Steamboat freestyle skiers get early on-snow action in Vail |

Steamboat freestyle skiers get early on-snow action in Vail

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle skier Michael DeGrandis does a back X at an all-star camp in Vail. DeGrandis was one of three Steamboat athletes to attend the camp, with an eye on December's U.S. selections event.

— History is on the side of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's freestyle moguls team.

With the U.S. Selections Event again scheduled for Dec. 17 to 22 at Steamboat Ski Area, several members of the Winter Sports Club's moguls team got a head start on their competition.

George and Michael DeGrandis and Lane Stoltzner each took part in an all-star camp during the weekend in Vail. The camp featured coaches Timmy Meagher, Chris Seeman and Caleb Martin.

Meagher is the personal coach for U.S. moguls skier Pat Deneen, Seeman is a U.S. Ski Team coach and Martin is a former U.S. Ski Team member.

"It was a great camp where the kids were getting on snow for the first time since they got back from South America," Winter Sports Club freestyle coach Mike Amato said.

The camp involved working on technique on flat ground before doing laps on a moguls course.

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Amato said the camp included 20 of the top skiers in the Rocky Mountain region, including Steamboat, Winter Park, Vail and Telluride. Many of those athletes were using it as a tuneup for the December selection event.

There, skiers have the opportunity to qualify for a pair of U.S. World Cup events in Deer Valley, Utah, and Lake Placid, N.Y.

In the past, Steamboat skiers have had quite a bit of success in earning those positions. U.S. freestyle ski team members Jeremy Cota, Ryan Dyer and Brittany Loweree all earned World Cup starts from their performances at the selections event.

"It's helped us put kids on the U.S. team," Amato said. "Hopefully, we'll get a couple of kids to those World Cups and continue that tradition."

The Vail camp especially was important in that it allowed skiers time on snow, particularly given the little snow in the region.

Amato said his team’s next event is a Rocky Mountain Division event Dec. 15 in Winter Park.

Until then, the team will wait for snow and hopes to have a mini moguls course set up at Howelsen Hill in the near future.

"We'll try and get a mogul course in for these kids to have an advantage," Amato said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email