Heavenly Foundation freestyle team wraps up Far West season; Fisher tops U-15 age group
Gabbi Fisher skied at the top of her age group throughout the 2014-15 Far West Freestyle season — and has the hardware to prove it. Fisher was awarded the top U-15 skier of the year honor, finishing first in overall points in her age group during the regular season.
“Her demeanor and work ethic are great — she’s always wanted a little bit more from herself and that’s what has led her to use her athletic ability to get better so quickly,” HSSF freestyle coach Erik Skinner said. “She has a ton of athletic talent, and it’s nice to see somebody that is talented and also willing to put the work in.”
At last weekend’s awards ceremony, Fisher also won the Spirit of the Sky award along with a skier from Squaw Valley. A memorial award in the name of Eric Nageotte-Lowe, it represents character, motivation, attitude, sportsmanship, love and passion for the sport of freestyle skiing along with the determination to try to do one’s best.
“She tries really hard, and shows up every day and wants more from herself — she always gives 105 percent and nothing is ever good enough for her,” Skinner said. “It makes her strive to try harder every run, every turn and every day.”
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Heavenly skier Zach Shearer was also recognized for an outstanding season, winning Far West Freestyle’s Most Improved Male Athlete of the Year. Shearer enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2014-15 while taking his skiing to a new level.
“Everybody was vying for him for that spot because of where he ended up last year in his competitive season — he was a little bit fried last year,” Skinner said. “He really reinvigorated his skiing this year and truly found the love of skiing again, which made him try harder. He made leaps and bounds this year and I’m super proud of him for that.”
The Heavenly Foundation freestyle team wrapped up the regular season on its home mountain by hosting the Far West Freestyle divisional championships on Little Dipper last Saturday and Sunday. On a challenging course, HSSF skiers closed the Far West season with mixed results.
“The older athletes could have been better prepared — it was a weekend where they did their best, but they could have prepared themselves a little bit better,” Skinner said. “The younger kids did quite a bit better — for what they were capable of, I was very proud of them.”
Having already secured her spot in Junior Nationals, Fisher finished in the top 10 in all three events at Heavenly. She took fourth in singles on Saturday, ninth in singles on Sunday and fifth in Sunday’s duals.
On the boys side, Shearer was Heavenly’s top overall finisher in all three events. He took fifth in Saturday’s singles, fourth in Sunday’s singles and fifth in Sunday’s duals.
Mia Idzorek produced a pair of top-10 finishes at the divisional championships, including topping her age group and placing fifth overall in Sunday’s singles. Idzorek took seventh in singles on Saturday and finished in the top 16 in Sunday’s duals — results that earned her the points necessary to qualify for Junior Nationals.
Karli Anderson and Hannah Lucas also raced on the girls side for Heavenly at the divisional championships. Anderson took 14th in both singles events while Lucas placed 15th on Saturday and 18th on Sunday — both skiers ended in the top 16 in duals.
Range Chapman concluded his season with 13th- and 15th-place finishes in singles competition and a top-16 effort in duals. Aaron Budnik’s best finish of the weekend was 14th place in singles on Sunday, Andy Budnik’s highlight was a 15th-place finish in singles on Saturday and Emerson Hansa-Beavers came in at 16th in Saturday’s singles.
Two weeks earlier, HSSF delivered its best team performance in an event at Squaw Valley. Fisher highlighted a successful weekend by punching her ticket to Junior Nationals — she won both days of singles and took second in duals.
“It was a super easy course — it was a no-brainer,” Skinner said. “When you can sit back, have fun and not have to worry about every little thing, it’s a lot easier to accomplish your goals.”
Shearer stood on the podium in all three events at Squaw, placing second and third in singles before racing to a third-place finish in duals. Idzorek delivered top-10 finishes in each event — she took fifth and seventh in singles with a ninth-place finish in duals.
Anderson and Chapman also showed consistency at Squaw. Anderson finished 13th and 15th in singles and skied to a 15th-place finish in duals while Chapman took 14th in all three events.
With the regular season over, three Heavenly skiers are moving onto Junior Nationals. Fisher and Shearer also earned spots for Nationals, with Idzorek currently on the bubble.
“We’re super psyched and super pumped. We’ve been talking a lot about preparing ourselves, how the week is going to go and just painting that mental picture so they’re aren’t going to be any surprises,” Skinner said. “Hopefully they’ll have fun, enjoy the experience and trust their training — that’s when they do best.”
The Junior Nationals will be held in Park City, Utah next week from March 16-22. The competition features the top 60 singles and top 48 duals skiers in the nation — across all disciplines, nearly 300 athletes will compete at the event.
“All of the teams come together and you get to really see what the next young talent is that’s out there, and what the younger kids are doing,” Skinner said. “It’s one of the best tests to see where freestyle as a sport is going.”
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