Junior Freeskiing Tour Crowns Champs at Crystal

The Junior Freeskiing Tour's girls 12-14 year-old podium at Crystal Mt. Sunday. Photo: Mark Epstein.

The Junior Freeskiing Tour's girls 12-14 year-old podium at Crystal Mt. Sunday. Photo: Mark Epstein.

Tilen Lane is awarded the Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award

From the Freeskiing World Tour — Crystal Mountain, Wash. (March 6) — Fifty-four junior competitors faced The King with ideal conditions including more than 50 inches of new snow as the Junior Freeskiing Tour U.S. Junior Freeskiing Nationals concluded Sunday at Crystal Mountain Resort. The Silver King provided a great backdrop for today's action as competitors were challenged by steep, technical conditions on one of the most difficult venues they will compete on all season.

The 12-14 year-old girls kicked the day off with four competitors making the cut from day one's Elk Chutes venue. Day 1 leader and winner of the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Junior Championships, Jess Sterrett, of the AltaBird Freeride Team, took the victory skiing a fast, aggressive, fluid line with an overall score of 64.13. Squaw Valley's Natalie Bogardus won the run and placed second overall, scoring a 61.47. Erin Kempt out of Bridger Bowl, Mont., was right on her heels in third place with a 56.73 for her final two-run total.

The 12-14 year old boys were next as a field of 21 moved on from Day 1. These young guys proved that their skiing skills were not to be out-matched as they skied some of the best runs of the day. AltaBird’s Grant Howard skied a very aggressive line throwing a huge 360 above Ryan’s Face and followed it up with a strong fluid line to the bottom, walking away with the first place trophy and an impressive overall score of 70.20. Following Grant was Sugar Bowl Freeride’s Xander Guldman, who skied a smooth technical line stomping an early air, landing him in second place with a score of 67.07. Squaw's Wildon Deslauriers, Day 1’s leader, closed out the podium, taking a challenging line that paid off for him, landing him with a two-run total of 65.27.

For the 15-17 year old girls, Squaw Valley's Sarah Williams walked away with another victory following her win in Crested Butte, skiing a strong, aggressive line down the fall line. Her polished skiing gave her a two-run total of 63.10. Day 1 leader Perry Martin of AltaBird finished in second place with a total score of 62.63, less than one point out of first. Alta's Tasha Heilweil rounded out the podium with a score of 60.00.

"The women skied with a lot of poise and aggressiveness and certainly showcased their talent at an adult level of competition," said Rob Greener, competition director and IFSA president.

The highlight of the day was the 15-17 year old boys as Team Summit's George Rodney flashed a strong, aggressive line straight-lining Pencil Chute. His Day 2 score of 35.67, combined with his amazing run down Elk Chute where he stomped the biggest air of the weekend, followed by another massive air off the bottom cliffs to score a whopping 42.23, seven points better than the rest of the field, giving him a total score of 77.90. Drew Petersen, also of Team Summit, skied a very aggressive exposed line above Ryan’s Face and cleanly managed his way to the bottom with fast aggressive turns keeping him in second place with an overall total of 75.10. AltaBird Freeride's Andrew Pollard rounded out the podium with a third place total of 71.77, skiing a smooth technical line.

The Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award, which rewards the athlete who displays the best on-hill/off-hill leadership and a sportsman-like attitude, was presented to Tilen Lane. Lane received a pair of Blizzard skis and a pair of Tecnica boots and is in the running for a full sponsorship for the 2012 season.