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Opportunity calls at moguls event

Lane Stoltzner skis last spring at the U.S. Freestyle Skiing National Championships in Steamboat Springs. She capped a strong enough season at that event to earn a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. She's hoping to build off that success this weekend at the U.S. Freestyle Selections event in Winter Park. The top skiers at that event earn starts on the World Cup circuit.
Joel Reichenberger

— Lane Stoltzner was confident a year ago, at least on the surface.

She was preparing for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Selections, a seven-day, three-event competition that includes the lower-tier members of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team and several dozen of the top other competitors in the country. At stake are starts in the two moguls World Cup events in the United States, one in Park City, Utah, and the other in Lake Placid, New York.

“I just decided I would have those starts,” Stoltzner said. “I decided I was going to work my butt off to get them, and any time anyone would say, ‘if you get the starts,’ I’d say, ‘no, I am going to get the starts.’”



She got them, and they gave her all the opportunity she had hoped. She learned some hard lessons at the first events in Utah but earned a spot in the finals in her New York performance.

That showing helped her earn a spot on the U.S. Team.



But, it’s true for Stoltzner that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and while she’s now on the nation’s C team, she’s back where she was a year ago, looking ahead and hoping for big things as the U.S. Selections event.

“I’m still competing for the same things,” she said, “but now I just have a different jacket and a new head coach.”

She’s hoping for the same results.

The action begins Friday in Winter Park with the first of two moguls competitions. The second is set for Sunday, and a dual moguls competition will wrap the event up Monday.

The top performers from all three events will get that golden ticket to the “big show” of moguls skiing.

There’s no shortage of Steamboat competitors.

Stoltzner’s fellow U.S. C-teamer Sophia Schwartz will be skiing, hoping to punch her World Cup ticket. They’ll be joined by, among others, a quintet of younger Steamboat Springs women.

Anna Park is fresh off winning an event in Aspen where teammates Jaelin Kauf, Olivia Giaccio and Maggie Ryan also turned in top results.

“All five of these women, their goal is to be on the U.S. Ski Team in 12 to 24 months,” Winter Sports Club freestyle director Bobby Aldighieri said. “We certainly believe that our girls can do well enough at U.S. Selections to get some of those World Cup starts.”

Stoltzner is banking on her own investment in the sport paying dividends. She moved from Steamboat to Park City after making the team, then logged 121 training sessions with her coaches there. That amounted to more than 1,100 trips off the water ramps, more than anyone else on the squad.

But it really all comes down to her performance this weekend. Last year, her results were life changing. She’s hoping they can be again this year.

“I definitely feel pretty confident again,” she said. “I’m excited.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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