Clara Lantz captured her third straight championship at the IFSA Alyeska Junior Freeride Classic on Saturday, a day when top teenage competitors stomped their landings and displayed strong, controlled skiing and riding on Alyeska’s South Face.
Lantz, an Alyeska Freeride Team skier, won the 15-18 age class for girls by skiing a similar line to what she executed to grab the early lead Friday. She skied a smooth line through the Firstpoint section and then stomped the Alder Cliff on Eagle Rock.
The boys 15-18 titles went to skier Benjamin Erickson of the Alyeska Freeride Team and snowboarder Aidan McGinley of Washington’s Stevens’ Pass Freeride Team.
The competition was a Pacific Northwest Junior Regional event that attracted about 75 athletes ages 18 and younger, most of them from Alaska. Freeriding puts athletes on a steep, off-piste course with powder, ice, cliffs, bumps and trees, where they are judged on line choice, technique, control, fluidity, style and energy.
Competitors battled fog delays early during Saturday’s finals but the weather broke late in the afternoon, providing perfect conditions for athletes in the 15-18 age group.
Lantz and McGinley led their divisions Friday, but Erickson came from behind to win. He finished third Friday but claimed victory with a Saturday run in which he gapped the chute in the Firstpoint section of South Face and successfully landed a huge send. Lower in his run, he took air off Eagle Rock’s Alder Cliff.
The annual Sick Bird Award — given to the athlete with the most remarkable run of the competition — went to Nolan Quigley. He skied an impressive run Friday to take the lead in the boys 15-18 competition, and on Saturday he threw a large 360 to gap the Firstpoint chute but had a control issue on his landing. He spun around but managed to stay on his feet, and lower in his run, he took large air on Eagle Rock.
Other age-group champions in the two-day competition, sponsored by Powder Hound, included Devin Himes, Mason Newell, Ava Austerman and Dean Haines.
The Alyeska Freeride Team will be back in action in early March for the IFSA Junior Regional competition at Crystal Mountain in Washington.
Girls 15-18 skiing
1) Clara Lantz, Alyeska Freeride Team, 52.2000; 2) Lillian Nimmer, Northwest Freeride, 49.0667; 3) Lucy Lukes, Alyeska Freeride Team, 46.3667; 4) Bethany Greenlund, Alyeska Freeride Team, 45.0333; 5) Brenna Gessner, Alyeska Freeride Team, 41.5333.
Boys 15-18 skiing
1) Benjamin Erickson, Alyeska Freeride Team, 53.6000; 2) Paul Melchert, Alyeska Freeride Team, 51.5333; 3) Reed Naspinsky, Alyeska Freeride Team, 51.0667; 4) Kemp Descutner, 50.2000; 5) Ben Meahan, Alyeska Freeride Team, 47.9667.
Boys 15-18 snowboarding
1) Aidan McGinley, Stevens’ Pass Freeride Team, 39.6000; 2) Finley Cooper, Alpental Freeride, 30.3000; 3) Meshach Gleason, Independent, 25.3000.
Boys 12-14 snowboarding
1) Devin Himes, Independent, 42.0000.
Boys 12-14 skiing
1) Mason Newell, Alyeska Freeride Team, 52.1333; 2) Henry Lantz, Alyeska Freeride Team, 45.6333; 3) Ridge Buckmaster, Alyeska Freeride Team, 44.0333; 4) Finn Predeger, Alyeska Freeride Team, 43.5667; 5) Ruben Jeffers, Alyeska Freeride Team, 43.0333.
Girls 12-14 skiing
1) Ava Austerman, Alyeska Freeride Team, 42.6667; 2) Paxson Hegna, Alyeska Freeride Team, 42.4000; 3) Savonna Rygh, Alyeska Freeride Team, 42.2333; 4) Brielle Moorehead, Alyeska Freeride Team, 39.7333; 5) Kyla Gurry, Alyeska Freeride Team, 39.6333.
U12 boys skiing
1) Dean Haines, Alyeska Freeride Team, 43.0000; 2) Nathan Reitmeier, Alyeska Freeride Team, 41.1333; 3) Eliot Isaacs, Alyeska Freeride Team, 40.6000; 4) Chace Hardy, Alyeska Freeride Team, 40.5667; 5) Jude Jeffers, Alyeska Freeride Team, 16.667.
Sick Bird Award — Nolan Quigley.