Little snow around the region never slowed down the Purgatory Freestyle Ski Team this season.
The team traveled to Winter Park for the Rocky Mountain Freestyle State Mogul Championships and conquered the course en route to state championships and plenty of podium finishes. The skiers, ages 8 to 14, faced a course that saw a foot of new snow in the competition against more than 100 athletes from Aspen, Pajarito, Steamboat Springs, Summit County, Telluride, Vail and Winter Park.
During Friday’s Rocky Qualifier Series races, Amara Kirk won a gold medal in the girls 11-and-under category. She won the Devo series a year ago and moved up to the RQS series for the 2017-18 season and didn’t miss her chance to win a RQS gold medal.
In the 11-and-under boys race, it was Amara Kirk’s brother Balin who claimed a silver medal with teammate Chase Connors right behind in third place for a bronze.
Lucy Klotz was the top Purgatory racer in the 13-and-under girls category, as she claimed ninth-place overall finish and fifth in her category. It was her highest-scoring run of the season. Megan Faherty had the 11th-best overall run and was fifth in the 15-and-under girls field that featured 33 athletes.
Stephen Boone placed 11th overall and seventh among 13-and-under boys in a loaded field of more than 50 athletes.
Skiers saw bluebird conditions during Saturday’s races, and Purgatory claimed another gold medal. This time, it was Corbett Thomas who posted the highest score in the field to win the 11-and-under Devo category. He recovered from a nasty crash that split open his chin before stepping back into his skis to claim gold.
Purgatory also saw a big run in the Devo races from Montana “Big Sky” Faherty, who had her top aerial score of the season to finish 21st.
The final day of racing saw a field of 64 athletes line up for dual moguls races on the Bradley’s Bash mogul course. Boone earned some redemption and claimed a silver medal. Purgatory Freestyle Ski Team program director Kirk Rawles said he gained some confidence in the early rounds and took out some of the top skiers to take second place.
“Just really proud of our team and their performance at this level,” Rawles said. “You look up the competition course and realize that our future Olympians will come from some of these athletes we saw today and that some could come from Purgatory. It gives you chills.”
Six of the eight U.S. Ski Team’s Olympians for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea are former members of Colorado teams, Rawles said.