April 2, 2012

Crested Butte Juniors Podium at Taos

1st, Brittany Barefield of CBMST, 2nd, Eliza Donahue of Taos, 3rd, Abby Ward of Winter Park

Crested Butte Junior Athletes Represent at Taos!

Led by coach Ed Dujardin and ski super mom Lisa Straubhaar Blunck, a crew of juniors on the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team went down to Taos, NM for the Taos JETA, a national IFSA junior event.  After the Junior Freeskiing Tour event was cancelled at Crested Butte, a junior competition was created at Taos run by a new organization called the Junior Events Tour of the Americas (JETA).  “JETA was created in order to provide more events for the kids.  We were frustrated that every Junior Freeskiing Tour event sold out in mere minutes, so we decided that more events would be helpful to the kids and the overall growth of our sport,” stated Nick Whittemore, founder of JETA.  In addition, standings from this Taos event would count towards overall point standing in the Junior Freeskiing Tour.  So a hungry group from the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team packed up the suburban and made their way south.

Matt Evans 3rd Place Taos JETA 2012 from West Elk Project on Vimeo.


The Crested Butte team consisted of Brittany Barefield, Josie Byron, Nolan Blunck, and Matt Evans.  Despite the team’s small numbers, they made their presence felt immediately, exhibiting some of the strongest skiing there.  Brittany Barefield dominated the Girls 12-14 division, winning by 2.33 points.  In the Girls, 15-18, Josie Byron skied fluidly and consistently, placing third, only two tenths of a point behind second place.  In the Boys 15-18, Nolan Blunck and Matt Evans sat in 11th and 6th respectively after day one.  Soft conditions allowed the boys to send it in finals.  Unfortunately, Blunck went over the handle bars in an attempt to link two fifteen foot airs together, finishing in 16th.  Matt Evans threw down the second highest scoring run of the competition, executing three 360’s and punctuating his run with a large air to straight-line.  Matt’s strong performance helped him capture 3rd place.

Up next for Crested Butte athletes are the Junior Freeskiing National Championships at Snowbird and the USASA National Championships at Copper.  The big mountain team hopes to continue its recent surge with a strong performance in Junior Freeskiing’s biggest stage.  The weekend is especially big for Josie Byron, who will compete at Snowbird and immediately leave for skier-cross nationals at Copper. Byron has reached the podium at her last two freeskiing events (on broken skis), and won her last skier cross race.  Look for big things from the Blunck brothers, Aaron and Nolan.  Aaron is going to Nationals with strong halfpipe performances at the Aspen Open and the Junior Olympics at Innsbruck under his belt.  Snowbird is Nolan’s last freeskiing event as a junior, and the Romp Skis athlete is looking  to go out with a bang.

Congratulations to all the athletes and good luck in Snowbird for the finals of the Junior Freeskiing Tour! West Elk Project is cheering for you!

Thanks to the IFSA for podium photos.  Check out more information and photos on their Facebook.  Thanks to CBMST coach Ed Dujardin for contributing to this article.


About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.