Squaw Valley team to represent at freestyle nationals
The home team, Squaw Valley Freestyle, will be well represented with 14 skiers ranging in age from 14 ” the youngest allowed to compete ” to 31.
“We qualified 14 kids, which we’re super stoked on,” said Nat Schirman, director of the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team, adding that two other Squaw skiers qualified who were too young. “Last year, we took six kids, so we’re excited to have this big of a contingent at home.”
The U.S. Freestyle Championships will include three events ” moguls, dual moguls and halfpipe ” and will feature the best U.S. Ski Team athletes in addition to the top-qualifying non-U.S. Ski Team members.
“Everybody is competing against everybody,” Schirman said. “It’s the one comp of the year where our regional athletes are able to compete against the guys who are at the World Championships.”
A few of the big-name moguls skiers include Jeremy Bloom, Sho Kashima of South Lake Tahoe and David Babic on the men’s side, and Hannah Kearney, Shelly Robertson and Tahoe City’s Shannon Bahrke in the women’s field.
Schirman said the top 37 non-U.S. Ski Team members in the country qualified to compete in moguls.
The Squaw Valley Freestyle Team will be represented by the No. 1-qualifier in men’s moguls, 19-tear-old Kyle Jordan, as well as the No. 3 qualifier, 16-year-old Nathan Park. Invitations were based on cumulative points totals from this past season, Schirman said.
Competition kicks off Friday with moguls, followed by halfpipe Saturday and dual moguls Sunday. Moguls will be held on Red Dog.
“It’s a perfect venue. There’s nothing else like it,” Schirman said. “We have the moguls course finish area about 100 feet in front of our locker room. It’s right here at the base area coming right underneath Red Dog, so everybody will really be able to see it.
“I just love the fact that people can walk right from the parking lot 100 feet and you’re at the bottom of the course. It’s a special thing. And Far East Express, you can’t touch it; it’s a two-minute chair.
“That’s part of the reason for me to bring this event here, is to show off our training facilities, and to show off Squaw Valley. It’s been 22 years, so there are generations of freestylers that don’t know about it out here, and it used to be the best team in the country. So we’re bringing that back.”