Moguls team caps divisional season with wins
Steamboat Springs — It wasn’t so much a step for Landon Wendler as it was an attitude, an aggressive one, said Lars Johnson.
Johnson, a Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club moguls coach, said Wendler was “pushing his limits,” and that helped push the 16-year old bumps skier to the top of the podium Sunday at a dual moguls competition in Winter Park.
The event was the finale of the Rocky Mountain Division freestyle skiing season, and Wendler helped the Winter Sports Club skiers go out with a bang.
He won dual moguls on Sunday after placing third in an individual moguls event Saturday.
“He had one of the best days of his career,” Johnson said. “It was how he was skiing and who he beat. There were two kids who are 18 — he’s 16 — who have had his number all year, but that day, when it all mattered at our divisional meet, he was able to step up and perform his best.”
Wendler was one of two local skiers to earn a win at the event. Kenzie Radway won the girls moguls event, then was third a day later in duals.
Another standout in Johnson’s eyes was Ben Hoefer, who was 15th on Saturday but fourth on Sunday.
“That was his best finish of the year,” Johnson said. “It came against a pretty stacked crew of boys. He rose to the top and skied some of his best runs, jumped the best I’ve ever seen him, and he was the fastest he’s ever been.”
Elsewhere, Riley Hodges was eighth one day and 32nd the next for the girls while Kaia Schmid was 17th and eighth.
Tyler Strnad was 10th and Tallak Myhre 25th on Saturday.
The event in Winter Park marked the end of the “regular season” for the team, and it included an awards banquet. There, Steamboat’s team was recognized for being the overall best team at two of the season’s events — the one the squad hosted on its home snow in January and an event in Telluride.
Next up for some of the team’s skiers is a trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, for the Junior National Championships. The squad leaves Monday and will compete next week.
That trip will include Trudy Mickel and Maggie Ryan, who’ve worked with club coach Kate Blamey’s team this year and competed on the Nor-Am Cup circuit, as well as Hoefer, Wendler, Strnad, Schmid, Hodges and Radway from Johnson’s crew.
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