Sugar Bowl Academy alumni, Luke Winters wins slalom junior national title at Sugarloaf

The 2017 Junior National Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine, were shortened this year with only a men’s and women’s slalom and GS. In years past, Junior Nationals was only for U19s, while this year, U19s were combined U21s to create a far more competitive outcome.

Sugarloaf has a reputation for bringing out the toughest ski racers partly because of its wild weather. The looming cloud cover provided hard snow in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday (March 29-30)  and softened the surface by the afternoon for the men’s and women’s second runs both days. The courses developed a few bumps and holes, making for challenging terrain, but all together stellar snow and conditions.

Luke Winters of the National Training Group (NTG) and Sugar Bowl Academy walked away from the weekend with a slalom junior national title and a third-place GS finish just days after grabbing ninth in the slalom at U.S. Nationals.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Winters says referring to his competition. “It’s been a long year for me, but sometimes you actually get rejuvenated when you know there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. I had also skied well at U.S. Nationals so I was ready when Junior Nationals came around.”

Jett Seymour of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, who held the lead after the first slalom run, trailed closely behind Winters. Winters was able to push Seymour out of the lead with a total time difference of only 0.25 seconds after taking on the wide turn set in the second course. Jack Keane of the NTG and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) moved up one spot on the second run to take third for U21s and second for U19s. Meanwhile, Spencer Smith of Stratton Mountain School wrapped up the U19 podium in third place.

The courses were challenging, but the slalom sets were reasonable for the ladies as the snow firmed up and the skies cleared out.

The University of Denver’s Storm Klomhaus and U.S. Ski Team’s Keely Cashman went head-to-head in the slalom for the top women’s honors, with Klomhaus holding on to her first-run lead for the overall win by only 0.19 seconds. “[Junior Nationals] wasn’t really on my radar at all,” notes Klomhaus, a first-year U19. “I actually made a last-minute decision to come out and race these for my spring break, and it’s been super cool my first year in college skiing. The whole season has been a blast.”

Hannah Utter of the NTG and Green Mountain Valley School wasn’t far behind Klomhaus and Cashman with a strong second run that allowed her to bring home the bronze medal.


As for the GS, a few bumps in the course didn’t stop these female powerhouses from cranking out the fast turns. With a high-level field of athletes, the penalties ranged from the teens to low 20s. Cashman may have been beat out by Klomhaus in the slalom, but she claimed retribution in the GS, taking home the title. “I had a lot of big goals this season like NorAm wins, but this season has not been so great for me with my DNF rate,” says Cashman. “I was hoping for a top-five finish at U.S. Nationals and when that didn’t happen, I was using Junior Nationals as my last chance, so it’s nice to have this title.”

The U.S. Ski Team’s Galena Wardle launched a comeback after a slow first run with a much stronger second run that slid her into second place overall. Rachael Desrochers of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail took third for U21s while Claire Thomas of the Park City Ski Team grabbed the bronze for U19s.

On the men’s side, Erik Arvidsson of the U.S. Ski Team led the GS by a significant margin after the first run. But he skied a bit too conservatively on his second run, allowing his teammate George Steffey to come roaring back to take the win. “The skiing has been really good for me this season so far. I found a lot of speed in my skiing this year with my Rossignol set up,” remarks Steffey. “I executed what I wanted to execute and was happy with how I skied.”

Winters wasn’t about to leave Junior Nationals without two podium finishes. He finished up the GS with two solid runs and now enters the spring racing season with a bit of confidence to dig into. For the U19s, River Radamus (U.S. Ski Team) skied a tactical and clean line to claim the title. Andrew Miller of the NTG and Park City Ski Team finished second with Kyle Negomir (SSCV) nipping at his heels in third place.

This year’s inaugural combination of U19s and U21s at Junior Nationals consisted of a GS and a slalom while the U.S. Nationals super-G race counted toward the Junior Nationals race. This turned out to be beneficial for those who were exhausted with the long playbook of races in years past. By adding the super-G into U.S. Nationals, it allowed for one less day of racing after a long season. Juniors who qualified for the super-G at U.S. Nationals were able to race early at Sugarloaf and then make their way to Junior Nationals only a couple days later.

“The goal this year was to raise the level of competition and have our best juniors competing head-to-head for a meaningful national title,” says USSA Alpine Development Director Chip Knight. “We had average GS and SL penalties of 19 for the men and 24 for the women, which were 10 points lower than at the U19 Championships last year. Almost all of our junior C- and D-team athletes stayed after the U.S. Alpine Championships to compete, and the atmosphere was competitive and a lot of fun.”

By Megan Ganim - Contributor

To view the full men’s GS results, click here
To view the full women’s GS results, click here
To view the full men’s slalom results, click here
To view the full women’s slalom results, click here


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.






Sugar Bowl Academy announces Ryan Aldrich, Head, Sugar Bowl Academy

Dear SBSTA Community Members:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am excited to announce the unanimous appointment of Ryan Aldrich as Head, Sugar Bowl Academy, effective July 1, 2017. Ryan is a graduate of Colby College, and holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Denver.  Ryan brings 18 years ofindependent school experience to his new role at Sugar Bowl Academy. Ryan is well prepared to succeed Tracy Keller, and lead SBA into our next chapter.

Ryan is currently the Upper School Director at Tahoe Expedition Academy and has taken on many roles at TEA. He has extensive experience in admissions and college counseling. While at the White Mountain School in New Hampshire he was responsible for all aspects of college counseling and financial aid for 130 students. He co-chaired the self-study report and accreditation process. Ryan led the implementation and administration of a personalized learning platform while at TEA. He has proven to be a leader within the TEA community having led the effort to attract, support, and retain excellent staff and to transform the curriculum. He worked alongside the business manager and CEO to manage budgets and long term financial plans.  Ryan is eager to apply his craft in leading SBA and to work with SBSTA staff members as we advance Sugar Bowl Academy.

An excerpt from Ryan’s application follows to give a glimpse of his approach and philosophy to education. In a rapidly changing and connected world where the skills for tomorrow are continually transforming and often unknown, global awareness and a well-rounded education that emphasizes the importance of both our creative and linear minds is necessary.”

We wish to thank the entire search committee of staff, alumni, parents and Trustees for their tireless efforts culminating in Ryan’s appointment. I look forward to welcoming Ryan to our community. We will be hosting a meet and greet this month, on Saturday, March 25th. We will send out an invitation soon. There will be additional opportunities to meet Ryan throughout the Spring and Fall.

Please join us in welcoming Ryan to SBSTA. 

Thank you

Steve Shray                                                    Kate Krehbiel & Dr. Jim Taylor

Chair, SBSTA Board of Trustee                    Co-Leaders SBSTA Head Search Committee