By Charlie Brown
This past Sunday, the Big Air contest returned to Sugarbush North. The groomers worked on the course all week to ensure that the "biggest and the baddest" of jumps would be available for the contestants. The day was fairly mild for this time of the year, but a stiff wind kept the temperature from getting too hot. However, the contestants would see to it that while the air wasn't hot, they sure were. Onlookers lined the perimeter of the landing area, while some chose to view things from the deck. Digital and video cameras in hand, the proud but somewhat apprehensive parents looked on as the contestants went through some preliminary jumps. Sugarbush master photographer Sandy Macy's secured himself a prominent position in which to get the best photographs of the competition, and the competition was on.
There was little doubt why people were drawn to this particular event. I mean these kids got "up there." It was not only the height that impressed you but the degree of difficulty. I mean there were "back scratchers," "spread eagles" and "360s" that made the bottom of your stomach fall out as you watched in utter amazement. It seemed to me that there used to be a lot of "older" contestants in past competitions, but no matter these kids soared. With the crowds urging them on, the contestants put on a show that was worthy of the Olympics.
So spring is just around the corner, and with the Dummy Big Air and Pond Skimming coming up there will be plenty of excitement during the next few weeks. Since Valentine's Day the Mad River Valley has had some of the best skiing we have had in years.
The Big Air competition drew 90 talented young skiers from all over central Vermont, who made their way to Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush to compete in the USSA EQS Central Regional Finals in Moguls. The youth, anywhere from 10 to 14 years old, put their knees and aerial maneuvers to the test in the bump course on Spring Fling.
Jake Becker from Stratton took top prize for the boys with a solid time and a great line. His Heli 360 off the first jump and the twister spread on the second landed him on the podium. Sugarbush Diamond Dog skier Samuel Greshin finished eighth overall and will continue on to the Eastern Championship at Sunday River, ME.
In the women's field Aspen Witt, also from Stratton, took first for her flawless performance and best time. Congratulations go out to Sugarbush team skiers Mackenzie Boylan, Lindsey Mustard and Bess Martin, who finished second, seventh and eighth, respectively.