Twelve Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation freeski athletes competed April 6-11 at Copper Mountain, Co. during the USASA (United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association) national championships.
SVSEF athletes selected the events of their choosing—halfpipe, Rail Jam, skiercross and slopestyle. The Idaho traveling squad brought home with three gold medals including two in skier halfpipe events.
Ben Fethke of Boise won Breaker Boys halfpipe, and Walker Woodring captured Grommet Boys halfpipe and skiercross.
Barrett Beyer and Woodring showed their versatility by climbing the overall podiums—Beyer second and Woodring third in Grommet Boys.
SVSEF Freeski coach Tyler Conway said, “It was a very solid week for this crew—a good week across the board. There was great weather and everyone skied really well.
“I was really impressed with the older boys, who decided to step it up and compete in the Open Class. These guys probably would have podiumed within their age groups. Instead, they chose to challenge themselves and see how they fared against the big guns.
“We were really impressed with the good attitudes, focus and determination that our younger athletes brought to the competition.”
Halfpipe was a success story, led by Ridge Dirksmeier in Open Class ninth place.
Conway said, “The team as a whole did a great job in the pipe. Even without a halfpipe at home, the same training applies. It showed that training spins and flips on jumps translate well.”
SVSEF national placings by event and class follow. Event abbreviations are halfpipe (HP) skiercross (SX), slopestyle (SS) and Rail Jam (RJ).
Men’s Open Class: Ridge Dirksmeier 9-HP, 18-SS; Will Griffith 3-RJ, 20-SS; Harper Mallett 11-HP, 33-SS; Joey Markthaler 13-HP, 36-SS.
Junior Men (ages 16-17): Kyle Kope 22-SS; Johannes Liaboe 6-SX.
Breaker Girls (ages 12-13): Inez Kraynick 23-SS.
Breaker Boys: Ben Fethke 1-HP, 10-SS; Anton Holter 14-HP, 18-SS.
Grommet Boys (ages 8-9): Barrett Beyer 5-HP, 2-RJ, 2-SS, 4-SX; Walker Woodring 1-HP, 20-SS, 1-SX.