TELLURIDE – The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club alpine team has enjoyed a stellar competitive season so far this year, with more racers competing – and more medals won – than ever before.
Last weekend J2 racer Hayden Fake blazed his home course on Milk Run at the Jim Drew Memorial (a qualifier for the J2 Junior Olmpics), speeding to fifth place and winning a Junior Olympics berth in the process.
“It’s a measure of the kind of athletes now coming out of our program,” said Mike Bowman, TSSC’s alpine team director, of Fake’s spot in the J2 Junior Olympics – an accomplishment only the top 3 percent of 15-16 year-old racers in the country can claim.
Also making her mark in the J2 realm last weekend was Telluride’s Madison Gumerman, who made a run for the top ten but landed in 12th.
Last weekend’s home-hosted race on Milk Run followed on the heels of a slew of recent races for Telluride’s alpine team. The team sped into the heart of the competitive season en masse last month, with more racers competing on a single weekend in January than ever before.
Over four different races – in Sunlight, Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, and here in Telluride – a total of 40 Telluride alpine skiers took on their regional competition January 19-20. According to Bowman, the sheer number of Telluride racers entering the starting gates over that weekend stands as a high point in the team’s history.
“It’s really a measuring stick for the success of the club, and the alpine team in particular, in terms of participation and kids just having fun,” Bowman said of the huge number of alpine racers scattered across the state for races. “I haven’t seen that kind of turnout since I’ve been here.”
Indeed, TSSC’s alpine team has taken their regional competition by storm this year, with lofty results posted across all age divisions.
In Steamboat, Anna Fake nabbed three top-tens, while French skier Leo Maitre (his father is on Ski Patrol exchange from France) skied to two top tens. Ebba Green rounded out Telluride’s J4 Super G greatness with a handful of top 15s, while Will Planz snuck into the top 20.
Meanwhile the team’s oldest J2 competitors made a dash for the top at the Winter Park speed events, where Hayden Fake jumped into the top ten as did teammate Madison Gumerman.
Next on the agenda for Telluride’s alpine racers are qualifier events for the J4 and J3 age divisions. Bowman says TSSC has the potential to see up to five team members qualify for the J4 Junior Olympics, and as many as seven for the J3 Junior Olympics. Fake will be making the trip to Sugarloaf, Maine, in March for the J2 Junior Olympics.