Norden, CA (March 22, 2017) - Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy (SBSTA), Sophomore, Haydn Halvorsen won two U16 National titles last week at Junior National Championships in Lake Placid, NY. Low-snow conditions forced the organizers to move the races to a more challenging back-up venue at the ski jump complex, site of the 1980 Olympic Ski Jumping competition. Racing commenced on Monday, March 6th with the individual start 5 km freestyle race.
The course consisted of two laps of a 2.5 km loop, featuring a long climb out of the stadium to the high point of the course. Though time splits from the course indicated that many U16s were equal on the climb, Haydn excelled on the latter half of the course, skiing the transitions and downhills aggressively to take a 5.3-second win over Johnny Hagenbuch of Sun Valley. Almost 30 seconds back in 3rd was Will Koch of Stratton Mountain School. “As soon as the race started I forgot all my worries and skied naturally and powerfully. I knew the race was going well when I was skiing it not because of the countless splits I was receiving but by how I was skiing.” Halvorsen said.
Racing continued on Wednesday, March 8th with the classic sprint races. The 1.5 kilometer course featured most of the distance loop, minus the upper part and racers began the day with the individual start qualifier. Haydn skied away from the competition, registering an almost 8.5-second win over second place.
Late in the afternoon, the U16 heats began. Haydn skied a smart quarterfinal, conserving energy in 2nd place, while still assuring himself of qualifying for the semifinals. In the semifinal, Haydn skied away from the pack and was able to cruise the last 200 meters of the course to ensure his spot in the final. In the A-Final, Haydn employed the same tactics, getting out in front early and pushing the pace. Looking back on the race, Haydn said, “My first heat took me by shock all the boys went out hauling and it took me a split second to realize I needed to ski. After the first heat I knew I needed to get my head in the game and focus. I knew taking gold was going to be a hard challenge. I skied my semi final really relaxed and smart. It really boosted my confidence for the final.” Coming down the final descent, Haydn had a clear lead and was able to raise his arms in victory across the line, beating 2nd place finisher Will Koch, and 3rd place Lane Myshrall of Park City Nordic.
Nordic Coach, Christina Mishica remarked that, “Despite challenging conditions Haydn raced smart and it was great to see that his focus and dedication are reflected in his many top performances throughout the week!” Haydn’s two victories of the week were capped by a strong opening leg of the relay on Saturday, March 11.
The Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy (SBSTA) is a nationally recognized Alpine and Nordic ski team and ski academy that has produced multiple US Ski Team members, NCAA collegiate competitors, National champions across all age groups, and numerous nationally ranked athletes. Sugar Bowl Academy, located in Norden, CA, is the country’s only ski in/ski out ski academy. Sugar Bowl Academy inspires and empowers passionate, highly motivated students, setting the stage for competitive skiers to seek and celebrate challenge with grit, grace and courage. Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy student-athletes thrive on the dual pursuit of rigorous academics and competitive skiing in an environment that celebrates hard work and the pursuit of worthy goals.