Sugar Bowl and Academy Ski Team student-athletes among nation’s best

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Aspen McAuley competes in the U18 National Championships.
Courtesy picture

Student-athletes on the Sugar Bowl and Academy Ski Team had great success this past winter, with record numbers qualifying for spots at races and national competitions.

“It’s so exciting to see such strong results throughout our lineup at the end of the season,” said general manager and school principal Brian Krill. “It’s a testament to all the hard work of the student-athletes, the coaches and the entire team. And I always stress that while celebrating these great accomplishments, we also recognize the process that all of our student-athletes go through to be their best.

FIS skiers Aspen McAuley and Zack Staudenmayer secured coveted spots at the U18 Nationals in Vail, Colorado. McCauley then stood on the podium in both super-G races at the West Region Junior Championships in Mission Ridge, Washington.



“Mark (McAuley) and I are proud of what Aspen has accomplished over his years at (Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy), both on the track and in the classroom. The coaching staff has given him the training and support she needs while continually fueling her drive to become the runner she is today. It has been an exciting progression to watch. It was so satisfying to see her on the top step of the podium in Western Regional Championship races and finishing well at the U18 Nationals as a freshman FIS racer,” said Aspen’s mother, Cindy McAuley. “We are extremely grateful for the coaching she received from Mike Prado this year as a freshman FIS athlete.His coaching style is a perfect match for Aspen’s needs and has helped her improve dramatically this year.

FIS men’s skier Zac Bower is currently competing at the Senior National Championships in Sugar Loaf, Maine, where he competes against the country’s top skiers in super-G, giant slalom and slalom. Staudenmayer also qualified but was injured in the under-18s and was unable to race.



As a tune-up for the championship, Bower traveled to Mission Ridge for the Western Regional Junior Championships and earned second place overall with podium finishes in the giant slalom and super-G.

Freshman Declan Mack has started to break through and show he is competitive in the West Region with some top 10 finishes.

“All the U18/21 men have worked hard since June of last year. The success they are having right now is the product of that alone,” said FIS Men’s Head Coach Brad Saxe. “The work ethic, tenacity, courage and character shown every day in this team during this long season is by far their most brilliant achievement and has led to high levels of performance.”

“TESTIMONY OF THEIR DEDICATION”

Three Sugar Bowl Academy U16 student-athletes, Carl Ottosson, Jack Schrady and Charlie Baker, are ranked among the nation’s top U16 ski racers, with Ottosson and Schrady currently ranked number one and third in the nation’s giant slalom. These three earned three of Far West’s five spots and 15 from the West Region at the U16 National Championships, which will be held in Sugarloaf, Maine, from Saturday through Wednesday.

“The rankings and performances of these boys are a testament to their dedication and hard work on and off the snow over the past two seasons,” said U16 head coach Andrew Becker. “During that time, they honed their tactical intuition and honed their athleticism on the skis, which led to some good skiing during qualifying and regional races this spring. We are very proud of what this group has already accomplished this spring, and aside from our upcoming national races, we look forward to seeing them shine as FIS athletes next season.

The Sugar Bowl Ski Team and the Academy Nordic Team wrapped up their competitive season two weeks ago at the US Junior Cross-Country Skiing Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was the elder Hayden McJunkin’s last run with the Sugar Bowl Academy. She finished strong with two top-10 results overall in all age groups, including an eighth-place finish in the 10-kilometre individual skating race and a second-place finish in the relay. McJunkin will continue his athletic and academic pursuits next year as a freshman at Harvard University and a member of their Nordic team.

“I am so grateful to this program and this school for providing me with tools and opportunities that I hope to honor in the future,” McJunkin said. “I’m both proud and surprised by my season and excited for the next chapter: skiing on the Nordic team for Harvard.”

The Freeride student-athletes gave their all in their quest for invitations to the IFSA Junior North American Championships in Big Sky, Montana. In their candidacy, they obtained several podiums. Invitations to this flagship event are extended to four rounds. Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy’s Cole Davidson and Olof Halvarsson were two first-round picks to receive invites in the 15-18 age group from across the country, while Anders Leckie and Sebastian Baranchuk were two in the 12 – to the age category of 14 years. Additionally, seniors Elena Messner and Kestrel Sullivan earned spots in the 15-18 women’s division.

“We are digging into our final touches for the season, with reinvestment in cementing newly learned techniques into our movements before the end of the season, as well as spending chunks of time hammering up and down runs to prepare for the long site at Nor-Ams,” said Sean Carey, Freeride Program Manager. “This season has been full of growth and experience for many of our young freeriders. Every day has the opportunity to be filled with new experiences and new attitudes ready to learn.

Luke Winters (Class of 2015) also enjoyed success this winter on the world stage. After representing the United States as a member of the 2022 Winter Olympics Alpine Team, Winters recently earned two top-10 World Cup finishes in giant slalom.

“Ultimately, we are delivering on our mission to provide opportunities to pursue athletic dreams, academic excellence and personal growth,” Krill said. “The individual and collective successes we are seeing after two long and difficult years testify to everyone’s commitment to this mission. I wish all competitors much success as they move on to the next level of competition.

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