Heavenly bumpers join select company
Panther runner-up in U.S. Selection event
By Steve Yingling
Three Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation freestyle skiers produced a slew of top-50 results at the U.S. Selection Events last month in Winter Park, Colo.
Hannah Curtzwiler, 15, delivered the best results, placing 23rd (19.36) in the second single moguls events and 26th (17.60) in the opening singles competition. She also placed 41st in the dual moguls event.
The combined results can qualify competitors for the World Cup and Nor-Am circuits. Skiers from Canada and Japan also competed.
Former Heavenly team member Jay Panther, now living in Park City, made the podium on the opening day of singles. His score of 24.33 was worth second place, behind winner Patrick Deneen’s effort of 25.07.
“He was disappointed. He needed the same kind of result the second day,” said Heavenly coach Jere Crawford. “The overall winner gets World Cup starts and that’s what he really wanted.”
Jimmy Discoe, who finished behind Panther in the opening singles contest, was the only competitor who qualified for a nomination to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. The consistent Discoe of Ridgway, Colo., placed runner-up in the second singles event with his score of 24.89.
Heavenly’s Marshall Curtzwiler, 14, was 38th (15.76) and 48th (17.87) in singles, while Brandon Hartstein, 17, came in 43rd (14.97) and 62nd (13.49).
In duals, Hannah Curtzwiler finished 41st and Hartstein was 50th. Marshall Curtzwiler was unable to compete due to an injury.
“I thought they did really good for their ages. It was an international comp and they were some of the youngest kids competing,” Crawford said. “They were feeling like they belonged.”
The three-day event sets up successful competitors for the intense pressure they will experience at the next level.
“These competitions went well and there were a lot of athletes with great ski skills, but there is a lot of pressure at this event so it’s not just about ski skills or physical conditioning,” U.S. Freestyle Program Director Polly-Jo Clark told the USSA. “The pressure is tremendous and those who can manage it do well. Once one makes the team or earns a World Cup start, it doesn’t get easier.”
Nick Hanscom of Ketchum, Idaho, won the second men’s moguls contest after placing 12th in the first. Ani Haas of Park City earned first-place honors in the opening women’s event with her run of 24.66, while Kayla Snyderman of Winchester, Mass., topped the hill on day two with her score of 24.79.
Canadian Edward Lortie won the men’s duals, with Discoe collecting his third podium by finishing third.
Like Discoe, Audrey Robichaud of Canada made the podium on all three days. She finished the week by winning the women’s duals.
In the coming month, two World Cup events will take place in the United States: the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup Jan. 18-20 at Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Visa Freestyle International Feb. 1-2 at Deer Valley Resort, Utah.
Heavenly’s freestyle skiers will open the Far West season Jan. 12-13 at Squaw Valley. The Eric Nageotte-Lowe Memorial event is set for Jan. 26 at Heavenly.
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Strong wind has led to multiple power outages Tuesday morning and a pair of Lake Tahoe ski resorts will not open due to the strong gusts.