TELLURIDE – The Telluride Ski Resort bumps are about as burly as they come, and as it turns out, so are Telluride-bred bump skiers.
Last weekend Telluride’s youngest freestylers confirmed their command over all things freestyle-related, crushing their competition at the Devo Championships in Winter Park. The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club’s older mogulists also made their mark among a fierce competitive field at the Junior Olympics event in Waterville Valley, N.H.
At the Winter Park DEVO Championships, Kealey Zaumseil “won everything she possibly could – except the treasure hunt,” said TSSC junior mogul team coach Nori Lupfer. Zaumseil skied away with the gold medal in J4 slopestyle and J4 moguls, then won the Women’s Overall Combined – for the second year in a row. Her snatch of the Combined State Devo title garnered her a new pair of Hart skis, which are expected to help convey her to even greater heights next season.
Also delivering praiseworthy results for Team Telluride was Morgan Osborne, who has consistently been atop winners’ podiums this winter. Not only did Osborne take home first place for J4 boys in moguls, he did it by beating the field by nearly a point-and-a-half – a margin coach Lupfer said is huge.
Meanwhile, in the younger J5 division, Kenzie Zaumseil won her first gold medal of the season for J5 girls in moguls, with teammate Skylar Nunn standing beside her wearing silver. Young Will Jantzen, skiing in only his third competition ever, took home second place in his age group.
“Everyone skied well, so it was a great end to the competitive season,” Lupfer said.
The Winter Park DEVO event followed on the heels of the Southwest Tour Championship in Durango, where Telluride skiers again shone brightly amid their regional field. Kealey Zaumseil again established herself as the queen of the bumps, finishing first. Right behind her was Robin Kondracki in second place for the F4s. Telluride swept the top four places in the F5 division, with Skyler Nunn, Camilla Gardner, Kenzie Zaumseil and Emma Spaulding taking first through fourth place, respectively. On the boys' side, podium finishers included Zach Nunn, who finished first in M4s, and Will Jansen, who took third in M6s.
Telluride’s oldest bump skiers battled dicey conditions on the East Coast for the Junior Olympics Championship, where rain and freezing temperatures made for difficult, icy slopes in Waterville Valley. Justin Tshinkel, Telluride’s sole representative in the slopestyle event, threw a series of dizzying tricks – switch 540s, 900s – but the hard-as-steel slopestyle course took its toll. A crash on the first run and a dragged hand on the landing of his 900 in the second put him out of the top 20, but even qualifying for the event after ACL surgery last season was impressive, said head freestyle coach Caleb Martin.
The single moguls event proved to be a bit of an anomaly for Telluride, with none making the podium. Martin pointed to the course’s ultra-icy conditions as a major factor; Telluride skiers get plenty of opportunities to ski big burly bumps, but not when they’re coated with two inches of ice. Ryan Parkinson came through with Telluride’s best result of the day, finishing 32 overall amid a super competitive field of the best junior skiers in the nation.
Snow-softening sun on Duals day helped break the spell, putting Telluride skiers again on top with Lane Stoltzner accomplishing the heady feat of skiing six clean, fast, aggressive runs to finish as the women’s duals winner.
“Every run was a little better. Lane was beating girls across the line, not making any mistakes, and skiing consistently in all six of her runs,” Martin said. Stoltzner even managed to get by longtime rival Mikaela Matthews to garner the gold.
Keaton McCargo won three of her duals to make it into the round of eight. There, she lost one dual but came back in the next round and ultimately finished in 6th place overall for the ladies.
Telluride skiers Stoltzner, Cannon, Wade Parkinson, and Zak Watkins leave Monday for Squaw Valley, where they’ll have a few days of training before competing in Nationals events next Friday and Saturday. This will be the final event of the season for Telluride freestyle.