Purgatory freestylers start season strong

Smith sisters lead their team at Vail

Results from the first two competitions of the season have put Purgatory Freestyle Team’s Hannah Smith in good position to qualify for a combined slot in Junior Nationals. Smith posted a career-high moguls run and placed 12th overall in a Rocky Mountain Division competition last weekend in Vail. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Purgatory Freestyle Team

Results from the first two competitions of the season have put Purgatory Freestyle Team’s Hannah Smith in good position to qualify for a combined slot in Junior Nationals. Smith posted a career-high moguls run and placed 12th overall in a Rocky Mountain Division competition last weekend in Vail.

Sisters Hannah and Sadie Smith posted personal bests in moguls to lead performances of the Purgatory Freestyle Team last weekend at Vail.

Hannah Smith placed 12th overall in a field of 50 female athletes, and Sadie placed third among J3 girls.

The second Rocky Mountain Division U.S. Ski Association event of the season for the Purgatory team included the top freestyle mogul skiers older than 13 from across the state.

Purgatory’s Natalie Youssef earned a top-20 finish, posting a personal best. Her brother Nathan Youssef posted his career-best run in placing 19th in a field of 56 male skiers.

George McQuinn and Shane Ellis posted sixth- and seventh-place finishes among J3 skiers.

The Purgatory Team was coming off of its first competition the week before at Steamboat, where it had top results in aerials from Natalie Lyon. She earned bronze and silver medals, backed up with a ninth in J2 moguls and eighth in dual moguls.

Natalie Youssef earned a silver and Hannah Smith bronze in aerials.

McQuinn earned a silver in aerials and placed fourth in J3 moguls with hopes of recapturing his combined crown at Junior Nationals again this year.

Teammates Coleman Bader and Jimmy Pope were sixth and 10th, respectively, in J3 moguls. Nathan Youssef took 12th among J1 skiers.

“Our athletes are progressing nicely up to the big leagues,” said Kirk Rawles, program director for Purgatory Freestyle. “It was a great two weeks for these young athletes as most of them are competing for a combined slot to Junior Nationals. They did well in each discipline.”

Combined skiers earn points in the three disciplines of halfpipe, moguls and aerials. After the two events, Lyon, Hannah Smith and McQuinn are in good spots to qualify.

The Purgatory Freestyle Team will compete in Aspen this weekend, then look to defend home turf at Chapman Hill on Jan. 26-27.

“We are excited to host the USSA mogul events at Chapman again this year,” Rawles said. “With the new contouring of the hill, it will be an incredible spectator event.”

Single-run moguls are scheduled for Jan. 26 with dual moguls taking place Jan. 27 at Chapman Hill. The competition runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.