Kelly, Kulchin win Kinder Kup Series opener |

Kelly, Kulchin win Kinder Kup Series opener

Nearly 50 athletes ages 6 and under came out to race in Heavenly Mountain Resort’s 10th annual Kinder Kup Race Series last Sunday. Participant abilities ranged from wedge turns to race turns, with some kids wearing speed suits. Other athletes skied between their parents’ legs or were helped down the course by a “leash.” In the latter scenario, straps were attached to the child so the parent could control his or her speed.

Participants didn’t need any prior racing experience, as each one received a medal, regardless of their racing performance.

But don’t let that fool you. There were also plenty of athletes who took the Kinder Kup races very seriously. Some want to be crowned the Kinder Kup champion and bragging rights at the end of the three-race series, while others simply are after the “trophies.”

The cool morning gave way to some beautiful sky and hill conditions for the race, which was held on World Cup run at Heavenly’s California Base area. Racers took several practice runs prior to their two timed race runs, with the girls racing first.

Six-year-old Kate Kelly stole the show by posting the fastest first run of the day (for both girls and boys) and the fastest second run for the girls, securing first place by nearly 5 seconds. Kelly’s combined time was 53.54 seconds, with Kelly Critz, also 6, taking second (58.15) and 6-year-old Zoe Huml claiming third (58.22). Whitney Wingard wasn’t too far behind (59.65) to place fourth, and Karli Anderson took fifth to round out the top five.

The rest of the field included Anastasia Lubarsky placing sixth, Jade Chapman seventh, Emma Habaradas eighth, Olivia Craig ninth, Sofia DeLange 10th, Riley McHenry 11th, Gigi Blevins 12th, Allana Jones 13th, Alena Voss 14th, Abbi Girdner 15th, Cassie Blevins 16th, Krysta Budnik 17th and Kaya Roberts 18th. Other female competitors included Wynter Probert, Marley Befu, Macy Cannon, Emma Terrell and Virginia Borja.

Ethan Kulchin won both runs for the boys and posted the fastest second run of day, taking the win with a combined time of 52.87 seconds, which put him nearly two seconds ahead of the field. Ryan Herhusky (54.75) placed second and Zack Staudenmayer landed on the third podium step (1:00.63). Aidan Rippet just missed the podium by a little over a tenth of a second (1:00.76) to place fourth.

In addition, Jack Laurie was fifth, Aidan Pretti sixth, Dominik Belkin seventh, Jack White eighth, Owen Parks ninth, Jack Forvilly 10th, Jack Morrison 11th, Tadi Wright 12th, Ethan Bindel 13th, Sonny Kesler 14th, Jack Turk 15th, Gabriel Turner 16th, Lukash Voss 17th, Joel Gomez 18th, John-Samuel Fowles 19th, Max Woelfel 20th and Dominik Chipp 21st. Other male competitors included Luke Laub and Hayden Cannon.

The second race of the Kinder Kup series is set for Feb. 21. For more information, contact the Heavenly Ski Foundation at (530) 541-7354.

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