TWST athletes and coaches discussing the course and conditions before inspection are, from left, Max Oliver, Cullen McLean, Julian LaCome (coach), Axel Vaskas, Vincent Brady, Joseph Gallegos, Phoebe Snow Desatoff, Whitney Schilling, Oliver Mosby, Livia Turner, and Josh Willette (coach). Courtesy photo
Cullen McLean finds a fast line close to the gate. Courtesy photo
Oliver Mosby carves up the slalom race course. Courtesy photo
TWST athletes, Joseph Gallegos, Vincent Brady, and Cullen McLean earn three of the top 10 finishes for U12 men. Courtesy photo
BY PAULA KNEPPER
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Southern Series of the Rocky Mountain division held its second event of the season on February 5-6, 2022 at Snowbowl Mountain, which is located northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Eight TWST athletes, two of which are Los Alamos elementary school students, competed against over 100 youth athletes from Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico in a nail-biting slalom competition. Oliver Mosby and Cullen McLean 5th graders at Barranca Mesa Elementary School and Mountain Elementary School, respectively, competed for the TWST team carving up the slalom race course.
Slalom is an alpine skiing event that athletes carve up a course of closely spaced red and blue gates to the finish line. A winding course of springy plastic gates are set on a pitch to test athletes’ judgement, skill, and speed.
Coach Josh Willette said, “The surface was fast and hard, and the courses were challenging. The hard snow held up well. The course had lots of rhythm and lane changes that kept athletes on their toes.”
TWST athletes had a successful weekend of racing. Livia Turner earned the top spot on the podium for under 14 (U14) unscored women. In the U12 field, Phoebe Snow Desatoff earned 5th place followed by Whitney Schilling. Axel Vaskas was on top of the U10 podium. Joseph Gallegos earned a 5th place followed by Vincent Brady, Cullen McLean, and Oliver Mosby in the U12 field. Max Oliver earned the 3rd place finish in the scored U14 field.
The field parity was inspirational with nearly balanced numbers of women and men youth competitors. Ski racing is an inclusive sport open to all athletes ready to sharpen their skills.
TWST is a non-profit 501(c)(3) established in 1976 dedicated to providing opportunities for athletes to become great skiers and pursue personal goals. TWST promotes the development of good sportsmanship, healthy competitiveness, sound technical skills, and a reverence for the ethos of the mountains. TWST is proud to call Taos Ski Valley their home mountain.