Steamboat Winter Sports Club freestyle skiers set for big season
November 7, 2010
Steamboat Springs — It wasn't necessarily what Brittany Loweree expected, but it could prime the 20-year-old Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle skier for even bigger things this winter.
Loweree, along with a good portion of her freestyle teammates, spent most of her summer training across the globe, chasing snow and even making Australian Nationals at Mount Perisher their own.
Loweree won the second day of Australian Nationals, setting the tone for her team. In addition to Loweree, Reed Snyderman picked up a fifth and two second-place finishes, Luke Farny grabbed a seventh and a fifth, Dalton Lee had an eighth and ninth, Alexa Stein had a seventh, Lane Stoltzner had a ninth, and Rebecca Miller and Michael DeGrandis each had a 10th.
"I wasn't expecting anything at all," said Loweree, who is on the U.S. Developmental team and will ski NorAms this season. "We usually don't compete in the middle of August. To do well at that competition was a great feeling. I was able to test myself and show myself that my training all summer has me on the right path."
The Australian stop was just one of three this summer for a good portion of the Winter Sports Club's freestyle program.
Skiers also went to Whistler, British Columbia, and Zermatt, Switzerland — making this summer one of the busiest and most productive offseasons for the team.
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"Seeing the summer training, you could tell they all got better," Steamboat coach Rob Day said. "It was two months, and it looked like they had been skiing for another year."
Steamboat is known for its acumen at producing world-class Nordic combined skiers, but judging from the past several years, the Winter Sports Club's freestyle skiing program is beginning to make a name of its own.
Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney spent her summer training here, and Olympian Pat Deneen trained here before the Olympics. Eliza Outtrim won her first World Cup in the last event of last season.
But even more recently, it looks like the Winter Sports Club could legitimately start placing more skiers on the U.S. Ski Team.
Loweree and Snyderman are on the developmental team, and Jeremy Cota burst onto the scene last year, making the U.S. B Team.
"For all these kids that did the summer training, their goals should be to qualify for NorAms," Day said. "Every kid that comes to Selections' goal is to get on the U.S. team. If you win, you get a spot on the C Team and a World Cup start."
In addition to the extensive summer training, the Winter Sports Club will have a big advantage when Selections begin.
The Selections event serves as the first and biggest competition of the year. This year, from Dec. 16 to 22, Selections will be held on Mayer's Mogul Run on Voo Doo at Steamboat Ski Area.
There, some of the top young skiers in the country will try to position themselves to qualify to ski the NorAm circuit. The top skiers in the two single moguls events are placed on the U.S. C Team and get a coveted World Cup start.
Selections are hotly contested, with essentially 60 of the best young skiers battling for maybe 12 spots on the NorAm tour.
But judging from the Winter Sports Club's summer and having Selections right in their backyard, it's hard not to like the local athletes' chances.
"I want to make the team," said Snyderman, who took time off this fall to go to school at Colorado College. "I want to win Selections. I think I'm coming off my strongest summer of training. I feel strong and good coming into the season.”