Onondaga County On Feb. 23, at Snow Ridge Ski Area, these young alpine ski racers from the Toggenburg Junior Ski Racing team qualified to join the best ski racers in the state at the U14 New York State Ski Racing Championships. This year’s state championships were held at Holiday Valley Resort on March 1-2 and at Windham Mountain Ski Resort on March 8.
The athletes competed in Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Giant Slalom, all different disciplines requiring different sets of skills.
This group of racers competes in the Central New York Council which is one of six councils in New York State under the umbrellas of the New York State Ski Racing Association and the United States Ski Association.
In the regular season, they compete against the other CNY council teams: Greek Peak, Labrador Mounatin and Song Mountain, along with an inter-council race against the Adirondack Council.
Making it to the State Championships is difficult to do. Racers are selected on individual results,
not by team. A limited number of athletes qualify from each council.
The CNY Council generates some of the best racers in the state and also in the Northeast. Toggenburg Junior Race Association has an outstanding track record for advancing racers of all ages to the state championships, and also to the national level.
These athletes generally train between three to five days/nights each week, with races on weekends. Their season begins with dry land training in the fall and then moves to the snow from December well into March.
They diligently train and race in the harshest conditions of winter. Risk of injury can be high due to the elements, combined with the high speeds that ski racing requires.
Not only are these kids dedicated to their sport, they also excel in the classroom and contribute to their communities.
Out of this group Paige Petrell and Justin Kim advanced to the Northeastern Championships held in Stowe, Vt., March 14-17. Paige Petrell advanced to the U14 Can- Am Championships, which is the championship race for North America that is held at Sugarloaf, Maine.