USASA crowns kings of the Wasatch in Park City
More than 100 freeskiers and snowboarders from across the West and as far as Minnesota competed in the King of the Wasatch competition from Thursday to Saturday at Park City Mountain Resort.
The competition served as the culminating event for the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s Big Mountain West series — the last chance for athletes to qualify for USASA’s national championships in April.
The four-day King of the Wasatch competition culminated with a slopestyle contest down Pick ‘N Shovel run on Saturday.
“We like to put King of the Wasatch at the end of the season because it’s kind of a big deal,” Max Raymer, assistant series director, told the contestants before giving out awards. “It’s always been the final event, it’s always been our last hurrah. We didn’t have the most amazing weather, but you guys absolutely slayed it today.”
Heavy snowfall slowed the skiers and riders as they made their way down the course, limiting their acrobatic options. But there were no cancellations or delays on Saturday.
On the skiing side, Chris “Hatch” Haslock, Park City Ski and Snowboard’s freeski program director, said he was excited for how the event had concluded for the Park City athletes. The breaker boys group, for example, finished as a block of competitors filling the fourth-through-ninth positions in a field of 17.
“A lot of those guys needed those results to be sure they could get in to the national championships,” Haslock said of the 12- and 13-year-olds. “I think we swept the breaker girls too, that was exciting.”
The breaker girls division had four competitors, and Park City athletes took the top three spots, with Ella Beutler leading the way. She was also selected for a weeklong stay at a Woodward camp in Copper Mountain, Colorado, based on her performance and attitude over the event.
In the Menehune boys category, Luke Mallen of Sandy took first in a group of nine, edging out Zeppelin Pilaro of Ketchum, Idaho. Mallen’s teammate Martyn Kingston took third.
Haslock said Mallen’s win guaranteed him a place at nationals, where he will join his brother, Alex, who took fourth in the same category and had prequalified through an earlier event.
Jacqueline Kanzler took first in the girls Menehune category.
Park City’s Nathan Miceli took first in the open men’s category in a 10-person field.
In the snowboarding slopestyle competition, Michael Bell, PCSS snowboarding program director, said the event was a good finish to a successful season.
“We’ve been having kids travel out to NorAm events in freestyle and bordercross and results overall have been really quite amazing,” Bell said. “We have a few at the World Cup right now over in Spain, but this is our home event and the majority of our team got a chance to compete, and we look forward to it year after year.”
He said there were too many athletes to talk about individually — of the 48 competitors in 13 categories, 39 were from Utah — but the coach, exhausted after four days of competition, rattled off a handful of athletes who distinguished themselves, including youth girls division winner Malia Quigley; junior boys winner Parker Giblin; breaker boys winner Tanner Benz; breaker girls winner Riley Petersen; and boys open bronze winner Jared Mortenson.
“Those were huge standouts but we have podium spots across the board.”
A complete list of results from across the competition is available at USASA.org.
Those who qualified will have the opportunity to travel to Copper Mountain between March 31 and April 11, when USASA will hold its national competitions.
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