Simon Keffalos earned victory and redemption Saturday at the third annual Alyeska Junior Freeride Classic on the South Face of Alyeska.
Keffalos won the boys 15-18 division by posting the highest score in Saturday’s finals, edging Nolan Quigley by six-tenths of a point.
A year ago, Keffalos was in position to make the podium after the first day of competition but lost his chance at a medal on the second day when he crashed.
Freeriding challenges skiers by putting them on a steep course featuring powder, ice, cliffs, bumps and trees. Competitors choose their own line to ski and are judged on line choice, technique, control, fluidity, style and energy.
Crashes and miscues often figure into the outcome. In the boys 15-18 division, Joe Stahla had the highest score coming into the finals and was skiing a difficult line Sunday when he skied out of bounds and was disqualified. Stahla received the meet’s Sickbird Award, which recognizes talent and attitude.
In the girls 15-18 competition, the leader coming into the finals crashed and did not finish. That opened the door for Clara Lantz, who had a strong final run to take the victory for the second year in a row.
The competition drew about 70 competitors, all 18 years old or younger, from Alaska, Washington and Maine.
Alaska skiers won all of the divisions, with Cameron Hoessle and Paxson Hegna topping the boys and girls 12-14 divisions, respectively, and Carson Hawes and Kyla Gurry winning the U12 divisions.