The competitors, whose ages ranged from the littlest five-year-old bumpster to skiers in their early teens, represent the region’s development, or DEVO, team athletes. Hailing primarily from Telluride and Durango, the event’s 75 young competitors demonstrated where the sport of freestyle skiing is, as well as where it’s going.
Head Telluride Ski and Snowboard Coach Caleb Martin said he was “blown away” by the level of skiing competitors displayed over the weekend, both at Saturday’s single moguls event as well as Sunday’s aerials and dual moguls competitions.
“It’s hard to see kids’ improvement when you’re working with them day-to-day,” said Martin, who has been training with the team’s older skiers for much of the last month. “The coolest thing this week was to come back and ski with the DEVO kids, and see how much their skiing really has improved.”
Improvement was evident in M5 age competitor Morgan Osborne’s ability to navigate a precise line down a rough mogul run; fellow M5 Benni Solomon’s grasp of a helicopter trick; M6 Sammy Schulling’s demonstration of a picture-perfect twister; F4 Keaton McCargo’s monster back-scratcher; and Zaumseil sisters Kealey (F5) and Kenzie (F6) fearlessly rocketing through the bumps and jumps of this weekend’s Southwest Freestyle Tour course. And those represent only a small slice of the talent pie served up under lift 5 in Telluride over the weekend.
“There were a lot of personal bests put out there across the board this weekend,” Martin said of the season finale DEVO event. “It’s a credit to our coaching staff, but also to these kids who have really worked hard throughout this entire season.”
The weekend event, which was the regional DEVO Tour Championships for 2007, found a few Telluride skiers on top of the tour’s overall season rankings. Local skiers swept the field in the female overall moguls division, with Chrysanthe Demas (who won her F3 age class in Saturday’s single moguls event by nearly a point) finishing first overall for the season; F4 Jessica Solomon, who also took first in her division on Saturday, finishing second; and teammate Keaton McCargo placing third.
“These girls were neck-and-neck all season long, always trading places on the podium,” Martin says.
For the boys, M4 Nicholas Jones finished with the highest accumulated points from the three-event mogul series to take first overall in mogul standing for the season. Behind him was Durango’s M5 mogul-skiing phenom Nolan Stowers, placing second overall, and Durango’s Garrett Jung (M4) in third.
Six tour skiers were also crowned the combined overall champions of the 2007 Southwest Freestyle Tour series, having scored high across the board in the season’s three singles moguls, two dual moguls, and two aerials events. Keaton McCargo, whose older sister Paige recently qualified for Junior Nationals in moguls as a J2, stepped out into her own to take the title of overall tour queen, just ahead of Telluride teammate Kealey McCargo who finished second. Durango’s F3 Emily Jordan placed third.
Durango skiers Nolan Stowers and Derek MacGuffie took first and second, respectively, in overall combined tour rankings, with Telluride’s Nicholas Jones rounding out the field in third.
Martin said of the completion of the season’s Southwest Freestyle DEVO tour; “It was great finish for a lot of these skiers, especially those who will be moving up to the Rocky Mountain division next year.” He adds that the event couldn’t have been pulled off without the massive support from the Telluride Ski Resort and its departments, and specifically Sean Tannehill.
Rocky Mountain, one large step above the DEVO level, will present its cream of the crop this weekend here in Telluride, as the Telluride Ski Resort hosts the Rocky Mountain Divisional Championship. All the best skiers from around Colorado – including Telluride’s own Discoe brothers Joe and Jimmy as well as the rest of Telluride Freestyle’s bread winners – will converge on the Lower Plunge mogul course for three days of competition Friday through Sunday. See Friday’s edition of the Watch for more details.
Southwest Freestyle Tour Championship Results
1. Chrysanthe Demas, 14.62
2. Emily Jordan (Durango), 13.72
3. Jessica Jones, 12.34
1. Jessica Solomon, 15.65*
2. Keaton McCargo, 14.78
3. Dale Kondracki, 13.43
1. Kealey Zaumseil, 14.58
2. Robin Kondracki, 13.46
3. Hannah Smith (Durango), 10.65
1. Kenzie Zaumseil, 9.59
2. Becca Schaldach (Durango), 9.04
3. Skyler Nunn, 8.63
1. Nicholas Jones, 17.89*
2. Garrett Jung (Durango), 17.65
3. Kelsey Jordan (Durango), 16.81
1. Nolan Stowers (Durango), 16.81
2. Chandler Hughes, 15.95
3. Morgan Osborne, 15.87
1. Benji Mickel (Durango), 14.54
2. Connor Overly, 10.80
3. Will Plantz, 10.51
1. Emily Jordan (Durango), 35.76
2. Jessica Jones, 29.28
3. Chrysanthe Demas, 28.43
1. Keaton McCargo, 43.25*
2. Emily Schaldach (Durango), 33.36
3. Haleigh Lyon (Durango,) 31.10
1. Kealey Zaumseil, 40.32
2. Robin Kondracki, 36.48
3. Natalie Lyon (Durango), 30.96
1. Becca Schaldach (Durango), 33.84
2. Sadie Smith (Durango), 28.32
3. Kenzie Zaumseil, 27.84
1. Nolan Stowers (Durango), 53.89*
2. Chandler Hughes, 37.38
3. Ty MacGuffie (Durango), 37.17
1. Benji Mickel (Durango), 38.88
2. Caleb Hurwitz, 30.96
3. Benjamin Potter, 21.87
1. Chrysanthe Demas
2. Emily Jordan (Durango)
3. Jessica Jones
1. Keaton McCargo
2. Jessica Solomon
3. Kaylee Blevins (Durango)
1, Kealey Zaumseil
2. Robin Kondracki
3. Maddie Johnson
1. Kenzie Zaumseil
2. Becca Schaldach (Durango)
3. Skyler Nunn
1. Nicholas Jones
2. Garrett Jung (Durango)
3. Orion Willits
1. Morgan Osborne
2. Benni Solomon
3. Nolan Stowers (Durango)
1. Benji Mickel (Durango)
2. Caleb Hurwitz
3. Max Cantor
*Represents highest score of day