Steamboat Springs A summer of change paid off for Steamboat Springs ski jumper Logan Gerber last weekend in Park City, Utah.
Gerber swept the first two events at the World Junior Tryouts by beating out fellow U.S. Ski Team members Clint Jones and Tommy Schwall on both days.
"It's nice to see Logan doing well," Winter Sports Club coach Chris Gilbertson said. "We overhauled his technique this summer and I think it finally started to come together last weekend."
The timing couldn't have been any better for Gerber as he begins his bid for a spot on the World Junior team.
The tryouts will continue with events this weekend in Steamboat Springs at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
The final two events will be held in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the end of December.
At stake are invitations to the World Juniors, which will be held in Poland in January.
The top two junior (under 18) jumpers will earn a ticket to those covetted competitions no strings attached. National coaches can also ask two more jumpers to make the trip at their discretion.
But it's not mandatory.
"Logan wants to qualify straight out," Gilbertson said.
"He doesn't want it to come down to a coach making a choice."
Gerber is off to a strong start after winning both events on Saturday and Sunday. Gerber, a member of the U.S. Ski Team's development squad, scored 243 points Saturday with jumps of 93 meters and 92.5 meters.
He was followed by "C" team (one step up from the development squad) member Clint Jones who combined efforts of 92 meters and 91.5 meters for a final score of 235.
Another Steamboat skier, Tommy Schwall, placed third on his jumps of 93 meters and 88.5 meters, scoring 229 total points.
Gerber also won the second Utah event, which was held Sunday.
The Steamboat jumper soared 93 meters and 93.5 meters to score 244.5 points.
Jones was just one point back at 243.5 points after recording jumps of 92.5 meters and 94 meters.
Once again, Schwall came in third. On Sunday, he scored 233.5 points on efforts of 91 meters and 93 meters.
"It was a great weekend for the local guys," Gilbertson said.
"I think it will get even better this weekend when they all come back to Steamboat."
The good news for Gerber is that he has already earned a trip to Finland based on last weekend's jumping performance.
He will compete in Continental Cup events in Kuopid, Finland, and Lahti, Finland, next week, along with Jones, who was named to the team some time ago.
"Getting a shot at Continental Cups was my goal at the start of the season," Gerber said.
"So this is very exciting for me."
Gerber said he isn't putting any pressure on himself in the race for a World Junior spot, however. He said while he made a lot of changes in his jumping style in the off-season, that isn't the plan this weekend.
"I think the key for me jumping well will be to stay relaxed and just let it happen," Gerber said.
"I want to do the same thing I did last weekend."
He added that he likes being in the lead for the World Junior spot at this point of the season.
"It's a lot easier when you're in front of the pack," Gerber said. "I respond well to pressure in competition and this isn't any different."
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org