On the snow at 2016 USASA National Championships for skiing at Copper (photos and video) | SummitDaily.com

On the snow at 2016 USASA National Championships for skiing at Copper (photos and video)

There’s something inspirational about watching young-and-hungry skiers compete on the biggest stage of their burgeoning careers — even if they still have a long, long way to go before reaching the absolute top.

From April 9-12, nearly 300 freeskiers from across North America, New Zealand and Australia came to Copper Mountain for the 2016 USASA National Championships. The youth and adult athletes competed in four disciplines — slopestyle, halfpipe, skiercross and rail jam — to crown the next generation of up-and-coming freeskiers. There was Breck’s Axl Bonenberger, the 10-year-old phenom who placed sixth in halfpipe and 10th in slopestyle to claim the boy’s overall freeski title for the second year in a row. Then there were Ethan Swadburg of Dillon and Benjamin Smith of Frisco, two open-class competitors who dominated on the slope course and at the after-dark rail jam. All three might have a long way to go, but one thing is for sure: The future of the sport was on full display right here in Summit County.

With competition now finished for the season, we take a look at where locals from Team Breckenridge, Team Summit Colorado and independent clubs (aka mom and dad) fit into the mix after four days on the slopes.

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Boy’s overall freeski title, 10-12 years old

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1. Axl Bonenberger, Breckenridge, Colorado

2. Rocky Vertone, Jackson, Wyoming

3. Sawyer L. Coll, Truckee, California

4. Noah Gionfriddo, Frisco, Colorado

5. Sebastian Bowler, Bend, Oregon

Boy’s ski slopestyle final, 10-12 years old (84 total)

1. Matthew LeBaugh, Rye, New York — 90.40

2. Kai Morris, Carbondale, Colorado — 85.40

3. Troy Podmilsak, Park City, Utah — 84.60

10. Axl Bonenberger, Breckenridge, Colorado – 73.80

Boy’s ski halfpipe final, 10-12 years old (52 total)

1. Kai Morris, Carbondale, Colorado — 92.25

2. Connor Ladd, Lakewood, Colorado — 90.75

3. Ridge Dirksmeier, Hailey, Idaho — 89.25

6. Axl Bonenberger, Breckenridge, Colorado — 79.50

43. Kyle Pennington, Breckenridge, Colorado — 40.75

Boy’s skiercross final, 9 and younger (28 total)

1. Conrad Sweatman, Stowe, Vermont

2. Ben Fethke, Boise, Idaho

3. Hugo Metzgen, Orinda, California

11. Walker Robinson, Frisco, Colorado

Men’s open ski slopestyle final (86 total)

1. Finn Bilous, Otago, New Zealand — 88.6

2. Ethan Swadburg, Dillon, Colorado — 87.4

3. Cody LaPlante, Truckee, California — 84.00

7. Benjamin Smith, Frisco, Colorado — 77.8

34. Levi Ascher, Breckenridge, Colorado — 51.00

Men’s open ski halfpipe final (21 total)

1. Finn Bilous, Otago, New Zealand — 100.00

2. Sammy Schuiling, Steamboat Springs, Colorado — 99.00

3. Hunter Hess, Bend, Oregon — 98.00

Men’s open ski rail jam final (26 total)

1. Benjamin Smith, Frisco, Colorado

2. Ticker Fitzsimons, Hood River, Oregon

3. Matt Newton, Eden, Utah

Women’s open ski slopestyle final (7 total)

1. Svea Irving, Winter Park, Colorado — 76.40

2. Shannon VanDerwerken, Dillon, Colorado — 60.60

3. Bryanna Deschamps, Helenta, Montana — 57.60

Women’s open ski halfpipe final (4 total)

1. Carly Marguiles, Aspen, Colorado — 83.75

2. Svea Irving, Winter Park, Colorado — 81.75

3. Sierra Bowman, Mammoth Lakes, California — 65.75

Boy’s youth ski slopestyle final, 13-15 years old (83 total)

1. Mac Forehand, Winhall, Vermont — 85.00

2. Richard Thomas, Orono, Minnesota — 84.00

3. Hunter Henderson, Madbury, New Hampshire — 83.20

12. Noah Begley, Breckenridge, Colorado — 63.60

Girl’s youth ski slopestyle final, 13-15 years old (20 total)

1. Grace Henderson, Madbury, New Hampshire — 86.60

2. McKenna Brown, Bend, Oregon — 78.60

3. Marion Balsamo, Penasco, New Mexico — 68.40

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