Jess Sterrett Continues Her Domination of the Girls 12-14 Top Spot and Jonathan Reuter, Tasha Heilweil, and Zach Halverson Join Her in Taking Top Honors at the 2011 North American Junior Freeskiing Championships
Matt Reuter is awarded the Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award
From MSI — KIRKWOOD, Calif. (March 27) — More than eight feet of snow has fallen on Kirkwood in the last week, and following weather delays, junior freeskiers competed in a one-run Super Final in the North American Junior Freeskiing Championships. The weather cleared on Sunday and Finger Chutes proved to be the perfect venue for the 92 junior competitors to showcase their talents. The large, open bowl, littered with large rock outcroppings, allowed these junior skiers several opportunities to build on their line scores and impress the judges.
"Today's venue, the Finger Chutes, was labeled a 'reserve venue' by today's freeskiing competition standards," said Frankie Alisuag, event announcer. "However, the junior competitor's creativity, vision, and raw talent made this venue worthy of a very dynamic, exciting, and entertaining competition."
The 12-14 year old girls started off the day with Alta/Bird Freeride's Jessica Sterrett taking her fourth victory of the season and wrapping up the overall title with another commanding run. Her aggressive line and fluid style, topped with a small air in the upper rock section, gave her a score of 34.43. Alta/Bird Freeride's Jacqueline Pollard found her way to the podium in second place with a solid, fast, polished run. Annika Winans, from the Olympic Valley Freestyle team out of Squaw Valley, placed third, skiing a fast, fluid run stomping a small air.
For the boys 12-14, Kirkwood Freeride Team's rookie Jonathan Reuter, who just turned 12, took home the first place medal with a run doubling the cliffs to the skiers left and then flashing the bottom portion of the course. Reuter finished with a score of 37.77 just edging out Alta/Bird Freeride's Grant Howard. Howard, who is currently sitting in first place in overall rankings, started his run with big, fast turns heading into the cliff area and stomped a great air capping off his run with a 360 towards the bottom, giving him a score of 37.63. Third place went to Chanc Deschamps-Prescott of the Olympic Valley Freestyle team, who aired the 20-30 foot pocket air with a clean landing and a quick run to the bottom giving him a score of 37.33.
"I was so stoked to make the top ten in my first ever big mountain competition, but to win was beyond my wildest dreams," said Jonathan Reuter.
The 15-17 year-old girls were next to ski, with Alta/Bird Freeride Team's Tasha Heilweil taking top honors with her direct, fall line approach into the Finger Chutes finishing her run with a perfectly executed bottom air, scoring a 33.73; she's currently ranked first overall for girls 15-17. Squaw Valley Big Mountain Team's Zabie Elmgren took second with a score of 33.53 after successfully hitting the skier's left side double air. Rounding out the top three was JFT two-time Champion at Crested Butte, CO and Crystal Mountain, WA, Sarah Williams, of the Squaw Valley Big Mountain Team, with a score of 31.90.
Finishing out the day with some of the biggest airs ever witnessed on the Finger Chutes, were the boys in the 15-17 year old category. All of the competitors skied fast, fluid lines, but some of the top JFT finishers from this season were unable to successfully land their airs. The Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award recipient from Grand Targhee, Zach Halverson, from Girdwood, Alaska, skied away with the victory after a unique variation of the top skier's left double displaying ultimate freeskiing technique, and scoring a 40.20. Halverson currently sits in first place overall for boys 15-17. Revelstoke, BC's Jake Teuton powered his way down the mountain skiing a very aggressive line and taking a huge air off the top cliffs with a score of 39.47. Team Summit's Drew Peterson rounded out the podium skiing a fast, fluid line on the skiers left scoring a 39.00.
The Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award, which rewards the athlete who displays the best on-hill/off-hill leadership, sportsman-like attitude, and overall spirit of the Junior Freeskiing Tour, was presented to Kirkwood's own Matt Reuter. Reuter received a pair of Blizzard skis of his choice and a pair of Tecnica boots and is now in the running for the overall Free Mountain award, which is a sponsorship for the 2012 Junior Freeskiing Tour season by Tecnica/Blizzard.
The final stop of the 2011 Junior Freeskiing Tour will be in Snowbird, Utah April 7-10 for the Junior Freeskiing World Championships.