Heavenly Foundation freestyle team competes in Park City
PARK CITY, Utah — The Heavenly Foundation freestyle ski team took its first major road trip of the season last weekend — and delivered strong performances. Four Heavenly skiers competed in the Team Park City United Classic at Utah Olympic Park, highlighted by Zach Shearer picking up necessary points to qualify for Junior Nationals.
“We went there for the points and we were able to get them,” HSSF freestyle coach Erik Skinner said. “It’s important for them to do some traveling events at the younger ages in order to learn how to operate on the road — that was all very successful.”
Last weekend’s event featured tough competition and the pressure of a big stage. HSSF’s athletes traveled nine hours each way to make nine runs, leaving last Thursday to arrive in time for training the following day — singles competition took place on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a big stage, and I’m hoping that can carry us through the February events,” Skinner said. “Hopefully they can take what they’ve learned and refine their runs.”
Shearer finished in the top seven on both days to earn the points he needed — his point chasing was the main reason for the trip. On Saturday, Shearer took fifth overall and second in the U-17 boys age group with a run of 80.93; on Sunday, he placed seventh overall and third in U-17.
“It’s very evident that Zach is mature enough for his age and that he can put that aside, focus on what he needs to do and get it done in those 24 seconds,” Skinner said. “If you can focus on the enjoyment of the sport and the enjoyment of the struggle of doing better, the pressure will go to the side.”
Having already secured the points she needed during the Far West Freestyle event two weekends ago at Heavenly, Gabbi Fisher won the U-15 girls age group on both days. She took seventh overall Saturday and third overall Sunday — her top score was a 71.79 on the first day.
“There were high-level competitors there and she did great — there was no pressure on her, she just had to go out and be Gabbi,” Skinner said. “She elevated herself to a new level this weekend.”
Range Chapman delivered a strong performance Saturday — he took 23rd overall and third in the U-15 boys age group. Chapman’s run on Saturday included landing backflips in competition for the first time, leading to a score of 56.48.
“He got his first backflips around on snow, which is a huge success — that’s a big step for his growth,” Skinner said. “Range did great when he was focusing on being happy, having fun and doing the sport he loves — he had great results the first day.”
Mia Idzorek took 11th overall on both days, a successful result given that she was skiing with walking pneumonia during the weekend. Idzorek took a single training run before her event runs — in the U-15 girls age group, she placed third on Saturday with a score of 66.98 and fourth on Sunday.
“For her to even get down the event course was incredible — I’m hoping that she just gets better,” Skinner said.
The Heavenly freestyle team returns to action Sunday in a Far West Freestyle event at Squaw Valley. The two-day event marks the last chance for skiers to earn points for Junior Nationals — two-run singles will be held Sunday with one-run singles and duals on Monday.
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