Steamboat’s Annika Belshaw, Decker Dean top podiums in ski jumping
Who says you can't ski jump in summer?
August 2, 2017
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club ski jumping coach Karl Denney and ski jumper Decker Dean were on their way to a month-long training camp in Slovenia on Wednesday after Dean turned in some impressive results last week at the Springer Tournee and U.S. Senior Championships in Park City, Utah.
Dean won the men's U20 age class in the Springer Tournee for junior skiers and then stepped up to the U.S. Large Hill Championships on the 134-meter jump at U.S. Olympic Park and placed 18th in the men's open class. The expanded field included jumpers from Canada, making Dean's placement more significant.
World Cup veteran Will Rhodes of Park City won the championship for the third year in a row.
"Top 20 was really sweet for him," Denney said. "He's not afraid to jump to the bottom of the hill, and he's starting to develop that drive," that will help him take on stiffer competition.
Dean, who switched to special jumping from Nordic combined earlier this summer, was chosen, along with Steamboat Nordic combiners Brendan Andrews and Elijah Vargas, to take part in the Junior National Team training camp at Planica, Slovenia, sponsored in part by the U.S. Ski Team, Denney said.
Another standout for the Winter Sports Club team at Park City was 15-year-old Annika Belshaw who placed first in the U16 girls competition.
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Denney said Belshaw has been working hard all summer on improving her style points, which often separate podium skiers from also-rans as ski jumpers work up the competitive ladder.
"Sometimes, jumpers are within a meter of each other (on the landing hill), " Denney said, "and it comes down to style points. On that 100-meter jump, she was really close to a couple of other girls, but she pulled it out on style points. And she's definitely competitive with some of the older girls."
Other Winter Sports Club members who placed at the competition included: Niklas Malacinski, sixth, U16 boys; Vargas, second, U20 men; and Brendan Andrews, 28th, men's open class.
There will be little rest for the jumpers under Denney's tutelage this fall.
After taking their time brushing up on the fundamentals of technique beginning in May and continuing into the summer, "we just accelerate through the fall here," he said.