Freeskiers bring home junior national titles |

Freeskiers bring home junior national titles

AVSC's Keenan McIntyre confers with coach Greg Ruppel at Park City, Utah, last weekend. McIntyre is the Junior National Freeski silver combined champion.
Courtesy photo |

Carson Campisi picked a fine time to land her first 720 in competition.

Completing the maneuver last week in the halfpipe at the 2014 Freestyle/Freeskiing Junior Nationals in Park City, Utah, earned Campisi gold in her age group, and an overall women’s silver medal for the discipline.

During a week when temperatures soared to 60 degrees, athletes contended with a halfpipe that was at times bulletproof and other times sugary-soft.

But that didn’t keep Keenan McIntyre from finishing 15th in the pipe and sixth in big air.

Those scores, combined with a slopestyle result, vaulted McIntyre into the position of Junior National Freeski silver combined champion.

“He’s been building on it all season,” said coach Greg Ruppel, citing the Aspen High School sophomore’s tenacity and willingness to put in the time that’s needed to succeed.

Lynn Merriam, AVSC’s freestyle/freeride head coach, noted that McIntyre is “physically strong, and he is willing to try new things. That gives him an edge over other kids. He’s also very consistent when he throws his tricks,” she said.

Also competing in Park City were Joey Lang, Gage Carr, Tyler Spence, Cassidy Jarrell and Andrew Tierney.

A crash in practice hurt Lang in his ability to contend for a medal.

Spence was one slot out of the slopestyle finals with Tierney and Carr also putting down great runs but just missing the last round, Ruppel said.

The USSA Junior Nationals, which concluded March 16, brought together the country’s top contenders from each division with national champions decided by their best individual and overall results.

While freeskiing teammates were tearing it up in Utah, closer to home AVSC’s big mountain team enjoyed its own success at Winter Park. Freeskiers have had a busy month of March, traveling from Sun Valley to Crested Butte, Park City to Winter Park in the past few weeks.

It was at Winter Park that Rhianna Borderick savored her first victory of the season while Will Morris was third for his second podium of the year. Jackson Ferraro had another good contest, taking fifth at Winter Park.

Alpine results

In some quarters, they call him “Mr. October,” a reference to Cooper Cornelius’ ability to step up for big competitions when the time is right. But the alpine skier from Glenwood Springs isn’t the only athlete who performed when needed.

At the championships, where downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom races were contested, four AVSC athletes, Cornelius, Tristan Lane, Hanna Mass and Anna Patterson, qualified for the upcoming U16 Nationals in Park City.

Lane won a difficult downhill marked by soft snow conditions and early ruts; this is the third consecutive year that an AVSC member has won this event.

Cornelius was fifth that day, the best result for his birth year.

Hanna Mass finished an impressive third in the downhill on the heels of former AVSC teammate Galena Wardle, who now trains with the U.S. Ski Team’s Academy in Utah.

In a race described as “very difficult” by Steamboat Winter Sports Club coach Deb Armstrong, AVSC athletes produced results.

The next day, in the super-G, all three of the men who represent AVSC — Lane, Cornelius and Dexter Edelman — finished in the top 10.

In the giant slalom, Anna Patterson had her best finish of the week, ninth place, while Mass and teammate Birgit Morris finished in the top 20.

Edelman and Cornelius continued their consistent ways with top-10 finishes in the giant slalom and the final day’s slalom.

Edelman’s overall finishes earned him an invitation to the Western Can-Am Games. He is also being considered for a spot at the U16 Nationals.

For the first time in recent history, the U10 alpine skiers had their own championship event; Telluride hosted the weekend event.

Notable among AVSC team finishes were Jake Morgan’s double gold medals in Sunday’s slalom races.

Stella Sherlock of Snowmass Village enjoyed a top-10 finish in the GS and was in the top 15 in both slaloms.

Bag ladies fly high

For the second year in a row, AVSC is sponsoring a Bag Lady Day at Aspen Highlands.

Free to all women in the community, the event showcases AVSC’s airbag, which has permitted athletes to hone their acrobatic skills and maneuvers year round in a safe environment.

During Bag Lady Day, coaches will be available to provide free instruction to skiers and riders who want to strut their stuff on the air bag. A helmet is required.

The event is set for Wednesday, March 26, at 10 a.m.

A lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches will be served to all participants. For more information, contact Beth Hanson,

On the GrassRoots TV program “Weekly with Walt,” guests Kevin Haggerty, OJ Melahn and Lauren Cockrell will talk about Aspen Highlands’ history as well as its future, which includes AVSC’s significant investment into the Golden Horn/Thunderbowl competition venue.

“Weekly with Walt” airs today at 7 p.m. on Channel 12 (up valley) or Channel 82 below Catherine’s Store.

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