Park City Ski and Snowboard alpine skiers race at U16 IMD qualifier
The first Intermountain Division Under 16 technical qualifier was held at Snowbird Resort January 11-13. 140 male and female racers from the IMD region (Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming) took to the slopes to test their skills on Giant Slalom (GS) and Slalom (SL) courses.
The Park City Ski and Snowboard (PCSS) team had around 40 athletes competing in the race series. The first day of competition commenced with a two run test of GS skills on the run Big Emma. For the ladies, Sophia Tozzi of Jackson Hole captured the first place spot with a total time of 2:11.07. Two PCSS teammates put together blazing fast runs to earn podium spots. Kennedy Heavrin earned 4th and Mia Hunt finished in 5th. PCSS had 3 other female athletes in the top 15: Maddie Kaiserman 8th, Annika Drivhal 11th, and Ava Kelly 15th. Out of a field of 70 male competitors, Sam Duprat, an All-American skiing for the University of Utah won the race. However, looking at the U16 field it was PCSS racer Jake Rogers who let the skis run to capture first. He shared the podium with teammate Zach Harlow who skied to 4th. Three PCSS male racers earned top 15 spots: Dylan Thompson 6th, Bjorn Karlen 13th and Stefan Brennwald 14th. There was a lot of carnage on the course with 20 DNFs (did not finish) on the first run and 3 on the second run.
With Utah bluebird skies Saturday morning, the series shifted gears to the fast twitch slalom discipline. For a change, the men’s race commenced first. Nathan Gowe of Sun Valley won the 2 run test, earning first with a combined time of 1:28.53. A few other PCSS male racers felt the rhythm of the courses and skied to top 15 finished for U16: Stefan Brennwald 9th, Sebastian Sheppard 10th, and Cole Potter 12th. For the ladies, Mia Hunt of PCSS was the slalom queen for the day with a combined time of 1:41.32, +.41 faster than the next racer. Also skiing into the points were 5 PCSS female athletes: Sydney Tuttle 6th, Maddie Kaiserman 7th, Lindsey Aten 11th, Fiona Sawyer 14th, and Annika Drivdahl 15th.
On Sunday, the final day of racing, athletes arrived to the mountain before the sun. Avoiding the traps and showing his touch, Jake Rogers of PCSS took the top podium spot. It was a solid day for PCSS racer TJ Weaver who earned the 5th place podium spot. There were strong performances by PCSS male racers including Dylan Thomposn 6th, Zach Harlow 7th, Sebastian Sheppard 10th and Stefan Brennwald 13th. Some racers destroyed the courses, and others were destroyed by the courses. There were a total of 27 DNFs/DSQs across the 2 runs. On the women’s side, it was Rowmark’s Mary Bocock who set the pace with a combined time of 1:33.48. Kennedy Heavrin of PCSS demonstrated some impressive SL skiing to capture 6th, one spot off the podium. PCSS female athletes showed their skills with Maddie Kaiserman in 11th, Lindsey Aten in 12th, Sydney Tuttle in 13th and Annika Drivdahl in 14th. Similar to the men, the course had the better of 22 female athletes who did not finish or were disqualified.
While the core U16 athletes raced at Snowbird, a group of PCSS athletes were selected to attend a US Ski and Snowboard National Performance Series at Burke Mountain, Vermont January 6-11. Out of the 30 male athletes, PCSS Alpine had 6 male racers at the project. Head Coach Joe Dunn traveled with Justin Bigatel, Benny Brown, Brendan Friberg, Jack Pollard, Tay Polster and Gunnar Travis to the project. In addition to training, athletes competed in 2 SL and 2 GS races. The highlight was Bigatel winning the second GS race, +.66 faster than the second place finisher. Despite the challenging conditions of bulletproof ice and a northeaster, the PCSS racers had some solid performances including: Brown 10th SL2, Pollard 10th SL1 and 10th GS2, Polster 11th SL2 and 11th GS1, Travis 13th SL2 and 12th GS1.
It was a strong series for U16 Park City Ski and Snowboard Alpine athletes. PCSS racers took home 3 first place medals and a total of 9 podiums. U16 athletes will head to Jackson Hole Resort January 19-21 for the Wes Barron Open Super G races. Building upon that speed experience, the next U16 qualifier will be at Bogus Basin in Idaho February 16-18 with 3 Super G races. For more information, please go to parkcityss.org.
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