AVSC’s Engelman impresses in Park City | AspenTimes.com

AVSC’s Engelman impresses in Park City

Jon Maletz

No longer will competitors underestimate Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club freestyler Glen Engelman.Following five early season races that produced a high finish of 19th, Engelman was looking to impress in his first FIS NorAm dual moguls competition. He was looking to validate his prior qualification to compete on the NorAm circuit – one level below the World Cup – for the rest of the 2005-2006 season.Engelman, who failed to earn a spot for NorAm single moguls competitions, spent the bulk of his week training in Park City, Utah, to prepare for Tuesday’s event. The strategy paid off with an impressive fourth-place finish that included head-to-head victories against national team athletes from the U.S. and Canada.”He wasn’t able to get the singles spot, but by getting there five days early, he got five days of extremely focused training on the course,” AVSC freestyle program director Eric Knight said in a press release.Engelman’s qualifying run, which featured a 360 off the top jump and a backflip at the bottom, made a strong impression on the judges. Their scores vaulted Engelman into 14th place; the top 16 advanced to head-to-head competition.Engelman was then paired against the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s Tim Preston. Engelman put together an impressive run to soundly defeat Preston, a C Team member. “Glenn came in prepared and wasn’t intimidated,” AVSC freestyle coach Jeremy Moore said. “After all, he had already beaten some members of the U.S. team at the U.S. Nationals last spring.”Canadian national team skier Alan Munroe was waiting for Engelman in the round of eight. It was a horse race to the finish, Moore said. Both competitors skied off line as they tried to control the speed and momentum they had generated on the top of the course. By the time he reached the final jump, both had bailed out on their lines in an attempt to regain control. Engelman carried enough speed to successfully orchestrate and land a clean jump. Munroe faltered.”Both of those guys came flying into the bottom,” Moore said. “They were totally on edge and Glenn won the air scores.”Engelman earned a spot in the top four, but could not improve on his position after losing consecutive races against South Lake Tahoe’s Sho Kashima and Holt Haga, of Boise, Idaho.It was a less-than-desired finish to what was an auspicious result. Engelman’s finish was his best ever in a NorAm against a high-caliber international field, Knight said.A young season defined by off-kilter landings and inconsistency looks like a thing of the past. In the Rocky Mountain Division’s Winter Park Kick Off open moguls competition on Dec. 3 and 4, Engelman faltered on his landings on the top jump both days, finishing 51st and 64th in a field of 78.The struggles continued one week later at the U.S. Freestyle Selections NorAm event on Dec. 9-12. Engelman settled for a 36th-splace finish on Friday after yet another miscalculated top jump landing. He crashed after failing to stick the top air on Sunday.Engelman’s decision to lower the degree of difficulty with a double twist instead of a triple paid off Monday as he completed a clean run. He finished 19th, guaranteeing himself a spot in NorAm dual mogul events for the duration of the season. He is the first AVSC mogul skier to accomplish such a feat, Moore said. If Tuesday’s result is any indication, Engelman will continue to flourish in the head-to-head competition on which he thrives. U.S. Freestyle Ski Team members and international competitors at the NorAm level now have a new name to contend with. Preston will not be forgetting that name anytime soon.”He [Preston] probably thought he didn’t need to bring out his ‘A’ run against Glenn,” Moore said. “Tim underestimated him.” Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com