The J5 Finale at Sunlight Mountain last Saturday and Sunday showcased the talents of over twenty of Telluride's youngest alpine competitors. The event attracted more than seventy girls and over ninety boys from across the region, and although competition was taxing, Telluride's up-and-coming racers held their own with commendable finishes across the board.
Telluride's top finisher, Caroline Winslow from team TSSC, raked in superb top 15 finishes with 11th and 15th places in the slalom and giant slalom runs. Best overall finishes from the weekend's four separate races found fellow TSSC teammates in the top 50. Naomi Major placed 34th; Brooke Denesik, 37th; Hannah Krieg, 42nd; and Rachel Hampton, 46th.
TSSC's youngest females, Griffin Mueller and Mikaela Balkind, as well as TMS's Grace Trammell, garnered substantial race experience at the Sunlight event. "They did a great job as some of the youngest competitors in the field on a very challenging race venue," said TSSC coach Justin Chandler.
Telluride's top overall male finisher was TSSC's Hayden Fake, coming in with stellar top 20 finishes at 14th and 19th places in two of the races. TSSC's Brendan Kelley and TMS's Hunter Mclean had a steady hold on their competition as well, with Kelley's best finish putting him in 27th place and Mclean taking 36th. TSSC's Jared Balkind fell in close behind with a best finish of 43rd, while teammates Malcolm Major and Kyle Koenig felt the pressure of stiff competition with 50th and 60th place best finishes, respectively.
TSSC's youngest male competitors, Chandler Hughes, Preston Hughes, Walker Sedgwick, Max Bailis, Taggert Mueller, and Jack Herrick, "all did a great job on a very challenging hill as the youngest competitors in the race," said Chandler. "The same venues that we used were also utilized for a men's Nor-am competition, which is one step below the World Cup Tour."
The Telluride turnout at the Sunlight J5 Finale was the highest of any race team. "Telluride had the largest group in the race – that says a lot about the future of the alpine team," said Chandler.
Telluride's Best Strut Stuff, Qualify for Regional Age Class Championships
Telluride's oldest alpine racers enter the starting gate at regional qualifying events alongside hundreds of Colorado's fastest alpine competitors. Armed with a furor of their own, locked into their iron-hard legs and biting-sharp edges, Telluride competitors have unleashed a torrent of reputable results at recent end-of-season events.
TSSC's oldest racers, Ashly Story and Lang Schuler, are prime examples of Telluride's talent, as they made waves at the Smartwool Super G event in Steamboat Springs March 4-6. Story's 17th, 16th and 15th place finishes in her ultra-competitive J2 field, and Schuler's 23rd place best finish, qualified both racers for this week's Rocky/Central Division J2 Championships in Aspen. Story kept pace with her strong results earlier in the month, landing her at 21st in Super G and her personal record-breaking best finish ever in Giant Slalom, 23rd place. Other results are TBA.
TSSC J3s followed in the footsteps of their older counterparts at their own Junior Olympics held in Vail/Beaver Creek March 6-12. The best J3 racers in all of the Rockies and Central U.S. were on hand at the Vail races, where Telluride's two-racer contingent upheld the team's evidently elevated competition standards. Maddie Crowell finished extremely strong across the board with a 21st in downhill, 33rd in Super G, 30th in GS, and 32nd in slalom.
"To be knocking on the door of top 30 finishes in every event, and winning a 22nd in downhill, shows great all around skiing and a very well rounded ski racer with a big future," said TSSC coach Chandler.
Telluride's Tase Flores also landed what coach Chandler deemed a "truly amazing" performance at the J3 Junior Olympics, working his way up from a 74th start number to finish in 22nd place in the slalom event.
Telluride J4 competitors head into competition today at the Junior Olympics in Winter Park. TSSC's Victor Major and Kailee Winslow earned invitations to the J4 Junior Olympics after outstanding results in an earlier J4 qualifier. As a first year J4, TSSC's Josephine Bush just missed the invitation by a few spots. TMS's head alpine coach Barrett Stein is currently in Winter Park with his J4 racers Keo Brown, Tarja Berry and Morgan Pihl. Team racer Shane Mclean also earned a spot at the championship race, but a sprained ACL sidelined him for the event. Look for results from the week's J4 event in upcoming editions of the Telluride Watch.
TSSC Snowball Fundraiser Hits
Stage on Saturday
The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club's annual fundraiser, the springtime Snowball, takes place this Saturday, March 19, 6 – 10 p.m., at La Piazza in Mountain Village. A $50 ticket includes dinner, dancing, a live band, hot mulled wine, and beer. There will also be live and silent auctions with over 200 items, including ski passes, golf passes, luxury lodging, destination travel, fine dining, ski equipment and clothing, jewelry, and artwork.