Park City Ski and Snowboard alpine racer Justin Bigatel breaks into top 10 at U16 National Championships
Justin Bigatel was Park City Ski and Snowboard’s top finisher at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard U16 National Championships at Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort in Wenatchee, Washington. From March 31 to April 4, alpine racers from across the country competed in giant slalom, super G and slalom. Bigatel said he hoped to break into the top ten, and did just that with an eighth-place finish in giant slalom. He also took 11th in slalom, and 40th in super G.
Bigatel said at the bottom of his second giant slalom run, he could tell he did well, and the presence of his grandparents as spectators made the moment even better.
“It just felt really good,” Bigatel said. “I knew it was going to be very challenging, but I just went out there hoping to have fun and pulled it off.”
The race also gave awards for first-time competitors like Bigatel, who earned second for giant slalom, second in slalom and earned fourth in an overall aggregate score across the races.
His placing also awarded him the opportunity to race in the Whistler Cup – which Bigatel described as a more relaxed junior World Cup. The international ski federation sanctioned event said it drew more than 400 youth racers from 20 nations, and had a parade to showcase the international teams through the town of Whistler, British Columbia.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” Bigatel said. “I’ve never done an international type of race, so it’s going to be interesting to see where I stand with people from all around the world.”
Though he is the only PCSS athlete going, there will be some familiar faces. His dad will be in attendance, as well as fellow U16 racer, friend, and Parkite Mary Bocock, who attends Rowmark Ski Academy. Bocock took first in super G and ninth in slalom.
He and Bocock are scheduled to compete in Whistler on April 12-15.
“I’m just trying to go out and have fun,” Bigatel said. “I don’t really know how good these kids are, so I’m just going to see how it goes.”
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The event was planned as an eight-day, 1,000-mile bike ride from Helsinki, Finland, to Paris, but Blair did the same thing she’s done with everything else in her life: more.