem herself after crashing in the first round. J4 Johnson shredded to second in her age class. Katie Coyne ranked third for J3 women. J3 Mallory Skidmore rebounded from a first round crash and landed her backflip in the second round for a decent finish.
The SSCV guys at the Winter Park event were impressive as usual. Hunter Bailey won the J2 men followed by Winter Park’s Joel Hendrik and SSCV teammate Emerson Smith. Alex Debonville also rebounded from a rough first run to finish eighth overall. J3 Jack Skidmore upped his difficulty by adding cork 720 to his run and placed second to perennial rival Jordan Strand of WP. Matt Leseur rounded out the J3 podium in third.
A few of these standout athletes saw this competition as a precursor to the weeks first NorAm of the year in Telluride, which starts on the sixth of February. From their exceptional performances throughout the year, and at U.S. Selections, Christopher Lesuer, Hunter Bailey, Erin Coyne, and Kaitlyn Harrell will be heading south to the San Juan mountains to compete for SSCV in the high level event this week.