The Telluride tradition of mogul skiing is alive and well, thank you.
Three mogul skiers with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club qualified to compete in the prestigious U.S. Freestyle Championships later this week at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. That’s the U.S. Nationals for moguls and dual moguls.
The Telluride bump skiers earned their final qualifying points last week at the U.S. Junior Freestyle Championships at Snowbird.
“We’re keeping the proud tradition going,” said Jeff Yingling, freestyle program director for the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club (TSSC). “This year, we qualified three (for nationals). And we’ve also got a talented group of younger skiers. I’m super-proud of the skiers.”
He said the Telluride mogul skiers bounced back this year, along with the snow conditions.
“We are a smaller club. Last year, we only had one (qualifier),” Yingling said. “The Telluride program historically has been a powerhouse, so it’s nice to see we’re sending three to nationals.”
Ella Jansen, Will Jansen and Anna Smith of TSSC all earned the trips east to compete against the best mogul skiers in the country.
Jonah Jodlowski of Telluride qualified for U.S. Junior Nationals, just missing an invite to U.S. Nationals.
“This is Will’s senior year. He really wanted it,” Yingling said. “Last summer, he dedicated his training to the water ramps.”
Jansen (18) also had an opportunity to work with aerial coach Troy Murphy, a former U.S. Olympian with Telluride ties.
Jansen’s results this season saw a big jump, according to his coach.
“He was persistent this year. He put it all together,” Yingling said. “He had good podium results all season. He’s in elite company now.”
Yingling said that the top 35 skiers in their divisions qualify for the U.S. Nationals, along with current U.S. Ski Team members.
“Ella (Jansen) is an amazing competitor … an incredible competitor,” Yingling said. “She’s getting stronger, faster and more determined.”
The 16-year-old won a junior division championship in dual moguls at Snowbird last week. She also won the Telluride duals earlier this season.
“It was great to see Anna (qualify),” Yingling said of the 15-year-old. “Anna’s had a tough year; some of her results were not what she wanted.”
But her summer training that netted her first backflips eventually paid when her late-season results qualified Smith for the U.S. Nationals.
The Telluride trio will compete this week at the U.S. Freestyle Championships, where the two-time overall defending women’s champion is Telluride’s Keaton McCargo — who grew up skiing with TSSC.
“One of the key things for us this year was our alumni coming out and skiing with the kids, like Keaton McCargo,” Yingling said. “That’s been really, really important for our skiers. Anna really responded (to the alumni input).
McCargo, who represented the United States and Telluride at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, retired from the U.S. Ski Team after last season.
She’s skied with the TSSC mogul skiers, offering tips and insight.
“There’s nothing like a lift ride with an Olympian,” said Yingling, who added that Hannah Kearney and other legends provide invaluable support.
McCargo also served as a Telluride tour guide for the U.S. Ski Team’s mogul skiers, who trained in Tellluride during the first week of January.
The U.S. team is led by Caleb Martin, a former freestyle director with TSSC.
The Telluride club skiers had the chance for a close-up look at the best of the best.
“Seeing them ski, train was inspiring,” Yingling said. “It was a real positive for our skiers.”
He said the incredible snow this season also was a huge positive for the developing mogul skiers.
“This winter has been amazing. The conditions allow for a real safe environment (for freestyle skiing,” he said. “This is the first year we decided not to go to Summit County (for early season training). We stayed in the Southwest this year, and I think it paid off.”
Yingling also was quick to credit the work of assistant coach Scott Bahrke, a 2010 Olympic aerialist.
That level of support and coaching is a testament to the Telluride tradition of mogul skiing, Yingling said.
Three other junior skiers who formerly trained with TSSC also will compete at U.S. Nationals, making a total of six skiers who grew up on Telluride’s bumps. They have relocated to Winter Park and Vail.
TSSC also qualified two U14 alpine racers for the USSA Rocky/Central Division Championships in Steamboat Springs.
Taylor Carlson and Mollie Mctigue of Telluride earned race invitations to the huge regional event.
“This is a very special honor and very difficult to qualify for,” said Justin Chandler, TSSC executive director. “It’s the culmination of years of hard work for those two dedicated alpine athletes.”