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Big Sky’s young winter athletes finish season strong

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The Big Sky Ski Education Foundation capped off another successful winter, with numerous athletes garnering invitations to regional and national championships.

“We had a great season with some ups and some downs. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the programs with the successes we have had and continue to build on,” said Jeremy Ueland, now in his 10th season as program director for BSSEF.
The foundation is a nonprofit that offers instruction in alpine, freeride and Nordic skiing programs for junior athletes in Big Sky.

“Becoming a great skier, whether it is alpine, freeride or Nordic, is all about the process and journey to becoming that athlete,” Ueland said. “These things don’t just happen overnight. It takes a lot of time, commitment and dedication.”

Ueland was quick to praise his fellow coaches and the volunteers who made the season a success. Many BSSEF racers qualified for the U14, U16 and U19 Western Region Championships held at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alyeska Resort in Girwood, Alaska, and Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho, respectively.

“It was cool to go to Alaska and a fun race to compete in,” said Caleb Unger. “I tore my ACL last year, so it was great to have success this year. I actually think I’m racing better than where I was at last year.” Unger won the Super G event for his age bracket at the Big Sky Speed Series on his home turf this season.

From April 11-14, many BSSEF freeride athletes will compete in the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association’s North American Championships at Snowbird Sky Resort, which concluded after EBS went to press April 11.

“We are a small team compared to some of the 100-plus athlete teams in the IFSA, so obviously I’m very excited that we have so many athletes here,” said BBSEF freeride coach Jordan Aid. “I believe our athletes have a great shot to hit some podiums here.”

2018 Western Region Championships
U14 – Luke Kirchmayr, Skylar Manka
U16 – Caleb Unger, Ryan Beatty, Franci St Cyr, Mazie Schreiner
U19 – Maci St Cyr, Madison Winters, Mackenzie Winters, Sam Johnson

2018 IFSA North American Junior Championships
U12 – Elijah Singer, Preston Smith, Brayden Maybee
U14 – Andrew Smith
U18 – Nehalem Manka, Luuk MacKenzie

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