Engelman, AVSC up to challenge on home turf
The AVSC freestyle team was up to the challenge on its home turf as the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club played host to the top freestyle skiers in a Rocky Mountain Division moguls, dual moguls, slopestyle and halfpipe event last weekend, Jan. 15-17, at Aspen Highlands.Saturday’s open moguls saw Rachel Weitzenkorn top the standings for the AVSC women in 11th place overall and third for her J-1 division. Kaitlin Roos showed the judges some nice turns to take 16th and third for the J-2s. Julianne Davis and Lexi Paparo finished 29th and 30th and newcomer Brooke Scheffer took 35th in her first freestyle competition.Glenn Engelman had his best open moguls finish ever, coming in sixth overall and third for J-1s. “He looked awesome out there,” said AVSC freestyle program director Eric Knight.Teammates Chris Schumacher and Zac Giammarrusco skied solidly to finish 17th and 19th overall, and fourth and fifth, respectively, among J-2s. Travis Van Domelen had a fast run featuring good turn scores for 35th overall and third for J-3s; J-3 Matt Goldstein finished 38th overall and fifth in the division.Kaitlin Roos and Rachel Weitzenkorn both advanced through their first head-to-head match-ups in dual moguls Sunday, but neither could overcome second-round opponents. They finished tied for ninth overall.Zac Giammarrusco and Chris Schumacher lost in the second round on the men’s side as well, finishing in a tie for 18th. Matt Goldstein won his first two heats but had the unfortunate task of facing teammate Glenn Engelman
“Matt’s a great duals skier,” said Knight, “but Glenn is on a roll right now. No matter what, I knew AVSC was going to make it to the finals.” Goldstein lost out to finish in the group of skiers tied for ninth, while Engelman advanced to settle some old scores.In the finals, Engelman faced Saturday’s open moguls champ Joe Disco, a Telluride skier who finished fourth in nationals last year.”Glenn got the start and kept the lead all the way down,” said Knight. “Both guys skied excellent, mistake-free runs but Glenn got the edge from the judges.”Engelman got the jump on his adversaries by being first out of the gate and first to hit the top jump all day. “It was his best day of duals – he even outskied Michael Mead, the fastest moguls skier in the division,” said Knight.After toppling Disco and Mead, Glenn then skied against Joe’s younger brother, Jimmy Disco, for the win.”He had the lead and was winning when he lost a ski in the middle of the course,” said Knight. “He was skiing so well I didn’t even realize he had lost it until about two turns later when he pulled off to the side.”
Engelman finished with second place for the competition, and the event is sure to move him up in the rankings. “He’s competition, and the judges know to keep an eye out for him now,” said Knight. Monday’s slopestyle event saw Whitney Wickes grab third overall and second among J-3s. Teammate Kaitlin Roos was right behind in fourth overall and first for the J-2s, and Emily Teague finished fifth overall and second in the women’s senior division.The AVSC men showcased their terrain park skills by placing five skiers in the top-10 Monday. Jon Lafferty owned the competition, winning by a clear five-point margin over the second-place finisher.”Jon was awesome,” said Knight. “He threw the biggest corked 900 [2.5 off-axis rotations with a backwards landing] off of the last jump.”Lafferty is currently the No. 1 ranked junior skier in the U.S. for slopestyle. The breakthrough of the day went to teammate Charlie Lasser, however, who finish third overall and first for the J-3s. “Charlie’s been really training hard with [AVSC pipe and park coach] Geoff Stump,” said Knight. Andrew Wickes took sixth place and was the fourth J-1 finisher, and Matt Walker came in first for the J-2 skiers. Sam Ferguson cracked the top-10 overall and finished second among J-2s.
New AVSC freestyle team member Jen Hudak faced a tougher than expected challenge in the women’s halfpipe competition and wound up finishing in second.”Jen hasn’t shown us everything she’s got yet,” said Knight. “She’s ranked No. 1 and is capable of dominating the way Jon is.”Whitney Wickes finished a solid fourth place and second for the J-3s, showing the judges a smooth run with good amplitude. Emily Teague was sixth, and Kaitlin Roos finished seventh overall and first for J-2s.Lafferty increased his margin of victory in the halfpipe, walking away by 12 points over the next best skier. “He’s on a whole other level and carries some great momentum into the U.S. Freeskiing Open this week in Vail,” said Knight.Sam Ferguson finished sixth and second for the J-2s, and Charlie Lasser wound up 10th and third for the J-3s. Andrew Wickes just missed the top-10 in 11th place and third for J-1s.Joining Lafferty in Vail this week to represent AVSC will be Wickes, Matt Walker and Jen Hudak.
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After falling through a trapdoor in his Telluride home a couple of weeks ago, Chris Busbee wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep his streak going. He had run in every New York City Marathon since 1998 and was going to run it virtually this year in Aspen before his spill put all that in jeopardy.