Freestylers wildly successful in weekend comps
Dyer wins men's Nor-Am championship, Cota second at World Cup
Steamboat Springs — Entering the 2015 NorAm freestyle moguls season, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Ryan Dyer had never achieved a podium finish on the circuit.
In the 2015 season, he never finished outside the top 10, and with four wins on the circuit in seven starts, Dyer was its grand prix champion, capping a huge win with a strong sprint to the finish in the last two weekends of competition.
Dyer was first and fourth in a pair of moguls events in Val St. Come, Quebec, late last month. Those results locked in his overall win, making it mathematically impossible for anyone to pass him. Then he was seventh Saturday at an event in Killington, Vermont, capping his championship run.
“That was a huge moment,” he said, considering his Val St. Come win that handed him the title. “It felt like a lot of hard work and a lot of gritting the teeth really paid off. I had some tough years in there, but, whew, to lock that up was huge.”
The win has major implications for the 23-year old Steamboat Springs skier, who is surging in an attempt to earn a second stint on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.
He’s earned the chance to compete at the World Cup finals later this month in France. He had to cancel a planned trip to a smaller regional competition in Telluride but wasn’t losing sleep over that change in his itinerary.
“It’s probably the biggest accomplishment of my career so far,” he said.
Stoltzner wins in Killington
Winter Sports Club skier Lane Stoltzner added her own strong finish to the NorAm season, winning the moguls events in Killington Saturday, then placing fifth in the duals event Sunday.
Stoltzner has had an up-and-down season that’s been a whole lot more up than down. She earned the first World Cup starts of her career thanks to an excellent showing at the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team selections event at Winter Park in December.
She made the finals in her second stint on that stage, too, racing in Lake Placid New York in January.
She also earned two podiums on the NorAm circuit — a third Feb. 22 at Val St. Come and a first last weekend in Vermont.
That all worked together to give her a second-place finish in the NorAm grand prix rankings.
“She has been very successful as a result of this sort of focus and ability to grind it out throughout the winter,” Steamboat freestyle skiing director Bobby Aldighieri said in an email. “She was never discouraged but kept her head down and won the Killington event in singles. This shows her emotional and physical resilience.”
Jaelin Kauf, too, enjoyed a big finish to the NorAm moguls season, placing sixth in singles and third in duals in Vermont, all coming off her first career NorAm victory the week before in Val St. Come.
It all set her up for fifth overall in the NorAm standings.
Cota crushes at World Cup
As if results on the continent weren’t enough, the Winter Sports Club freestyle program had another huge one Saturday from Jeremy Cota in Japan, where he earned his first World Cup podium in more than two years.
Cota was second at a single moguls event in Tazawako, just behind Canadian dominator Mikael Kingsbury. Cota was also sixth Sunday in the dual moguls.
“It’s been too long since I’ve been on the podium, so I knew I had to try something different,” Cota said in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “I tried to ski my runs without overthinking anything and keep it really simple. Clearly that worked for me. I was really happy with my skiing.”
U.S. leader Hannah Kearney won the singles event on the women’s side and was third in duals. Those results wrapped up her sixth overall World Cup moguls championships, with only the event in France to go.
Vail skier Morgan Schild won the duals event after spending much of the winter on the NorAm circuit. It was her first World Cup win.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After almost four years of providing service to the community as a standalone, full-service emergency department, Steamboat Emergency Center will end its operations April 30.