Locals set sights on NORAM championships
by Will Dujardin, CBMST head freeride coach, westelkproject.com
After a strong start to the season at places like Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley, the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team (CBMST) Freeride team has kept the podium in its sights with more top-10 results at A-Basin and Monarch regionals over the March 3-4 weekend and again at the Breckenridge National event this past weekend that replaced our snow-depleted venue at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
The CBMST sent a 23-strong contingent of athletes ranging in age from 8-16 to the first two-day junior freeride event at Monarch after an inaugural one-day event last year. With a day one venue of High Anxiety, athletes had to navigate moguls into a rocky area with some smaller rock options. The day two venue of Mirkwood offered a little steeper natural terrain to play with and the competition went well for most CBMST athletes.
Asha Federico took fourth out of 12 athletes among u12 girls skiers and CBMST had five in the top eight out of 18 total skiers for u12 boys with Liam Hadley in eighth, Sam Anderson in sixth, Fraser Birnie in fifth, Beckett Dickson in third and Eli Nolan in second.
In the 12-14 girls’ categories, Phaedra Vierling and Grace Haverkampf were able to take third and fourth, respectively, with Mia Haverkampf not far back in eighth out of 12 skiers. The 30-strong 12-14 ski boys found five CBMST athletes in the top 10 led by Rowan Featherman in first, Nate Ball in second, Cooper Wight in fifth, Owen Duffy in eighth, Nikolas Beukelman in 10th and even Kai Greene not far back in 13th. Carson Hildebrandt took the victory in the 15-18 ski men division with two strong runs despite a lighter field of 12.
That same Sunday the CBMST had seven athletes competing at a regional at A-Basin. They had to default to their 3rd choice of venue, North Chute, but athletes were still able to put on a show. Ella Haverkampf found the podium in 2nd in the 12-14 ski girls out of 13 while her teammate Avery Bernholtz took the victory in the 15-18 ski women out of 10.
The field of 29 15-18 ski men found 4 CBMST athletes in the top 7 led by Jon Clay Patterson in 2nd, Marko Alling in 5th, Turner Petersen in 6th and Holden Bradford in 7th. In 12-14 ski boys, the Hudson brothers, independents out of Crested Butte, continued their strong skiing with Brooks taking his second regional win after Aspen and younger Tor taking 9th, while CBMST’s Jacob Bernholtz was able to get a solid 15th in the field of 30.
Just last weekend the Crested Butte National had to be moved to Breckenridge due to the low snow in our venues. Despite its reputation for flatness and lift lines, Breckenridge delivered with an awesome venue enhanced by a just-below-average snow year in the Six Senses off of the recently opened Peak 6 hike-to terrain.
The venue expanded from lookers right to left during the two-run competition. The 15-18 ski women division even had to throw down two runs on the finals day when their runs were cut out by low visibility at the end of Saturday. That didn’t stop Avery Bernholtz from taking second place in that division after two blazing runs in completely different sections of the venue. Dagan Schwartz was able to move up from fourth to second in a field of 12 15-18 snowboarder men with a finals run in an area liked by many CBMST competitors in a venue that resembled a larger version Headwall.
The male skiers found success on the steeper part of the expanded finals venue as well as Gus Bullock and Jacob Bernholtz were able to get fourth and seventh, respectively, while local independent shred brothers Brooks and Tor Hudson took first and sixth, respectively, with Brooks posting the top score of the competition, out of a 48-deep field.
The 15-18 ski men division had three CBMST athletes in the top five, led by Carson Hildebrandt in second with the strongest run in the finals, Turner Petersen in third, who capped his day one run with a stellar three and Marko Alling in fourth with two days of impressive skiing. Owen Berv had two runs displaying fast, consistent skiing for 16th while Holden Bradford was a little farther back in 22nd in the field of 54.
Athletes are looking to punch their ticket to NORAM Champs in April with strong results at remaining events at the Snowbird National this week and a Vail regional next weekend to finish the season. Looking at overall North American standings, Carson Hildebrandt, Jon Clay Patterson, Turner Petersen and Marko Alling are all in the top 25 for 15-18 ski men while Avery Bernholtz and Dagan Schwartz are in 7th and 8th in their respective 15-18 ski women and 15-18 snowboard men divisions. Brooks Hudson is looking to build on his current 4th place ranking in 12-14 ski boys. With a few more strong results some other teammates can get closer to qualifying for champs so wish them luck in these weekends.