AVSC freestylers rule at Highlands
Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s Freestyle Challengers, ages 9-14, defended the club’s home course at Aspen Highlands recently.The event took place Jan. 11-12 – one of the coldest weekends of the winter thus far.The subzero temperatures didn’t put a damper on 12-year-old Connor Quigley. Quigley unveiled a double twister spread to wow the crowd and walk away with the win in the J4 division.”It was a huge air off the biggest jump,” said Challengers coach Chris Jacobsen. “I couldn’t see the landing, but everyone said it was super solid.”Quigley won by more than five points over Vail’s James Leonard. “Connor said it was the biggest achievement of his life,” Jacobsen said. “I told him there’s a lot more to come.” Thirteen-year-old local Tyre Thomas was the J3 champion, and J3 teammate Mike Schwartz took second. Another AVSC athlete, Rex Christensen, finished seventh in the J4 division and eighth overall.”Rex has been out of competition for a while, but he showed he’s got one of the best pops off the jump of the whole team,” Jacobsen said.AVSC’s Matt Hirsch also had a solid outing, with a 10th-place finish in the J4 division and an 11th-place overall. Teammate John Wilcox followed in 14th place overall, followed by Alex Ferreria, who threw a big air but missed his grab to take 15th place for the J4s and 23rd overall.
Sam Kaufman was 18th among J4s. Local Michael Schumacher took the silver medal in the J5 division and 13th overall.”Mikey’s really pushing himself, and he was jumping really well all week long,” Jacobsen said.Teammate Torin Yater-Wallace finished sixth in his age class.Local athletes also shined in Sunday’s moguls competition. Yater-Wallace threw a 90-daffy-270 to win the judges over and finish third overall in the J5 division.”It’s a sideways daffy in the midst of a 360,” Jacobsen said.Fellow J5 freestyler Mikey Schumacher followed in fourth place, and Hirsch finished fifth overall but took bronze for the J4s. “Matt pulled off a nice 360, and had really good turn and line scores,” Jacobsen said.Quigley also finished sixth in the moguls for his J4 division and eighth overall. Teammates Ferreira and Sam Draper finished seventh and ninth, respectively. Jacobsen also mentioned the personal-best finishes of Dane Christensen, John Wilcox and Richie Frankel. Frankel finished in the top 30 in his second competition.
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American giant slalom stud Ted Ligety won six times at Birds of Prey, be it five World Cups and/or gold in the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but we have to remember what a struggle it was for him to get there.