The Rowmark Junior Program is now in full swing. We started the year off with an overnight camping trip in Ogden Valley, where we enjoyed some team bonding and paddleboarding with the Middle School students. September was all about physical conditioning and getting everyone set up with their ski equipment. October provided more time for conditioning, as well as our annual parent meetings for each program. We recently completed our dryland training sessions with our annual fitness testing. We had so many athletes set personal records in several test areas. This is a great reflection of the growth mindset used throughout our program. We are very proud of our team environment, which allows every student to pursue their personal best as they are encouraged by their teammates.
We have now moved into our fall on-snow prep period. These early season camps and local training sessions will prepare our athletes for the upcoming competition phase. We have a full roster, with a record number of 22 athletes in our Academy Prep program, along with 15 All-Stars and 12 All-Mountain Rippers. Our Love to Ski program for first and second graders is filling up fast too.
Our Academy Prep program has already returned from their first ski camp in Colorado (please see the summary of their camp below from Coach Matt Brown). We look forward to starting up our local training for all Rowmark students in December.
From Coach Matt Brown:
We had three days of beautiful Colorado sunny skies at both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Areas. We spent one day at A-Basin and two days at Loveland, and the snow was fantastic in both areas.
The hospitality from our hotel was perfect, with spacious rooms and space for meetings, studying, ski tuning, and hot breakfast. It was also a short, one-minute walk to restaurants for dinner, as well as close to our afternoon dryland activities.
We want to congratulate the athletes and coaches for coming in with a huge growth mindset to learn and support each other as a team over the entire camp. The daily schedule was super busy, with a 6 am wake-up for warm-up, breakfast, and loading, and lights out at 9 pm. We skied for about four hours daily, with the kids split randomly into different groups each day with different coaches, allowing the athletes and coaches to find what works best for each individual and to get to know each other on a deeper level. Most kids had new equipment, so it was also time to work out the kinks and break in the boots. Despite a few sore shins, we had a huge amount of success working on finding our stance and balance after not skiing for several months.
Our Rowmark team, which consists of many of the top junior alpine ski racers and student-athletes nationally and internationally, has been working very hard on a daily basis this past spring, summer, and fall in our rigorous on-snow and conditioning program. This program prepares our athletes to be in optimal physical condition as they prepare for the fast-approaching race season. Our coaches are seeing solid technical/tactical improvements and strong bonding across our team.
One of the special attributes of Rowmark is the way in which the athletes work together and support one another through all aspects of their experience. This was exemplified during our 11th Rowmark Ski Academy Bear Lake Challenge in early September. The orientation weekend is designed to test the Rowmarkers physically, mentally, and socially; to identify and develop leadership, spirit, and cooperation skills; and for team bonding. The event also helped identify our team captains for the year, as elected by their peers. This year’s captains are Mary Bocock, Layla Hijjawi, Ford Hodgkins, and Mason Schlopy, and we are looking forward to their leadership.
A commitment to year-round physical conditioning is a critical component to optimal performance on snow. Foreste Peterson, our new head women’s FIS coach and head conditioning coach, directs a dynamic, periodized daily physical training program that includes facets such as strength and power, cardio, plyometrics, quickness and coordination, flexibility, and cross-training and games.
We also are thrilled to have Brian Morgan move into our head men’s FIS coach role and, at the same time, Lyndsay Strange move up to work with our FIS team. We also welcome Jeremy Jakob to round out our FIS staff and the return of Skip Puckett to our U16 staff.
The theme of Rowmark Ski Academy’s summer and fall training period has been an ongoing exercise in flexibility and creativity as we piece together plans that have been constantly changing due to warm temperatures and lack of snow. We have been able to pull it off with a lot of patience and willingness to change plans, and we appreciate everyone’s ability to adapt on the fly.
Rowmark had an interesting start to our summer ski camp plans when, back in April, it became clear we needed to cancel our annual June trip to Mammoth Mountain, California. Normally a location with ample winter snowpack and excellent race-training conditions into late June, Mammoth had a low snow season (as did most of the western US) and had to close in late May. Instead, we skied eight days, over two Fridays and three weekends, at Snowbird in May, which turned out to be a productive alternative. We are thankful to Snowbird for providing terrain on the upper mountain, the Road to Provo bowl, where we were able to free-ski, kick off our drill progression, and train gates over the eight days.
