The Junior Olympics
Nordic combined skiers search for gold in Alaska
Taylor Fletcher will lead a group of five Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skiers north to Alaska in search of gold.
Junior Olympic gold medals that is.
Fletcher and teammates Charlie Stoddard, Brett Denny, Sam Chovan and Adam Peters will make the trip to the Karl Eid jumping complex about 20 minutes southeast of Anchorage for the event, which is March 4-6. Steamboat Springs special jumper Trevor Wert also qualified for the event but will be unable to attend.
The event will open with athletes competing in the individual special jumping and Nordic combined team events on March 4.
The individual Nordic combined competition will take center stage March 5 and the events will come to a close March 6 with the special jumping team event.
“For most of the athletes on the team, this will be their first trip outside of the region,” coach Chris Gilbertson said. “It’s the first time these skiers will compete in a national level event.”
The championships in Alaska are set aside for Nordic combined and special jumpers 15 years of age and younger. A separate event, the North American Junior Championships, was held in January for athletes in the older age classes.
The younger skiers in this championship will come from the Rocky Mountain, Intermountain, Central and Eastern divisions. They will be vying for national titles in their age divisions.
Gilbertson said the athletes representing the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club would come from the Nordic combined side of the program, though they will compete in the special jumping events at the Junior Olympics.
Gilbertson said the Winter Sports Club’s Nordic program tries to keep its athletes who are younger than 13 in the combined program. Only after reaching that age can the athletes elect to specialize in jumping.
“We think that by setting those limits, we will produce a better rounded, healthier athlete,” Gilbertson said.
–To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot .com
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