Steamboat Springs No matter where people looked in the freestyle skiing world this season, a safe assumption was that they would find someone with Steamboat Springs ties near the top.
For that reason, and for assembling a top-notch moguls course and hosting multiple events, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle program was named the United States Ski and Snowboard Association Freestyle Program of the Year.
It was the first time the freestyle program has won the award since the USSA started giving the award in 1999. Steamboat was chosen from hundreds of freestyle programs nationwide.
The freestyle program, which encompasses moguls, aerials and slopestyle and halfpipe skiing, had a sterling year of performances.
“The dedication of all of our coaches is absolutely amazing,” Winter Sports Club Freestyle Director Erik Skinner said. “It’s not only the work that goes into events but the work that goes into the athletes here at home and on the road.”
The freestyle program is made up of 16 coaches who guide an array of athletes. Skinner said the program has ramped up its training the past couple of seasons, making Steamboat a place where skiers can train year-round.
This year, the program had Penn Lukens win the NorAm Grand Prix in skiing halfpipe. Lukens also competed in his first FIS World Cup in France.
Moguls skiers Ryan Dyer and Brittany Loweree also were named to the U.S. Freestyle C Team on Dec. 21 after their performances at the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team selections event in Steamboat.
In the NorAm moguls Grand Prix, Loweree finished third, Lane Stoltzner was seventh and Rebecca Miller was 18th. On the men’s side, Michael DeGrandis was fifth, Reed Snyderman tied for eighth, and Ryan Dyer was 20th.
Dyer, DeGrandis, Woo-Hyun Cho and Isabella Cedercreutz also made the Junior Worlds.
On the World Cup, several athletes with ties to the Winter Sports Club also had big seasons. Patrick Deneen, Jeremy Cota and Eliza Outtrim had podium finishes this season.
“I think it’s just a byproduct of what we try to do by putting the athletes first,” Skinner said. “It’s giving them the best training and competition venues we can. I think it’s a great honor. All of our coaches should be proud and go out next year and try to do better.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com