We experienced a similar challenge for our next ski camp, scheduled in August at Mt. Hood, a dormant volcano and the highest peak in Oregon that normally has good snow for race training throughout the entire summer. The already low and quickly melting snowpack was devastated even further by a record heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, where temps reached into the 110s for several days in early July. We were fortunate to be able to reschedule our dates in mid-July before the snow completely disappeared, and we had an excellent camp for the Rowmarkers who were able to change their summer plans in order to attend.
Thankfully, our third ski camp, in Schnalstal, Italy, located in the heart of the South Tyrol Alps, went off as scheduled in early October, with excellent snow conditions. Our FIS team had a great camp and also enjoyed the two-week immersion in Italian mountain culture, with its stunning beauty and delicious cuisine.
Our most recent ski camp in Copper Mountain, Colorado, in late October also went off very successfully despite the continuing unusually warm fall weather. The 12,000-foot elevation of Copper’s training venue, located at the very top of the mountain, was well prepared with man-made snow, and both our FIS and U16 teams had a very productive giant slalom camp.
Our final on-snow camp is after Thanksgiving in Aspen, Colorado, before we begin our local training after Thanksgiving at the Utah Olympic Park and Park City Mountain. Aspen’s training venue is much lower in elevation, at 9,000 to 10,000 feet, and they are having challenges with the warm temperatures to make enough snow. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to pull off the Aspen camp. Stay tuned!
As the winter season approaches, the Rowmarkers are looking forward to putting their summer and fall on-snow training conditioning to the test. Their days will soon be filled beginning to end. Morning academic classes are followed by afternoon ski training, video review, ski tuning, and evenings of homework. Their race schedule takes them all over the country and, for a few, to Canada and Europe as well. The extensive travel causes Rowmarkers to miss several weeks of school throughout the winter, which tests their organizational, communication, and time-management skills. Their success hinges on the support of the Rowland Hall faculty and their extra efforts of frequent communication and consultation sessions, which allow the Rowmarkers to not only survive the academic load but often to excel. A big thank you goes out to these teachers for their commitment to making this happen.
In any case, the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have made the past year and a half particularly challenging for the sport of ski racing. It has certainly been an exercise in flexibility, as well as a true character-building period of time. We are proud of our Rowmark student-athletes for their ability to adapt and flourish in the strangest of times, and we can’t wait for the fast-approaching winter competition season.
As I take time to reflect on the past season, I see so many areas where the Rowmark Junior Program has been successful. I’m very proud of our program. As part of our team values, we focus on the skills of perseverance and determination. This past season has presented its challenges, yet in every case the Rowmark community has persevered. We had to adapt to a new race schedule splitting genders or teams. Parents stepped up to provide transportation and lodging as needed to meet protocols. Coaches have picked up extra hours and created training sessions to meet the needs of every athlete. The athletes continue to thrive as they find balance in pursuing their sport at the highest level and also stay committed to their academic workload.
Our training sessions at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) and Park City Mountain Resort continue to provide the ideal mix of terrain and course setting, allowing our athletes to develop new skills. We also continue to benefit from our use of the Ikon Pass, as we free-ski our local resorts: Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, and Brighton.
The return of our Love-to-Ski program for first- and second-grade students was a great success. Thanks to Wendy Hare for leading this group. Big shout-out to our Middle School athletes as they served as mentors, paving the way for the next generation. This was yet another area where the UOP venue provided exactly what we needed.
The month of March was full of championship events. We had Rowmarkers invited to all levels, and several podium finishes. A Rowmarker won the overall award in all three levels of championship events. Congrats to Paxton Cichos, Luke Kanarowski, and Jack Hoffman for winning the overall for their respective championship events.
