Tibbetts soars in aerial opener | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tibbetts soars in aerial opener

Several local skiers continued their tune-ups for the upcoming Freestyle Junior Nationals in a variety of weekend events in the Tahoe Basin.

The first local competitions of 1999 took place at a pair of area venues: a moguls event Saturday at Alpine Meadows and acro and aerial events Sunday at Heavenly Ski Resort. The races were the most recent stop for the Far West Freestyle Series, welcoming racers from all over the region.

Mogul expert Cristie Tibbetts had her way in Sunday’s first aerials competition, finishing first overall with a 103.18 mark. Heavenly’s Tyler Bradford notched the third-place spot with a 102.59 score, with Jason Scott not too far behind in fourth at 100.63. In Sunday’s second aerials run, Tibbetts finished second (first in J-1), with Scott third and Bradford seventh.

In acro skiing, Heavenly’s Brad Lipovsky placed first in both routines for the J-4 group, while Ian Norman also pulled down the top spots for acro in the J-5 bracket.

Saturday’s events saw Heavenly racers turning in their mid-air theatrics for speed, style and accuracy in the moguls competition. Travis Woodcock topped Heavenly reps with a fifth-place performance. Ryan Hickey stood right behind at sixth, finishing first in the J-2 age group. On the girls side, Tibbetts finished fifth overall, while Robin Ballachey scored a ninth-place mark.

Heavenly Ski Foundation coach Jere Crawford will accompany seven Heavenly skiers to the USSA Junior Nationals at Bogus Basin in Boise, Ida. Jan. 11-17. Mogulists Hickey, Ballachey and Tibbetts qualified for full spots in the competition; Scott (aerials), Lipovsky (acro), Bradford (aerials) and Derek Dimitri (moguls) will travel as alternates and will likely compete in Boise, Crawford said.

“Developing skiers like ours need to go to these types of competitions,” Crawford said. “They get to compete against the best juniors in the country and it gives them a good idea where they stand.”

Sierra’s Travis Cabral and Amber Ramos have also qualified for junior nationals.

Notes: Area skiers hit the slopes in force Sunday with a giant slalom event at Sugar Bowl.

Six Heavenly racers competed in the 11-and-up field, with four placing within the top five of certain age divisions.

Kendall Northrup finished with a combined 1:10.59 over two runs, putting her second overall in the girls 12 bracket. Heavenly’s Courtney Carmichael was just a half-second behind her teammate, finishing third with a 1:11.26 mark. Rachel Strull (1:20.34 overall) rounded out the Heavenly girls 12 troop with a 15th-place finish.

In the boys 12 group, Kyle Kracht (1:10.47) finished second, Joey Suder (1:12.17) third and Scott Lusby (120.66) 27th overall.

“I’ve seen a marked improvement as the kids do more races,” said Heavenly Ski Team Alpine coach John Mukavitz. “We’re real proud of them at the foundation.”

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