Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Sophia Schwartz has seen her season come to an end in three consecutive years because of injuries.
The first happened five years ago when she blew out her left knee. A year later, she reinjured the same knee, and the following year, she blew out her right knee.
But each year, the Sun Valley, Idaho, native came back.
On Saturday, perseverance finally paid off for the 22-year-old moguls skier.
A day after finishing just off the podium in fourth, Schwartz won the dual moguls title Saturday at the U.S. Freestyle Championships in Heavenly, Calif.
The finish should put Schwartz on the U.S. Ski Team and give her an opportunity to compete on the World Cup circuit next season.
“I felt like the talent was still there,” Schwartz said. “I kept asking myself when I got out of bed if skiing was still what I wanted to do. Did I still want to be out on the hill? As long as the answer is 'yes,' I’d be out there.”
Following her most recent knee injury, Schwartz took a year off and coached at the Winter Sports Club. She returned to compete last year and was on a tear on the NorAm tour this season before finishing second.
Saturday’s U.S. title was Schwartz’s first and highlighted strong performances from Steamboat skiers.
In single moguls, Steamboat’s Eliza Outtrim was third. Schwartz was just off the podium in fourth. Lane Stoltzner was sixth, Avital Shimko was 10th and Jaelin Kauf was 36th. For the men, Brad Hoefer was 18th, Evan Smith was 22nd and Ryan Dyer was 36th.
In the dual moguls, Stoltzner was fifth, Kauf was 42nd and Shimko was 43rd. On the men’s side, Dyer was 16th, Smith was 28th, George DeGrandis was 37th, Skyler Kauf was 42nd and Hoefer was 48th.
“It was pure elation,” Schwartz said. “It was just a really good feeling being able to ski four good runs in a day.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com