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AVSC skier bound for Winter Youth Olympics

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete Julia Mueller-Ristine is headed to Innsbruck, Austria.

The 16-year-old is one of just two alpine skiers the United States Ski and Snowboard Association recently selected to represent the country at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games, which take place from Jan. 13-22. Mueller-Ristine is slated to take part in slalom, giant slalom, super G and super combined at the event, which will feature 15- to 18-year-olds competing for 63 medals at a resort that hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games.

“We’re extremely proud that Julia has been selected to compete,” club Alpine Program Director Greg Needell said in a news release. “It validates the program and demonstrates that Aspen and AVSC continue to produce talented young ski racers.”

Mueller-Ristine, and Vail’s Alex Leever, were selected based on points obtained from USSA results during the 2010-2011 season. Mueller-Ristine’s winter was replete with two GS victories in National Junior races in Telluride in February, and second- and fourth-place results in two slaloms one month later at Winter Park.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for Julia,” AVSC Head Ability Coach Kent Towlerton remarked in the news release. “She performed very well last year, and this January she’ll get a chance to compete against the best women her age in the world.”

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club sent a team of ability class racers to Vail for Tuesday and Wednesday’s Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup, where they competed against a field that included both World Cup standouts and collegiate skiers.

Julia Mueller-Ristine paced the local squad in Wednesday’s women’s giant slalom, finishing 34th with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 18.29 seconds. Teammates Ilona Schwartz (2:24.64), Sonja Gagen (2:27.48) and Erin Spence (2:34.40) wound up 47th, 51st and 54th out of 71. Italy’s Giulia Gianesini (2:04.02) captured the victory.

Schwartz (2:26.11) and Gagen (2:33.68) finished 34th and 39th in the afternoon GS, which was won by Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather (2:03.59).

In Tuesday’s men’s GS, Bobby Moyer wound up 29th with a time of 2:16.34. Devon Cardamone (2:19.55) was 45th, Meed Gary (2:28.88) 73rd, Xon Baker (2:30.76) 76th, Gabriel Hjorth (2:37.86) 87th and Scott Houtsma (2:40) 89th.


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