AVSC boys rule home snow in super G
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The local boys sure look comfortable on their home hill.
While Pat Callahan is careful to avoid exaggeration, the veteran Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club alpine coach is certain he has never witnessed anything quite like what has transpired at Buttermilk these past few days.
Tuesday, five of his athletes finished in the top eight – including three on the podium – in the Rocky/Central J3 Junior Olympics boys downhill.
They did even better Wednesday. Two times better.
AVSC athletes swept the top six spots in the final standings in the super G, on Tiehack’s Racer’s Edge. Dean Travers led the charge, clinching gold with a winning time of 1 minute, 14.13 seconds. Travis Lundin (1:14.39) and Xon Baker (1:14.89) finished second and third, securing their second podiums in as many days.
Downhill winner Benjamin Throm (1:15.10), Colby Lane (1:15.79) and Andrew Hancock (1:16.04) rounded out the top six.
“It was unbelievable, although I shouldn’t say I’m stunned. I knew all of these guys had the possibility of getting in there,” Callahan said. “I asked the Junior Olympic commissioner when the last time one team took the top six spots was. As far as anyone knows, this has never happened. … It’s amazing.”
Steamboat Springs teammates Chandler Sedberry (1:17.19) and Serina Kidd (1:17.31) finished first and third, respectively, in the girls race. Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Megan McGrew (1:17.22) wound up second while Jili Jennerjahn (1:18.01) of Taos, N.M., Tuesday’s downhill winner, crossed the line in sixth.
Travers was 12th out the starting gate, and the Cayman Islands citizen quickly vaulted to the top of the leaderboard with his trademark aggressive style.
“Dean has incredible top-end speed. He’s so fast, but he’s sort of a missile without a rudder,” Callahan said. “You never know where he’s going, but if he keeps it between the lines he always skis fast. He skied smart. A couple of times he got low on his line, but he stayed with it and let the skis run. I could tell he was fast when I was watching as he went by, on the lower third of the course.”
Lundin, third Tuesday, generated more speed than Travers at times Wednesday, but a couple mistakes proved costly for him, Callahan said. In particular, Lundin was late rounding one gate and lost speed in a patch of soft snow.
Not all was lost. By virtue of being Tuesday’s top U.S. finisher, the Glenwood Springs resident secured a spot in next month’s Whistler Cup international races in British Columbia. The boys and girls winners in this week’s super G, giant slalom and slalom will join a total of 12 others from across the country in Canada. (Travers will be competing for the Caymans.)
Lundin’s feat is especially impressive considering he still has not fully recovered from a recent bout with pneumonia, Callahan said.
“I wouldn’t say [he’s back to 100 percent] yet,” the coach added. “He’s still looking tired at the end of the day, but he’s really saving his energy for the runs that matter.”
Baker, meanwhile, appears to be at full strength at these JOs.
“He’s just a big, strong and tall skier who knows how to let the skis run,” Callahan said. “He doesn’t make any big moves and just lets the skis go fast.
“All the kids are so confident with this hill because they know it so well. They’re not intimidated.”
That could spell trouble for the rest of the field in Thursday’s giant slalom and Saturday’s slalom, although Callahan said he expects the gap between teams to shrink in the technical events.
“A lot of kids from states like Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota are so good at the technical events because that’s all they really practice,” Callahan said. “It should be interesting.”
For part-time Vail Valley resident Meghan Buchanan, the North Pole will have to wait
Part-time Edwards resident Meghan Buchanan was supposed to leave the U.S. and head to Norway on March 31 to trek from the 89th degree to the 90th degree of the North Pole.