YSL Finals, UOP, March 13–14
Harper Jensen: 2nd (U10)
Zoe Rankin: 3rd (U10)
Dylan Galen: 8th (U12)
Girls Giant Slalom
Harper Jensen: 4th (U10)
Zoe Rankin: 6th (U10)
Addison August: 9th (U12)
Dylan Galen: 10th (U12)
Asher Williams: WINNER (U10)
Will Hanlon: 9th (U10)
Paxton Cichos: WINNER (U12)
Niklas Tognina: 7th (U12)
Andrew Wentz: 9th (U12)
Boys Giant Slalom
Will Hanlon: WINNER (U10)
Asher Williams: 2nd (U10)
Andrew Wentz: 7th (U12)
Niklas Tognina: 10th (U12)
OVERALL WINNER: Paxton Cichos
IMD SS Champs, Snowbasin, March 17–19
Lukas Postnieks: 5th (slalom)
Niklas Tognina: 6th (giant slalom)
Zoe Rankin: 7th (giant slalom); 8th (slalom)
Harper Jensen: 5th (slalom)
Luke Kanarowski: 4th (giant slalom); WINNER (slalom)
Andrew Hanrahan: 5th (giant slalom); 3rd (slalom)
Rhys Schillinger: 9th (slalom)
Brynn Copinga: 4th (giant slalom)
Callie Lipson: 10th (slalom)
OVERALL WINNER: Luke Kanarowski
U14 IMD Champs, Jackson Hole, March 24–28
Sophia Hijjawi: 7th (super-G); 2nd (giant slalom)
Jack Hoffman: WINNER (super-G); 2nd (giant slalom); WINNER (slalom)
As I write this article, I’m in Squaw Valley, California. Jack Hoffman and Sophia Hijjawi both qualified to represent the Intermountain Division, as they were selected to attend a special development project hosted by the Western Region as an introduction to the National Development system. Jack and Sophia are joined with the best U14s in the Western US.
This has been a successful season and a true reflection of our core values, where everyone has preserved against the challenges of ski racing during a global pandemic.
Special thanks to our new staff members, Matt Brown, Parker Acosta, Jules Parke, Lucy Doyle, and Tiffany Flygare, for making a positive impact on our program during their first year.
Note regarding banner photo: Due to COVID-19 delays, 2020–2021 Rowmark Junior Programs photos have not yet been released. We will update the above banner image when we receive those photos.
Below are competition highlights of current Rowmarkers who captured top finishes during the last month of the season.
FIS Elite Races, California
Many of our U19s raced in FIS Elite races at Sugar Bowl Resort and Squaw Valley, California, in mid-March against the best 100 boys and 100 girls in the Western US.
Maddie Welling: Seventh overall (fifth for U19s) in slalom #1; eighth overall (and second for U19s) in slalom #2
Mary Bocock: 10th overall (and second for U19s) in giant slalom; 11th overall (and fourth for U19s) in slalom
Harry Hoffman: 10th overall (second for U19s) in slalom; 13th overall (second for U19s) in giant slalom
Divisional FIS Race, Wyoming
At the same time as the California races, Snow King Mountain Resort in Wyoming hosted a Divisional FIS race where the other half of our U19s competed.
Charlotte Altman: Eighth in slalom; 14th in giant slalom
Dagny Brickson: 15th in slalom
Preston Bolus: 19th in slalom; 19th in giant slalom
Tri-Divisional Championships, Montana
Many of our U16s raced in the Tri-Divisional Championships at Big Sky Resort in Montana from March 18–21.
Matt Siegal: First in super-G; eighth in giant slalom; seventh in slalom
Henry Cunningham: Second and third in super-G
Leo Martin: Ninth in giant slalom
Jack Zipp: 11th in slalom; 13th in giant slalom
Arden Louchheim: Second in super-G; third in giant slalom
Kaia Brickson: Fourth in slalom
Charlotte Morris: Fifth in slalom
Hayden Kaufman Schiller: Seventh in super-G
South Series Finals, Utah
U16 freshman Declan Morasch competed in the South Series Finals at Snowbasin, Utah, in late March, where he placed first in giant slalom.
77th Annual Snowcup, Utah
The 77th Annual Snowcup at Snowbird, Utah, held March 30 to April 2, was an excellent race for Rowmark, with outstanding finishes from across the team. Notably, Ian Hanrahan and Elisabeth Bocock won the prestigious Snowcup overall titles! Below are some standout finishes from this series.
Ian Hanrahan: Second in slalom; first and second in giant slalom; first overall
Jack Abuhaidar: Second in slalom; first and second in giant slalom
Ford Hodgkins: Third and third in slalom
Preston Bolus: 10th in slalom; fourth and seventh in giant slalom
Frank Stearns: Fifth and 11th in slalom
Karsten Schillinger: Sixth in slalom; 14th in giant slalom
Henry Cunningham: 10th in slalom; 13th in giant slalom
Elisabeth Bocock: First and first in giant slalom; first and second in slalom; first overall
Madi Dean: First and fifth in slalom; fifth and sixth in giant slalom
Mary Clancy: 12th in giant slalom; second and fifth in slalom
Charlotte Morris: 15th in slalom
Western Region U16 Championships, California
Three Rowmark athletes—Elisabeth Bocock, Lili Honey, and Karsten Shillinger—qualified to compete in the exclusive Western Region U16 Championships in Mammoth, California, which consists of the best U16 athletes in the entire Western Region of the United States. Elisabeth Bocock finished first in super-G, first in giant slalom, and second in slalom, securing her the Western Region Overall Championship and a spot in the U16 Nationals, which, unfortunately, was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols. Lili Honey and Karsten Shillinger both also had some strong top-25 finishes.
