Last season, Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club athletes Sophia Tozzi and Paige Doyle were in their first year competing in FIS, which meant no points, which meant starting from the back.
That long season of learning experience was supposed to culminate at the U.S. National Alpine championships. That did not happen, as COVID-19 cut the season short.
Instead, those two, along with Oliver Parazette, finally got to nationals last week at Copper Mountain, Colorado, where all three came away with finishes that should give good indication that they’re ready to explode this season.
Tozzi’s slate was highlighted by a 10th-place finish in the downhill, Doyle took 11th place in downhill, and Parazette notched an eight-place showing in slalom.
“This is one of the higher levels these kids have raced at yet,” alpine coach Seppi Stiegler said. “It’s a pretty big deal for them to be competing at it. I was pretty impressed.”
Tozzi also placed 11th in another downhill race, 23rd and 28th in giant slalom races and 24th in slalom. Doyle took 12th in a second downhill race, 29th and 38th in giant slalom races and 16th and 19th in super-G races. Parazette was 19th in a giant slalom, and 25th and 27th in super-G races.
“It’s hard to see at national level races because they’re still the young ones in this race,” Stiegler said, “racing against national team athletes and World Cup athletes, so you have to keep it in perspective.”
Tozzi joined Parazette on the national development team, which meant those two were able to train with national team athletes.
All good signs as this season gets underway.
“Looking at the year over year — I’ll go back and look at vids and results and see where they were — there’s been a lot of change and a lot of maturity,” Stiegler said. “They’re still at the front end of the curve. It’s pretty impressive those changes year after year.”
The club’s alpine team will be out in full force next month. Snow King is set to host a Western Region FIS race beginning Dec. 17.