Turns out, tricks are for kids. And freeskiing competitions aren’t just for grown-ups anymore. Just ask any of the kids competing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Junior Championships.
“The junior athletes displayed a style of skiing far beyond their age,” says Event Announcer Max Kuszaj. “Even with raw, thin snow coverage, the juniors skied safely and very aggressively. They offer a true glimpse into the future of big mountain freeskiing, and hopefully we’ll see them in the future competing on The Subaru Freeskiing World Tour.”
Top honors went to Snowbird, UT athlete Jess Sterrett, and Erik Hilb from Vail, CO in the 12-14 category; and Squaw Valley’s Sarah Williams and Drew Petersen from A-Basin, CO in the 15-17 category.
For the 12-14 category, Jess Sterrett dominated for the women’s field on both days, skiing an aggressive and technical run, she worked the course from top to bottom, earning a final score of 63.10. In second place was Montana’s Erin Kempt, who had clean turns and showed great technique finishing up with a 51.47 score. For the men, Vail’s own, Erik Hilb came in first with a 73.84 score. Hilb skied every major tough section of the course earning the top spot. Close behind was another Vail competitor, Travers Johnson, who threw a 360 flat spin coming in first for today’s final day and finishing with a score of 72.40.
“It’s an awesome feeling to accomplish something this big,” says women’s winner 12-14, Jess Sterrett. “I went in with a positive attitude and hoped for the best, and it obviously paid off.”
In the 15-17 category, Sarah Williams from Squaw Valley earned her top podium spot for the females with a 64.37, showing the judges she could use the venue, skiing a smooth line through a difficult route, lookers left with a tight steep chute. Adding to the list of top Vail, CO athletes was Anna Suszynski, who skied fluid and clean lines showing control on both days, earning second place with a score of 64.26.
For the guys, it was a similar story; Drew Petersen, who took first place, and Ian Borgeson, who came in closely behind, battled back and forward for the top spot. Petersen showed he was capable of skiing anything, he skied a steep chute on skier’s right hand side earning a final score of 76.77. Borgeson had a clean line through the steep terrain and overall showed flow on his run, finishing with a 75.73.
“I’m always really stoked on these events. There’s such good vibes from the competitors,” says Drew Peterson, men’s 15-17 winner. “It’s been a goal of mine to win the Junior Freeskiing Tour for awhile, and it was great to win at Crested Butte, since it’s so close to home.”
The Tecnica/Blizzard Free Mountain Award, which goes to the athlete who best exhibits on-hill skiing and off-hill positive leadership and a sportsman-like attitude, was awarded to Ian Borgeson who also earned second place for the males in the 15-17 category.
“I was a little surprised to win, but I was out for redemption after falling during last year’s finals,” he says.