Breckenridge’s Harris named to Whistler Cup team |

Breckenridge’s Harris named to Whistler Cup team

SPECIAL TO THE DAILYTeam Breckenridge skier Katy Harris was named to the U.S. team for the prestigious Whistler Cup, a three-day, international J3 alpine event. The competition starts on April 8.

Katy Harris grew up freeskiing the slopes at Breckenridge Ski Resort, and it’s her ability to ski “anything, anytime, anywhere,” her coach Jeff Westcott said, that makes her such a strong alpine racer.

“When you get on a course that’s pretty tough or a little bumpy, it’s easy for a kid to get rattled,” said Westcott, the J3 alpine coach for Team Breckenridge Sports Club. “Katy’s such a strong all-around skier that it doesn’t phase her.”

Well, Harris will soon put her mental fortitude truly to the test, as she heads to Whistler, British Columbia, next week as part of the U.S. J3 squad competing in the prestigious Whistler Cup.

The event – taking place over three days starting on April 9 – pits the best 13- and 14-year-old alpine racers in the world against each other in super-G, giant slalom and slalom races.

“It’s a huge honor (for Katy to be selected),” Westcott said.

Only nine J3-level boys and nine J3-level girls from the entire country are invited to compete, and only three from each region.

Some skiers who’ve competed for the U.S. in the past: current national team members Julia Mancuso, Andrew Weibrecht and Steven Nyman. Oh, and Lindsey Vonn.

“It’s a complete thrill and honor for me to work with an athlete with her talent and potential,” Westcott said of Harris.

And he’ll have the “honor” of joining his skier in Whistler. He was named the Rocky-Central Division’s representing coach, as one coach was chosen from each of the three regions (East, West and Rocky-Central).

Westcott said he felt “truly humbled” by the selection, especially considering the “amount of exceptional coaches in the region.”

And, really, he said his focus is on helping the skiers perform to the best of their abilities.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see if they’re on par with the best kids in their age group from around the world,” he said.

As for Harris, if it’s not her strong skiing (she was the gold medalist in giant slalom at the region’s Junior Olympics), it’s her attitude that should help her fare well in Whistler.

“She has a phenomenal attitude,” Westcott said of the girl her teammates and coaches call “bubbles.” “She has more fun on the mountain than anyone I’ve ever coached.”

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