Team Summit freestylers take on Bump Bash |

Team Summit freestylers take on Bump Bash

ARAPAHOE BASIN – There was no place to hide for the meek competing in the Landon Sawyer CU Bump Bash on Slalom Slope at Arapahoe Basin Saturday.

If any of the 100-plus athletes was the least bit hesitant, everyone watching knew it, and the steep, gnarly course caught up with him or her quickly. Only the top 30 males and top 15 females were selected for the final run.

“It really shows on this course how much you’re putting out there and taking risks and really running with the hill,”said Team Summit freestyle coach John Dowling, who had almost 30 members of his team competing Saturday.

“Some people start to pull in a little bit, they look tentative. Then, the guys who are ready to run their skis and take it on really start to stand out. You can basically see. If someone’s afraid, it shows. The guys ready to take it on … that shows up too.”

Steamboat’s Scott Vos won the event with 24.57 points, while Team Summit’s Justin Henceroth, 16, was on his heels in second with 24.57 points, and former Team Summit skier Eric Banghart took third.

Henceroth squeezed into the finals after finishing 22nd with some shaky landings throwing helicopters off the two jumps during his first run. He was determined to do a flawless run in the finals, and he nailed his airs in the final run.

“I wanted to make up for that last run,” said Henceroth, who won last weekend’s Rocky Mountain Division freestyle contest at Aspen Highlands and two the week before at Monarch. “I’m very happy with second. I was definitely more focused. I felt good about it.”

On the girls’ side, Team Summit’s Katherine Lynch won the event and Jenny Haywood took third. Lynch threw two smooth helis to beat her teammate and second-place NorAm Winter Park skier Katie Sullan.

Other top 10 spots were occupied by Team Summit’s Andy Musser (seventh), Kristin Pepe (eighth), Jim Schad (ninth), Nick Ross (10th) and Cheryl Pearson (10th for females).

Although few of those competing threw inverted airs during their runs, the top 10 finishers were noticeably more daring.

“The course is down to the dirt and rocks, but the the faster you ski it, the better it is, because you can ski the top and miss the rocks and stuff,” said Schad, who won the mogul event earlier this season on Solitude at Breckenridge.

“It’s pretty steep, but it’s fun,” Ross said of the course. “It’s really soft today.”

Some of the younger competitors said the course’s pitch (which reaches 35 degrees in spots) and the transitions after the jumps are primarily what made it challenging.

“It’s a pretty good course,” said 13-year-old Jordan Poyfair, who took 19th Saturday – second for J3 skiers beating teammate Sarah Ruckreigle (third) – and is one of many Team Summit freestylers who have recently qualified for Junior Nationals. “The landings are a little weird, you have to make small turns.”

At least a quarter of the athletes competing Saturday crashed on the course. Whitney Henceroth, 13, finished 18th overall and won the J3 division with a clean twister and spread eagle off the two jumps. She said the competition was pretty stiff.

“It’s a really nice course, and I skied well, there’s just a ton of really good girls out here,” she said.

“If you’re going to have expert skiers competing, this is the place for it,” said Team Summit coach Chris Carson. “It’s steep, it gets steeper, and the jumps are big. It’s amazing, in training, a lot of these guys don’t finish their runs. But when the contest run comes, they just get so determined, they seem to pull it together.”

The Landon Sawyer Bash, named in memory of the University of Colorado skier who died when he hit a tree ski training two years ago, continues at 10 a.m. today on Slalom Slope at Arapahoe Basin.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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