Keystone youth freerider Cirrillo is bound for Vermont
KEYSTONE – Representing Keystone Mountain on a nationally televised stage is a tough job – especially when you’re only 12 years old – but somebody’s got to do it. Breckenridge’s Cody Cirrillo, 12, and Evergreen’s Walter Wood, 13, both members of Keystone’s youth freeride ski team, have been chosen to compete on behalf of the resort at the 2006 Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search finals in Killington, Vt., March 3-5. Both skiers were chosen from a field of more than 30 competitors at last weekend’s Next Snow Search qualifier, which was held at Keystone. “It was a friendly atmosphere, we were both competing and having fun,” Cirrillo said. “I was trying to do the best I could and I guess I did enough.””We had a lot of excellent kids come out this year,” Keystone events cordinator Lesley Johnson said. “The ones we chose will be perfect to represent Keystone.”
The Next Snow Search is a national program that promotes skiing and snowboarding to kids and their families. The co-ed program is open to 9-13-year-old skiers and snowboarders, all of whom compete in the same age class.According to Keystone Freeride Team assistant coach Julian Lamarche, the Next Snow Search circuit is unique because it’s the only open event of its magnitude geared toward children.”It’s not just a youth division of an adult race,” Lamarche said. “That makes a huge difference for these kids that come from all different skiing and snowboarding backgrounds.”Participants from Minnesota, Iowa, Denver, and Summit County competed in Sunday’s qualifier, which Johnson described as a chance for Summit kids and Denver kids to meet each other and show off their skills.Young athletes competed in moguls, carving, big mountain riding, slopestyle, rails, racing, the halfpipe and a big air jump. Competitors were judged on both their on-hill achievements as well as their off-the-hill attitudes and personalities.
“The judges looked at how the kids reacted to losing as well as how they interacted with one another,” Johnson said. “Style, ability and attitude were all considered.””They are real personable kids,” Lamarche said of Cirrillo and Wood. “They act more like they’re skiing for fun than competing and they are always encouraging everyone else.”Bruce Perry Jr., a 10-year-old-moguls-specialist from Dillon, and Flint Doyle, an 11-year-old snowboarder from Frisco, have been named as alternates for the Next Snow Search finals.”It was a very competitive event and it was hard to pick the winners,” Johnson said. “Especially since these are people that we will be sponsoring.”Cirrillo, who competed in last season’s Next Snow Search Finals at Keystone, said he’s looking forward to traveling across the country in March. “I’ve always wanted to go to Vermont, so it’s like a dream come true,” he said.
Cirrillo said he’s expanded his repertoire of tricks and is hoping for a top finish at Killington. He seems unfazed by the pressure that could come from being televised by NBC Sports.”I like the idea of getting watched and getting my name out there,” he said. “I’m hoping to do well, but if I do bad, then I just do bad.”For the third straight season, Keystone is a central figure in the Next Snow Search series. Keystone hosted the finals in 2004 and 2005 and this year, in addition to last weekend’s qualifier, it will host the first ever “All Star” event, Jan. 27-28.Wood and Perry Jr. have been chosen to compete in the marquee event, which will be televised by NBC Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon in conjunction with the opening weekend of the Turin Olympics.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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