AVSC athletes shine at Freeskiing Open
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. Low visibility and falling snow didn’t stop Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s best freestyle skiers from cracking the top 10 in both slopestyle and halfpipe at last weekend’s U.S. Freeskiing Open at Copper Mountain.
Post-graduate athletes Shanny Cohen and Anna Segal battled a slopestyle course that had been slowed by fresh powder Friday to advance out of very competitive quarterfinal and semifinal heats.Cohen, originally from Sun Valley, Idaho, took eighth place in the women’s final, followed by Segal in ninth. “You had to play it smart,” said AVSC freestyle coach Elana Chase. “It wasn’t a day to pull out your dream tricks. You had to listen to the judges and just try to boost enough to get over the knuckle [of the jump] and land cleanly. Once they got over the jumps, I let them do what they wanted on the rails and push the envelope there.”
Fifteen-year-old Walter Woods wowed the judges to advance to the men’s final, making a name for himself in the process. He finished 10th behind a who’s who list of well-established stars which included A.J. Kempainen, Colby West, J.F. Houle and Winter X Games silver medalist Jossi Wells. Former AVSC skiers Matt Walker (fifth) and Peter Olenick (eighth) also made final appearances.In Sunday’s men’s superpipe final, AVSC post-graduate skier and Copper Mountain Freeride Team member Taylor Seaton spun his way to a silver medal.
Seaton lost out only to the flawless skiing of Kempainen in the final. “Taylor’s an awesome skier and he’s leading the way for the other kids, showing them if you work hard and make smart choices you can wind up on the podium,” Chase said. “He was one of the first to go on his first run and skied the best run I’ve ever seen from him. His score held up the first two rounds and for his third run we just had him ski the same run but tweak it and dial up the style for the judges.” The strategy paid off. “He really proved he belonged up there,” Chase added.
Women’s Nordic combined will not be in the Olympics in 2026, preventing the Winter Games from reaching gender equality. The International Olympic Committee elected to not add the sport to the schedule on Friday.
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