U.S. freestyle moguls and halfpipe skiers will be in the hunt for a national title as the final leg of the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships lands at Squaw Valley March 27-29.
"We haven't had a major event at Squaw Valley in quite a while. It's going to be awesome to go there. It's a great mountain to ski," U.S. Moguls Head Coach Scott Rawles said. "Nationals is always fun for everyone because we get to see who else is on the radar out there. It's just a really good way to finish out the year."
The action kicks off Friday with men's and women's moguls where 2008 champions Emiko Torito (Denver) and Michael Morse (Duxbury, MA) are in the hunt to defend their titles against a field of stacked competitors that includes World Cup moguls champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT), World Championship gold medalist Pat Deneen (Cle Elum, WA), and Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA).
"We've never really had an event in my home town, so I am really excited. It's going to be awesome," Bahrke said. "The competition site is at the bottom of the mountain, so everyone can watch without having to ski. Squaw just has such a great vibe. It's an awesome mountain with lots of local people and I know that Squaw is going to do a really good job."
While three-time U.S halfpipe champion Jen Hudak (Park City, UT) will not be competing due to an injury, fellow three-peeter David Wise (Reno, NV) will be returning from a second place finish during World Cup finals to attempt to make it four back-to-back national titles Saturday during the halfpipe title event.
"It means something to have that title. It was kind of the event that started my career and it means a lot to be the U.S. champion and have that under your belt. People know that that's who you are - best in the U.S. at least for one day," Wise said. "Every year U.S. Championships has been my event because it's towards the end of the season and I've got my game on and I'm skiing really well, and I don't think this year is going to be any different. I'm skiing better than I ever have been."
Wrapping the weekend with dual moguls 2008 U.S. champs Michelle Roark (Denver) and Morse are geared up to compete against the nation's best in order to reclaim their titles.
"I'm excited to go to Squaw. There are still a lot of things I want to work on in my skiing and having one competition left to do it is good. I'll hopefully ski my best and if I'm lucky I can do well again and defend my titles," Morse said.
Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships will be televised on the cable station Versus on Saturday, April 4 at 5 p.m. ET and Saturday, April 11 at 4 p.m. ET. Air dates and times are subject to change, please check local listings.