FIS Spring Series, California
Some of the FIS Rowmarkers managed to get a spot in the Squaw Spring Series races at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Post-graduate Madi Dean charged to a fifth and sixth in slalom, and junior Maddie Welling had some standout performances and secured 10th in giant slalom.
FIS Spring Series, Colorado
Mary Bocock won the giant slalom race in Breckenridge, Colorado. With this finish, Mary is now ranked second in the nation and sixth in the world in giant slalom for her age, as well as first and ninth in the world in super-G!
US National Championships, Colorado
Three of our FIS athletes had the outstanding achievement of qualifying to the prestigious US National Championships in Aspen from April 5–16. Harry Hoffman competed in the men’s US Nationals this past week with strong results, while Mary Bocock had an outstanding 12th in super-G and Maddie Welling had two top-30 finishes, with a 24th in the alpine combined and a 29th in super-G.
Western Region FIS Downhills, California
Finally, five Rowmarkers finished the season with downhill races at Mammoth Mountain, California. For the men, Ford Hodgkins led the way with a 13th and 26th, while, for the women, Dagny Brickson was 11th on the first downhill and an impressive eighth place in the final race.
Congratulations to our entire team for a great season despite all the craziness!
Rowmark alum and US Ski Team star Breezy Johnson ’13 had a nearly unprecedented series of podium results on the World Cup, with four consecutive third place downhill podium finishes, followed by a fifth! With this streak, Breezy placed fourth in the Overall World Cup downhill standings for the 2021 season. Incredible!
Rowmark alum and emerging US Ski Team member Katie Hensien ’18 scored her first World Cup points, with an 18th in a World Cup slalom in Croatia in March. Katie also won the 2020 National Championship giant slalom and was third in the slalom back in November.
Congratulations to Rowmark alum Alice McKennis Duran ’08 on her retirement from ski racing after an impressive career of 13 years on the US Ski Team, including a World Cup victory, three podiums, 10 top-10 finishes, two Olympic Games (fifth in downhill in 2018), and two National Championships. Rowmark Ski Academy is very proud of your accomplishments, and even more proud of your incredible determination and resilience to return to the top of the sport after several serious injuries. (Read more in this US Ski Team post highlighting Alice's stellar career.)
As you can imagine, Rowmark’s activities this summer and fall have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 guidelines and mitigation efforts. It’s been a challenging and character-building several months, and we are very proud of the effort and seriousness of the Rowmarkers and staff in following strict protocols to keep each other safe.
To start, our annual June ski camp at Mammoth Mountain, CA, was cancelled outright as the ski area remained closed due to the pandemic. In its place, the Academy shifted gears to a weeklong intense and unique dryland conditioning camp, which culminated in a sunrise hike to the top of Jupiter Peak followed by a team-relay paddleboard, mountain bike, and trail run triathlon race at the Jordanelle Reservoir. The Rowmarkers exhibited strong teamwork, comradery, and effort throughout the week.
From mid-June to mid-August the focus remained on a long conditioning block before we got the green light to get back on snow August 15–23 at Mt. Hood, OR. It was motivating to finally be back on snow since the mid-March shutdown. The Mt. Hood management enforced the COVID-19 protocols very seriously, and the outdoor setting proved to be a safe environment for all the teams training there. Our Mt. Hood camp included the Academy and Junior programs.
After the Mt. Hood camp, we rolled right into the beginning of school and scrambled to adjust to the hybrid learning program. Physical testing and then a second extended conditioning block ensued each day after school. We had to cancel the U19/FIS Team ski camp in Italy due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, but we were able to replace that camp with a successful camp in Copper Mountain, CO, in late October.
As I write this in mid-November, our Academy team is all in Aspen Highlands, CO, for our final ski camp of the season before we return to Utah for local training and the fast-approaching competition season. The snow conditions in Aspen are great for race training and the Rowmarkers are working hard on their technique and tactics. They also carve out time in the afternoons and evenings to keep up with their schoolwork and Zoom with their teachers, in between conditioning workouts, ski tuning, and video review with their coaches. Busy and challenging days, for sure.
