Rocky Mountain dynasty: SSWSC U16 Alpine team earns half of National Championship podiums
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club U16 Alpine coach Ben Brown’s goal each year is to balance an intense, season-long workload with keeping his athletes primed to compete by winter’s end.
His strategy paid off this week at the U16 Alpine National Championships at Mission Ridge, Washington from Monday, April 3, to Thursday, April 6, where SSWSC athletes took home nine of the 18 possible podium places.
“To win four of the six events and to get half the podiums is definitely the strongest U16 nationals group that I have ever coached,” Brown said.
Brown understands how taxing a full season can be on his athletes’ bodies and minds. His focus throughout the season was to manage the skiers so they can “live up to the hype” by the end of the season and not tire out.
“Just by going back to the fundamentals, I think, they were able to find their best skiing, and they’re really professional on how they approach training and racing,” Brown said. “They want to get better every day, and whether that’s training or racing, they push each other.”
Despite the soft snow conditions on the first day, SSWSC girls swept the giant slalom podium with Logan Grosdidier taking gold on a combined time of 2 minutes, 17.47 seconds. Abby Olson and Katharina Cosby were not far behind in second and third, respectively.
For the boys, Adrian Beauregard won the Super G to open the week with his 1:00.73 time, while teammate Caspian Troan finished third.
Beauregard said doing so well in the first event was a major confidence boost heading into the remainder of the week. He would later finish fourth in slalom and take home second overall for the National Championships. Troan took third.
Grosdidier earned second overall for the girls, with Olson, who picked up a podium in all three races, taking third overall.
SSWSC skiers helped propel the Rocky/Central Division to the overall Regions Cup victory.
“It is a very big deal at the U16 level to win the Regions Cup because it’s an indicator of the development pipeline and the future stars of the sport,” Brown said. “Where are the strongest athletes being developed? It’s clear that it’s in Rocky/Central and has been for a number of years.”
Olson says she and her teammates get such an advantage by competing with and against the top competition each year. It motivates her to get better every day.
“You’re training with the best of your age, so it’s really helpful because it helps people improve and focus what they’re working on a little more,” Olson said. “I have Logan on my team, and she’s one of my biggest competitors, so training with her is helpful too.”
Th championships mark the end of the season for the majority of SSWSC U16 Alpine athletes. Brown said they will get a little over two weeks off and then begin spring camps and dryland training at the end of April.
Many of them will advance from U16 to the FIS level next season. Brown is confident they are prepared to compete against the world.
“I’m definitely nervous, but also pretty excited to square up with the older athletes and the big boys who have been racing for 4 years more than me,” Beauregard said. “It will be cool.”
U16 Alpine National Championships
Men’s Super G: 1. Adrian Beauregard, 1:00.73. 3. Caspian Troan, 1:01.63. 7. Caman Beauregard, 1:02.58. 26. Owen Wither, 1:03.88.
Women’s Super G: 3. Abby Olson, 1:01.32. 4. Logan Grosdidier, 1:01.42. 18. Katharina Cosby, 1:03.22. 36. Hazel Fernley, 1:04.74.
Men’s Giant Slalom: 1. Caspian Troan, 2:12.04. 20. Caman Beauregard, 2:15.79. 35. Owen Wither, 2:19.34.
Women’s Giant Slalom: 1. Logan Grosdidier, 2:17.47. 2. Abby Olson, 2:18.73. 3. Katharina Cosby, 2:19.38.
Men’s Slalom: 4. Adrian Beauregard, 1:31.83. 24. Owen Wither, 1:36.84. 26. Caman Beauregard, 1:37.56.
Women’s Slalom: 1. Logan Grosdidier, 1:28.70. 3. Abby Olson, 1:30.43. 6. Katharina Cosby, 1:33.63.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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