Joseph Gallegos, Oliver Mosby (Barranca Mesa Elementary School), Cullen McLean (Mountain Elementary School), Malik Boukhalfa, and Vincent Brady (left to right) with coaches Josh Willette and Scott Wiseman inspecting the slalom course on Lower Stauffenberg. Photo by Michelle Mosby
BY PAULA KNEPPER
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Southern Series of the Rocky Mountain division held its season championship on March 26-27, 2022 at Taos Ski Valley (TSV). Twenty-five TWST athletes, four of which call Los Alamos home, competed against nearly 200 youth athletes from Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. This was their final exam for the ski season—TWST athletes aced it. Their dedication and hard work paid off.
Athletes competed on an aggressive giant slalom (GS) course during the first day of competition followed by two slalom courses on Sunday. Competitors were greeted with firm snow set up by cold overnight conditions. As the intense NM sun took its place in the sky, slushy spring snow slowed down the athletes just enough to allow them to hear the ringing of cow bells and supportive cheers from parents, teammates, and spectators.
Ian McLean turning aggressively between gates to find his fastest line. Photo bycourtesy of Michelle Mosby.
Oliver Mosby keeping a tight line on the slalom race course. Photo courtesy of Michelle Mosby.
Cullen McLean working the slushy snow during the slalom race. Photo Michelle Mosby.
Elinor Turner under 8 (U8) earned a 3rd place finish in the GS. In the U12 field, Phoebe Snow Desatoff was followed by teammate Whitney Schilling. Livia Turner earned a 3rd place finish followed by Grace Jindra against the unscored U14 women.
Axel Vaskas, James Jindra and Mac Braun competed against the U10 men. Cullen McLean, Vincent Brady, and Malik Boukhalfa earned top ten finishes for the U12 men followed by teammates Joseph Gallegos and Oliver Mosby. Silas Conn competed in the unscored U14 men and took the top spot on the podium.
TWST U16 women earned top ten finishes in both the GS and slalom. Solano Pearl earned 2nd place followed by Rowan Heflin in 3rd place and Greta Klinkmann in 4th place for the GS. During the slalom, Rowan Heflin earned 2nd place followed by Josephine Leeson in 3rd place, and Greta Klinkmann in 5th place.
Ian Olson competed against the U18 men and took the top spot on the podium during the GS. Isaac Olson, Ian McLean (Los Alamos Middle School), and Aksel Boukhalfa finished in the top ten of the scored men during the GS event and were followed by Sasho McDowell (Los Alamos Middle School) and Max Oliver. Isaac Olson earned the top spot on the podium for the U16 men slalom event followed by Aksel Boukhalfa in 2nd place. Ian McLean, Konik Pearl and Max Oliver earned top ten finishes for the slalom competing against an aggressive U14 field of athletes. Isaac Olson was recognized by the Southern Series, earning a jacket to memorialize his achievement as the overall U16 series champion.
Sasho McDowell on the slalom race course. Photo by Michelle Mosby.
Competitors and their families appreciated TSV’s warm welcome. Working side by side, volunteers, TWST, and TSV delivered a memorable Southern Series Championship to youth ski racers. Competitors and spectators packed the plaza on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons to honor athletes during the awards ceremony.
TWST is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that was 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.
For more information about TWST see http://www.taoswintersportsteam.com/