TWST athletes competed in the Spellbound bowl at Crested Butte Mountain on Saturday. These athletes know how to go big as is evidenced by the features that TWST athletes are perched upon. Photo by Chris McLean.
TSWT athletes consult a trail map on their way to the competition venue. Photo by Kevin Rebholtz.
BY PAULA KNEPPER
Taos Winter Sports Team
Twenty-four TWST athletes in the 10-11, 12-14 and 15-18 age categories competed at the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) Regional competition held at Crested Butte, CO from February 17-19, 2023.
Day 1 kicked off with competitors under the age of 12. Cullen McLean, Cale Baryza, and Larka Schultz represented Taos. These three TWST athletes went out strong in the Hawks Nest bowl with over 50 athletes between the ages of 10-12 years old.
(From left) TWST athletes Larka Schultz, Cullen McLean (6th grader Mountain Elementary School), and Cale Baryza before they start the competition in the 10 to 12 years of age category early on Friday 17, 2023 at the base area of Crested Butte Mountain, CO. Photo by Andrea Krejci.
The following two days were dedicated to athletes between 12-18 years of age. Nearly 300 athletes from across the rocky mountain region descended upon Crested Butte to go big on the event venues of Hawks Nest and Spellbound bowls over the three days of competition.
Athletes and coaches pose for a quick photo op early Saturday morning. (From left) Ian McLean, Liam Kastrin, Jack Dolan, Corrina Harrower, Andrea Krejci (head coach), Jimmy Loder (coach), Dusty Elsasser, Lukas Backer, Grey Elsasser, Stolle Wannamaker, Isabel Dolan, Kiana Swim, Ava Wannamaker, Neve Rebholtz, and Lili Hart. Courtesy photo
During a freeride skiing competition, athletes are scored on line choice, control, fluidity, technique, and style and energy by three judges. Unlike alpine ski racing, judging is not measured by a clock, judges are subjectively scoring competitors based on one run through a defined venue on steep terrain, with significant exposure, and variable snow and environmental conditions. Athletes must maintain control throughout the run and demonstrate technique, continuity, energy, pace, and maneuvers including jumps and drops.
Andrea Krejci said, “It was great to be back in Crested Butte after many years. This is terrain that compares much to our own in Taos. Both venues included wide open terrain, combined with some very technical and steep sections, which benefitted most of our athletes.”
Ava Wannamaker earned the 3rd place finish for girls 12-14 years of age on day 2, followed by Kiana Sim in 6th and Neve Rebholtz in 7th place. Corrina Harrower earned the 4th place finish on day 2 for girls 15-18 years of age. Day 3 of competition, Stolle Wannamaker earned a 2nd place finish for girls 12-14 years of age.
Ian McLean (8th grader Los Alamos Middle School) finished in 5th place for the boys 12-14 category, followed by Dusty Elsasser in 6th place. Ian and Dusty were followed by teammates Liam Kastrin and Grey Elsasser on day 2 of the competition. Jack Dolan earned the 4th place finish on day 2 for the boys 15-18 category. On day 3, Ari Kolman earned a 9th place finish followed by Milo Maher, Jonah Pratt, and Jack Dolan for the boys 15-18 age category.
Ava Wannamaker on the podium earning the 3rd place finish for girls 12-14 age category. Courtesy photo
Ian McLean recognized for his 5th place finish on Saturday at the Crested Butte IFSA Jr. Regional. Courtesy photo
Stolle Wannamaker earing the second step on the podium after going big on the Sunday competition. Photo by Andrea Krejci.
After the event Krejci said, “We were excited to see some of our older athletes compete for the first time this season. Ari Kolman, 16, threw down a “big boys” line and showed everyone he is ready for the big scene. And what a beautiful sight it was to see a TWST athlete represent in the top 5 in every category on Saturday and Ava Wannamaker in 3rd, and then finish the weekend off with Stolle Wannamaker in second place.”
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/