Between the three disciplines of snowboarding, alpine, and freestyle skiing, Telluride’s youth ski and snowboard program has put an imposing number of its athletes on winners’ podiums throughout this season. All the hard work TSSC athletes have put into climbing the ranks has paid off, with a large number of skiers and riders making it onto Championship event start-lists this month.
“Even being conservative… that puts 24 athletes (ages 12-20) representing Telluride on a national stage,” said Justin Chandler, executive director of TSSC, of this year’s crop of young athletes making a name for themselves (and their home team) at National Championship events this spring.
Telluride’s freestyle ski team has enjoyed illustrious results from its up-and-coming skiers for many seasons, and 2011 is no different with team leaders making it into recent Junior Olympics as well as U.S. Nationals events.
Mogul team members Troy Tully, Keaton McCargo, Kealey Zaumseil, Morgan Osborne and Benni Solomon dominated regional and statewide competitions this winter to qualify for the prestigious Junior Olympics in Steamboat (where only the top 70 women, and top 77 men in the country were invited.) There, McCargo landed in medals territory in third place overall, while Tully took home silver for the men, in singles moguls competitions.
Zaumseil fought her way to a sixth place in the Duals, while McCargo tied for ninth.
TSSC freestyle’s Tully now heads to the Junior Worlds event in Jyväskylä, Finland March 18th and 19th. His invitation to the event solidifies his standing as one of the top four ranked U.S. male mogul skiers.
Meanwhile McCargo, Zaumseil, Parkinson, Watkins, and Tully have all qualified to compete at the U.S. National Championships (all ages, top 50 men and women) in Stratton, Vermont March 25th and 27th. (Zaumseil, McCargo and Tully all made the cut, despite still being in the junior age class.)
And on the alpine front, a whopping nine skiers have or will attend Junior Olympic Championship events this spring – “the most in a very long time,” Chandler said.
In February, Telluride sent eight of its J3 skiers to the J3 Junior Olympic qualifier; of those, five wound up qualifying for this season-ending event. Mikaela Balkind, Jake Plantz, Katherine Bush, Malcolm Major, and Tagert Mueller all competed at the J3 Junior Championship in Aspen last week. Telluride’s best result came from Balkind, who raced to a top 30 finish. (In a bad stroke of luck, both Mueller and Major injured their hands in the competition.)
J2 skier Hayden Fake joined the Nation’s top 3 percent of 15-16 year olds at the J2 National Championship in Sugarloaf, Maine, battling very challenging weather conditions but coming out with a best finish of 31st place overall.
Meanwhile J4 age class skiers Anna Fake, Ebba Green, and Theo Rolfs are competing in Junior Olympic events this week in Steamboat Springs; while Telluride’s youngest J5 skiers stole the show at last weekend’s J5 Finale in Powderhorn (including podium-placers Finn Bailis and Alby Rolfs,) upending much larger clubs like Aspen, Steamboat, and Winter Park to take the third place overall team award.
In snowboard and freeride news, the TSSC athletes who will be making the trip to Copper Mountain in April for the U.S. Nationals event had not yet been announced as of press time, but Chandler is expecting between eight and ten Telluride athletes to make the cut.