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Crested Butte skiers stack podiums at Snowbird

Prepare to defend home hill February 4-5

A crew of junior freeride athletes had their first IFSA big mountain competition of this snowy season at Snowbird, Utah this past weekend and they put in some serious work.

Local shredder Brooks Hudson made the trip as well as five Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team athletes, including Avery Bernholtz, Ella Haverkampf, Carson Hildebrandt, Holden Bradford and Nate Ball.

The young athletes had their work cut out for them against some of the best competition in the country on the famed venues of Silver Fox and North Baldy at Snowbird. When all was said and done, five of the six athletes ended up in the top five and Brooks Hudson and Avery Bernholtz both took first place in their respective 12-14 male and female ski divisions.

The action kicked off on the time-tested Silver Fox venue on Saturday. Snowbird had received a lot of the same recent snow that we have experienced in Crested Butte, so the venue was exceptionally filled in for this time of year. Ella Haverkampf was the first Crested Butte athlete down the venue and she put down a solid run that put her in fifth place out of 19 athletes. Avery Bernholtz followed shortly after and impressed the judges with a high-speed straight line to cap off her run and finish the day in first place with a nice two-point cushion going into finals.

On the boys’ side of things, Brooks Hudson confidently laced turns down Silver Fox popping off as many features as he could to put down the stand-out run of the day that put him in first of 47 athletes and gave him a two-point lead as well going into the finals.

Carson Hildebrandt had a great run going and went for a big air at the bottom of the venue reminiscent of Oz Scott a couple of years ago. Carson didn’t have a clean landing when he almost hit a bush and finished in 11th. Holden Bradford put down a strong run to make the cut in 15th place. Nate Ball hit some challenging features and made great turns down the venue but unfortunately had a costly bobble as he was moving through trees and did not make the cut for finals.

North Baldy, a venue that hadn’t been used for juniors since 2011, played host for the finals on Monday after the older athletes had their day one on Sunday. Ella knew she had a little work to do if she wanted to move up to the podium and grab valuable points for her overall ranking. She made hard-charging turns down North Baldy where some other athletes showed hesitation and moved up two spots to slide into third place. Avery knew that with her two-point cushion she had to stay on her feet but stay aggressive to fend off the other competitors. She found another high-speed straight line through the majority of the lower section of the venue known as “The Amphitheater” and took it all the way to finish to hold on to first place.

Sitting in the middle of the pack, four points off the leader, Holden was in a great position to go for it. He topped off his technical run with a super-fast straight line double through the Amphitheater that was the second-best run of the day only to his teammate, Carson. Carson flashed a similar line to Holden’s but sent a huge air on the looker’s right of the venue. Both boys made major moves with their strong runs and Carson moved all the way up to second place and Holden to fourth.

Using his lead-in from day one, Brooks stuck to the game plan and showcased his dynamic style with the third best run in the finals and a strong air in the Amphitheater to seal the deal and take home the cumulative-point victory against some of the stiffest competition in the West.

It looks like an exciting season is shaping up for these young Crested Butte athletes. Next up for some of the older CBMST shredders is a regional in Telluride on January 21, followed by an all-hands-on-deck effort to defend our home turf at CBMR for the regional over the February 4-5 weekend. See you out there!

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