Saturday, April 19, 2014
Hannah Bergemann brought home three gold medals earlier this month from Copper Mountain, Colo., where she claimed national titles in slopestyle, halfpipe and rail jam events at the 2014 USASA National Championships.
The result concludes what has been a standout season for the Hood River Valley High School junior, who swept the competition on the HRV freestyle ski team earlier this year and finished as state champion in skiercross, rail jam, slopestyle and combined categories and earned the state’s female Skimeister award as the top crossover skier in both freestyle and alpine categories.
Competing in the girls 16-18 division during the April 5-9 nationals, Bergemann, who automatically qualified for this year’s championships as the defending national skiercross champion and runner-up in rail jam, went unopposed to win the halfpipe contest but had to beat out strong fields of skiers to win the other two titles.
“The level of competition was pretty good,” said Bergemann, who is sponsored by and works at 2nd Wind Sports in downtown Hood River. “There was a solid lineup of girls who were all pretty close to the same level, which made it pretty fun.”
Bergemann was meant to compete in the skiercross event as well, but she said she was watching another contest and accidentally missed her race.
“I wasn’t too disappointed about it,” she said of missing the race. “I enjoy skiercross, but my real focus is on the other events.”
In the slopestyle event, competitors got two runs down the course of rails, sliders and kickers. Bergemann laid down a first run that was meant to be her safety, but was good enough to win the event — albeit just barely as runner-up Hailey Cecie of Sandpoint, Idaho, wasn’t far behind.
“The strategy of slopestyle is to do a safety run that you know you can complete, then do a more risky second run.” Bergemann said. “Since I completed my first, I decided to try some new tricks, but I fell.
“The jumps were probably some of the biggest I have been on. There was a big side and a smaller side, and I was the only girl in my heat who was hitting the big ones. I think the other girls were worried about getting enough speed to clear the big side.”
The rail jam event featured a fast-action 15-minute heat that gives skiers as many tries down the course (and hiking back up) as they can get in the allotted time. Bergemann finished ahead of competitors from Michigan, Idaho, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey, as well as fellow Hood River-ite Callie Crumpacker, who finished sixth in the event.
“It’s a cool scene, being there with kids from all over the country who have the same passions and goals,” she said.
Bergemann works at 2nd Wind Sports throughout the year and during the summer and says she will balance her work and social life with freestyle training at Timberline.
“It’s definitely a privilege to be able to ski year round here; a lot of people don’t get to do that,” she says.
The next level of progression for Bergemann, which she says she wants to pursue, is the Revolution Tour, which serves as a major stepping stone for young skiers and snowboarders who want to move into the realm of pro-level competition.
She gave a special thanks to her parents and 2nd Wind Sports for their support.
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The secret agents of Big Winds may not exactly be Tommy Lee Jones oand Will Smith, but they still discovered there is plenty of strangeness to be found in Hood River...especially once winter sets in. Enlarge