Return to Keystone Classic ends with big air
A little after noon on Monday, Kristen Walla and Jon Wesley Lafferty both did something that has never been done on the slopes of Dercum Mountain.
They won a United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Rocky Mountain Division slopestyle competition.
The competition was part of the Return to Keystone Classic, a three-day event at the mountain that was the first USSA-sanctioned freestyle com-
petition to be held at the mountain since 1982, long before slopestyle was invented.
The weekend also included two moguls competitions held on Saturday and Sunday.
The slopestyle event was one of two nearly identical competitions held on Monday, and in the afternoon Walla once again posted the best score to sweep the day’s events for the women.
Steamboat Springs skier Jake Cohn won the men’s afternoon event.
Chad Zanka of the Quantum Sports Club had the best showing by a local skier, finishing both events in third.
“I had a good run and a great day,” Zanka said after receiving his bronze medals at the Mountain House awards ceremony Monday afternoon.
“They had (the course) set up real nice.”
Walla, who skis for the Aspen Valley Ski Club, added: “They have a pretty good park and I was pleased with my jumps.”
The course consisted of two large tabletop jumps which every skier was required to hit, and then a choice of two rails, which were optional.
The entire competition represents part of the vast changes under way at the family-oriented resort located on the county’s east side.
The slopestyle was one of the first competitions ever held in the new A51 terrain park, while the two moguls competitions were the first of their kind to be held at the mountain since the mid-1980s.
It was directly linked to the new Landon Sawyer Freestyle Training Center being constructed at the mountain, and there was a palpable buzz about the center in the field.
“I’m pysched about it, because we don’t have to drive to Park City,” said David Hach of the Aspen Valley Ski Club.
Don Banghart, chairman for the USSA Freestyle Rocky Mountain Division, had similar sentiments.
“I’m looking ahead five years and I see something magnificent.”
On Sunday, the Team Summit girls freestyle team once again dominated the field.
While coach Katherine Lynch won her second event in as many days, Sarah Ruckriegle and Jordan Poyfair finished second and third, resptively, to produce a Team Summit sweep of the podium.
Teammate Becky Miller also jumped into the top 10, finishing sixth.
Matty Robichaud and Justin Henceroth, also of Team Summit, finished second and third behind Kyle Ewing of Steamboat Springs.
The dual moguls competition differed from Saturday’s open moguls in that the competitors were paired up in head-to-head heats instead of skiing one at a time.
The girls team had seven finishers in the top 10 on Saturday, including Lynch in first and Ruckriegle in third.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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