By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Managing Editor
BIG SKY – In his 14th season with the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation, Jeremy Ueland has high expectations for his skiers. But following a season during which his ski team won the Northern Division Youth Ski League Championships and Big Sky racer Reece Bell was crowned YSL Overall Champion, the BSSEF Program Director isn’t concerned.
“We have lots of strong skiers in all ages this season,” said Ueland, 34, who coached the team until becoming director in 2007. “They all definitely have an opportunity to do well. We know they can do it in training. It’s just a matter of doing it in a race.”
Along with Bell, who’s out for a few weeks resting a sore knee, top performers to watch this season include Caleb Unger, Luke Kirchmayr and Alexa Coyle, who last year was the Gold Point Leader for U-16 women and won the Bill Kenney Cup.
On-hill training began in mid-December, and led up to the opening races Jan. 2-4 at Bridger Bowl Ski Area, where the 15-year-old Coyle finished third overall behind Montana State University skiers Kari Hole and Tenaya Driller.
Red Lodge Mountain hosted the most recent YSL races – three giant slaloms – on Jan. 9-11, before BSSEF skiers boot-up at Big Sky Resort on Jan. 24-25 for two slalom competitions.
BSSEF, a nonprofit formed in 1993, operates under the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body for competitive skiing. The organization operates six overall programs from youth ski development and freeride to Nordic ski and adult race training.
Visit bssef.com for more information.