ConVal sophomore heading to freeski nationals

  • Jared Crooker, a 16-year-old ConVal sophomore from Bennington, is headed to the USASA freeski national championships in Colorado. Courtesy of Julian Laeng—

  • Jared Crooker, a 16-year-old ConVal sophomore from Bennington, is headed to the USASA freeski national championships in Colorado. Courtesy of Julian Laeng—

  • Jared Crooker, a 16-year-old ConVal sophomore from Bennington, is headed to the USASA freeski national championships in Colorado. PHOTO BY Julian Laeng

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/1/2019 3:27:37 PM

Jared Crooker lives right next to Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride, so it’s not unusual to see him working his way through the CM Park on almost an every day basis.

He grew up skiing on Crotched since the age of five thanks to a nudge from his parents and by middle school he was up for a new challenge. A lot of his friends had started riding in the mountain’s terrain parks and “I thought it looked fun,” Crooker said.

Now a sophomore at ConVal, it’s safe to say Crooker has excelled at freeski slopestyle. The 16-year-old from Bennington is heading to Copper Mountain in Colorado at the end of the week for the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s freeski national championships.

“That was kind of an overall goal for me, to get enough points to go,” Crooker said.

Crooker will compete against the best slopestyle freeski juniors (16 to 17 year olds) in the country in what will be the biggest competition of his life. But Crooker isn’t putting any kind of pressure or expectations when he takes to the terrain park at Copper Mountain on April 10. He enters the event ranked 36th with 2,650 points, and knows the kind of skiers he’s up against.

All Crooker is concerned with is putting together a pair of good runs and enjoying the experience. He loves skiing at new mountains and has heard nothing but great things about Copper, so he’s looking forward to the days of training as much as the actual competition.

“Training isn’t really training for me. It’s more just fun,” he said. “But I do think I made a lot of improvement and built off a lot of tricks.”

That doesn’t mean Crooker isn’t hoping to put together his best run of the season. Since the event is made up of two runs – with the best score counting toward his final place – Crooker has a plan going into every competition.

“I try to have a solid first run,” he said.

If he lands all his tricks and hits all the rails on his first time down the course, that’s when Crooker will break out some bigger, more complex stuff that he’s been working on. And he’s always trying new stuff, like when he finally got down his switch 900, which in turn made his 720s even better. He typically likes to wait until he’s consistently landing something before taking it to a competition, but has a few things that he’d like to try at nationals.

“Competitions are just a way for me to push myself,” he said. “It gives me more of an incentive to try new tricks.”

But Crooker never really knows exactly what he’s going to do until he’s had a chance to take a few practice runs down the mountain.

“I want to see the setup because it’s different for every mountain,” Crooker said.

The top three scores from the USASA regional schedule is what qualifies skiers for nationals, and Crooker hoped he did enough during the season to be invited. He was first at Sunday River on Jan. 6 and took second later that month at Mount Snow. His score was rounded out by a fifth place finish Feb. 24 at Mount Sunapee. Even though he was in the second round of picks, Crooker knows he’s good enough to be there.

“I’m really just happy I made it,” he said. “And I’m going to do the best I can.”

A year ago, Crooker competed in a United States Ski and Snowboard Association series, but made the switch because of the proximity of events.

“I wanted my competitions to be more local,” he said.

It’s really just about the sport. He’s been doing it for most of his life and something he wants to continue to do – competing or not – for years to come.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2019 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy