Hoffman leads U.S. skiers at Junior Worlds
Editor’s note: It was a busy weekend for local sports with Aspen High School’s ski teams competing at the state skiing championships in Steamboat Springs, the Skiers’ hockey team competing in the state playoffs, all four local prep basketball teams wrapping up their regular seasons, as well as a host of locals competing at the third 24 Hours of Sunlight and in The Aspen Times Town Race Series’ speed events. We still are trying to catch up! For a follow-up story on how locals finished at Sunlight, prep basketball previews, updates on locals competing at the Junior World Championships and the Town Race Series results, check back in The Aspen Times. Aspen local Noah Hoffman was the top American at Monday’s 10-kilometer race at the Nordic Junior World Championships in Malles, Italy, finishing 12th in 29 minutes, 49.2 seconds.Norwegian Hans Christer Holund won the men’s race in 28:50.3, followed by Canadian Alex Harvey (28:58.5) and Germany’s Tim Tscharnke (29:09.5).Hoffman’s result comes on the heels of his victory at the Owl Creek Chase earlier this month. The 18-year-old local humbled a field of pros and Olympians in the 25-kilometer skate between Snowmass Village and Aspen, winning in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 21.5 seconds. Hoffman is a graduate of Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s nordic program and currently trains with the Sun Valley (Idaho) Ski Education Foundation.The Junior World Championships continue Wednesday with a men’s 20K and a women’s 10K mass start.Locals represent at Mount HoodCarbondale’s Kyla Sobieralski and Basalt’s Molly Wilson – both Team AVSC riders – turned in strong showings last weekend at the Chevy Revolution Tour stop at Oregon’s Mount Hood.Wilson took second in Sunday afternoon’s women’s slopestyle final, while Sobieralski was fifth in Saturday’s women’s halfpipe final.Sobieralski’s result follows a second-place showing in superpipe earlier this month at the Aspen/Snowmass Open, held on the Winter X Games’ course at Buttermilk. Wilson also landed on the podium at the Aspen/Snowmass Open, winning the bronze in women’s slopestyle.Basalt local Cleve Johnson also had a strong showing at Mount Hood, finishing fifth in Friday’s men’s boardercross.AVSC skiers storm JapanReigning two-time U.S. champion Jen Hudak – an AVSC post-graduate athlete – continued her podium streak this month in Japan, taking second at the Feb. 15 World Cup halfpipe final in Inawashiro, followed by a win at last weekend’s Nippon Open in Joetsu Kokusai.Hudak shrugged off light snow to finish second to Winter X Games’ pipe champ Sarah Burke at the World Cup contest, held at the 2009 Freestyle World Championships venue. Burke won with a score of 40.6 in the two-run final. Hudak, who grew up in Connecticut and began skiing at Okemo Mountain in Vermont before moving west, was second with a 37.3.Hudak finally got the best of Burke on Friday to take the win at the Nippon Open in what AVSC freestyle coach Elana Chase described as an “all-out run in a blizzard.””Jen could have thrown a safer run to win, but she was skiing so well in training that she felt the need to win with authority and leave no doubt in the judges’ and audience’s mind,” Chase said in an AVSC news release.Hudak’s run featured some huge amplitude and a well-executed series of spins including three 540 variations and a 720 to finish.Davina Williams, who joined AVSC from Australia last season, joined Hudak on the podium at the World Cup halfpipe final with a third-place run that featured some huge 540s.AVSC’s Anna Segal finished just off the podium in both slopestyle and halfpipe at the Nippon Open, taking fourth in slopestyle and fifth in halfpipe. The results were Segal’s two best finishes this season in international competition.On the men’s side, 15-year-old local Walter Wood proved his 10th place showing at this season’s U.S. Freeskiing Open at Copper Mountain was no fluke. Wood became a crowd favorite in Japan for his amplitude, finishing in eighth place in halfpipe at the Inawashiro World Cup against a field full of Winter X Games stars, including Quebec’s Charles Gagnier and New Zealand’s Jossi Wells.Taylor Seaton and Jack Sullan also competed in both the World Cup in Inawashiro and the Nippon Open, but failed to qualify for the finals.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.