Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club hosts freestyle skiing NorAm Cup this weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One of the top moguls freestyle competitions in the nation — the International Ski Federation North American Cup — will take place at Steamboat Resort on Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24. Skiers from across the country will compete for spots on the U.S. ski team and for World Cup berths.
“We just want to showcase our mountain and our venue,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle program director Bobby Aldighieri said. “We want to show North America and Japan and Australia that we have a really good venue that the athletes enjoy skiing at.”
The NorAm Cup is comprised of four competitions, with Steamboat being the third of the four destinations. Skiers competed in Stratton, Vermont, for their first competition and then Val St-Come in Quebec, Canada, for their second. After Steamboat, athletes will travel to Apex in British Columbia, Canada.
Athletes have to compete in all four NorAm Cup events to contend for a spot on the national teams.
To become a NorAm Cup host, Aldighieri placed a bid through the FIS. The course had to meet certain length and steepness criteria to qualify. The course will be on Voodoo, where Steamboat has hosted all of its moguls competitions.
It will be the first time in at least five years that Steamboat Resort has hosted a NorAm Cup for moguls skiing.
The competition will also be more competitive than in previous years, since the U.S. Ski team did not name a development team in an effort to better fund its World Cup athletes. Athletes who would have been on that development team compete with their clubs. A number of athletes at the NorAm cup have already competed on the World Cup circuit.
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will have five athletes competing, including Kenzie Radway, Maggie Ryan, Spencer Belsky, Landon Wendler and Bubba Antkiewicz.
Radway has made large strides toward her future in the sport, competing in her first World Cup at Lake Placid, New York, on Jan. 17 and 18. At 15, Radway has dominated competition, taking second in singles moguls and first in dual moguls at the NorAm Cup in Stratton, Vermont.
But Radway took time off to train during the second NorAm cup competition, so she will not be a contender for this year’s ski team. She’s currently sixth overall on the NorAm Cup tour.
“She won’t be able to win the tour but will make a good crack of making the ski team in a few years,” Aldighieri said. “We want to make sure she has enough time to develop as an athlete. She’s skiing and jumping really well.”
Winter Sports Club skier Maggie Ryan, 20, is currently fifth on the tour and will also be competing Saturday in the women’s competition.
On the men’s side, Wendler, 18, leads the Steamboat skiers and is ranked No. 8 on the tour. Antkiewicz, 18, and Belsky, 19, will also compete this weekend.
Saturday will feature the singles competition, and on Sunday, the dual moguls competition, where skiers will race each other down the course, will take place.
“If people come out on Saturday around 1 p.m., they will see some of the highest levels of moguls skiing in North America other than the World Cup skiers,” Aldighieri said. “It’s their goals to be Olympians. If you get to see these guys when they were kids and making it happen, it’s exciting.”
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