Built on a Tradition of Excellence

SMS Freestyle takes on FIS Comps at Home and Abroad, with Shaffer `17 claiming Gold in Finland

February 07, 2019
STRATTONSMS Freestyle has enjoyed an outstanding start to 2019, topping podiums at events hosted by Sunday River, Whiteface, Killington, and Bristol—and over the past week, our Freestyle athletes have taken on a trio of FIS events both at home and abroad, culminating in a 1st place Europa Cup podium for Postgraduate LuLu Shaffer `17 on February 5. 
“It was highly unusual for our athletes to attend these FIS events and quite a special opportunity,” said SMS Freestyle Director Deb Newson. “It’s not at all common for US athletes to attend Europa Cups, since they have a full schedule in the winter of regional competitions and/or FIS NorAm’s.”
Head Coach Sam Tarrant saw a window of opportunity, Newson said, and requested entry from U.S. Ski and Snowboard for two FIS Europa Cups in Finland. All the while, Tarrant led a crew of FIS athletes at home as they prepared to compete in the two-day FIS Nor-Am hosted by Stratton Mountain Resort

Stratton Resort, our home mountain, and the Stratton Winter Sports Club hosted the first stop on the FIS Freestyle Skiing NorAm Tour,” Tarrant said. “It was exciting to have a major event in our backyard, and 96 athletes from six countries competed on our challenging course. We were psyched to show off our SMS Campus and Air Awareness Center to many of the NorAM athletes.”

The FIS Nor-Am at Stratton. Photo: SMS Parent Hank Kosinski.

Extremely cold temperatures throughout the training days thankfully gave way to warmer temps for the event on the weekend, and SMS Freestyle athletes Lauren Hilgert `18 and Peter Tiktinsky `16 both enjoyed career-best finishes in Saturday’s mogul event finishing 13th and 11th respectively. Tiktinsky skied one of the fastest times, finishing 5th amongst the US athletes, with Harrison Schunk `17 following in 31st and Henry Kosinski `19 in 44th. [View official results from FIS for Saturday’s Ladies’ and Men’s mogul competitions.]

The FIS Nor-Am at Stratton. Photo: SMS Parent Hank Kosinski.

Big crowds showed up on Sunday for the Dual Mogul event on Stratton’s World Cup course, with Kosinski advancing into the round of 32 and ultimately losing a close dual to end his day in 25th. Hilgert scored a 24th place finish followed by Schunk in 57th and Tiktinsky in 58th. This crew is now headed to Val St-Come, Quebec for another FIS Nor-Am on February 9 and 10. [View official results from FIS for Sunday’s Ladies’ and Men’s dual mogul competitions.]

The FIS Nor-Am at Stratton. Photo: SMS Freestyle Head Coach Sam Tarrant.

Meanwhile, Newson’s crew landed in Taivalvaara, Finland for the first of two FIS Europa Cups. Shaffer led the SMS crew in the Moguls competition on February 1, finishing 6th overall. Marissa Vasatka `19 followed closely in 7th and Skylar Slettenne `22 rounded out the results for the SMS ladies with her 11th place finish. Nate Caplan `19 finished 24th to lead the men, with Gavin Tobey `21 in 28th, Will Haljun `22 placing 34th, Nick Schied `22 in 37th, and Spencer Latterman `20 finishing 40th. Slettenne topped the SMS results in Dual Moguls the following Day, finishing 16th, and Caplan landed 18th. Latterman, Tobey, and Schied finish 20, 21, and 22, followed by Haljun in 43rd. [View official results from FIS for the Ladies’ and Men’s mogul competitions, and the Ladies’ and Men’s dual mogul competitions on February 1 and 2.]

It was in Jyväskylä, however, that SMS Freestyle truly dominated with Shaffer winning the top spot overall, Vasatka taking 9th, and Slettenne claiming 18th in Moguls on February 5. Caplan finished 28th with Latterman just behind in 31st, and Tobey and Haljun rounded out the results, finishing 34th and 37th respectively.  

Slettenne found her way into the top-ten on February 6 for Dual Moguls with an 8th place finish, and Caplan also earned his best result of the week, taking 17th. Tobey finished 25th followed by Latterman and Schied in 33rd and 34th. [View official results from FIS for the Ladies’ and Men’s mogul competitions, and the Ladies’ and Men’s dual mogul competitions on February 5 and 6.]

The SMS Freestyle crew in Finland. Photo: SMS Freestyle Director Deb Newson.

The SMS Freestyle Crew at Stratton. Photo: SMS Freestyle Head Coach Sam Tarrant.

It provided our FIS athletes recovering from injury international event experience when they were not ready to qualify for the NorAm’s in December,” Newson explained. “It also allowed our younger athletes to experience this level of competition at an early age, giving them a better understanding of what to strive for.”

Next, this crew returns home to Stratton for USSA events this weekend. Congratulations to all of our Freestyle athletes on an impressive week of competition—we can’t wait to see what’s ahead!

Stratton Mountain School is an independent boarding and day school that focuses on college preparatory academics and competitive winter sports. Located at the base of Stratton Mountain, SMS serves students in grades 7 – 12.


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