Meanwhile, our Junior program is gearing up to host their fall camp locally at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP). We are all grateful for the early snowfall and the commitment to snowmaking at the UOP. Our athletes will greatly benefit from this preparation period.
It has been a crazy several months as we adapt to social distancing, mask wearing, and disinfecting measures at every turn in our training and conditioning. Our race season is going to look very different also. Virus mitigation is requiring races with small fields, splitting genders, and much less time in lodges in addition to the normal protocols.
As “normal” team travel is not allowed, I want to give a big shout-out to the Rowmark parents who have stepped up to provide all the transportation, lodging, and meals, which are new requirements in this COVID-19 world. Another big shout-out to the tremendous effort and professionalism of the teachers and administration; we are very proud to be part of such a supportive school. The Rowmarkers and staff continue to meet the challenge. We are looking forward to the start of the competition season and any new curveballs we may encounter.
The world of skiing racing came to a halt on March 15. Many Rowmarkers were either en route to their championship events or attending their final training sessions in preparation for champs. I will recognize these athletes later in the article, but first I want to discuss the remarkable community we have in the Rowmark Junior Program.
Our community of athletes, coaches, parents, teachers, and administrators created an incredible environment centered around our core values. The development of the whole athlete is paramount to me, and we were able to find the balance of academics and athletics. More so, we were able to identify the best opportunities for each athlete. The coaching staff and athletes created an environment of high expectations and inclusivity. They practiced the positive characters traits of trust and perseverance. Meanwhile, there was always a balance between team pride and sportsmanship. Our Rowmark parents were supportive of all competitors and thankful for the volunteers at each race. I’m very pleased with our team culture and look forward to building upon our successes moving forward.
I’m so very proud of the hard work that all our student-athletes have applied this season. They were ready to showcase their talents at their given championships across the Western US. Please join me in celebrating the following Rowmark athletes for reaching their championship events.
U14 Regionals | Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth, CA
Kaia Brickson, Morgan Jacquin, Henry Cunningham, Alan Dugan, and Jack Hoffman
U14 Tri-Divisionals | Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana
Lucy Nolan, Joe Lennon, Declan Morasch, and Jack Zipp
U12 IMD Championships | Bogus Basin, Boise, Idaho
Brooke Copinga, Chase Dennis,Andrew Hanrahan, SophiaHijjawi, Luke Kanarowski, Jameson Moore, Lukas Postnieks, Tallaulah Proulx, Abi Quinn, Eli Rankin, Teo Shamah, Wyatt Williams, and Jett Winkler
U12 IMD Finals | Sundance Resort, Sundance, Utah
Julian Bamberger, Dean Hijjawi, Drew Lipson, Kirsten Mannelin, Milan Mickelson, Kendra Larson, DarshanPani, AddisonAugust, Andrew Wentz, Asher Williams, Brynn Copinga, Callie Lipson, Dylan Galen, JamesSteele, Miles Bauer, Niklas Tognina, Paxton Cichos, and WilliamYoungtok
Honorable Mention: Kendall Kanarowski
Kendall tore her ACL in December and has committed her season to her physical therapy. I know she will be ready for next season and I look forward to having her back full time.
2019–2020 will be a season we all remember for a long time. I’m thankful to everyone for making it a successful season.
Despite the fact that our competition season was cut short due to the pandemic, Rowmark Ski Academy had a great season and many successful races regionally and nationally. Most importantly, our teams exhibited tremendous work ethic, camaraderie, and teamwork throughout the season for which the coaches are very proud.
New Value Statement
We are very proud of our team for creating and living up to our new Rowmark value statement—Teamwork, Balance, and Determination—throughout the season. This statement was created over a series of team workshops this fall.
Teamwork = Kindness and Sportsmanship
Balance = Academic and Athletic Excellence
Determination = Effort and Resilience
Utah Olympic Park
The addition of the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) Alpine Expansion Project as another training venue for our program has been the single most important development in my many years at Rowmark Ski Academy. I want to again extend a huge thank you to our generous donors who helped make this project a reality. We now have a dedicated training arena to extend our season—one that provides quality snow surface and a variance of terrain, while at the same time increasing our training volume. When combined with our longtime venues at Park City Mountain Resort, we now have all the spaces to train at the highest level. It is a game changer for the enjoyment, progression, and security of all of our Rowmark teams, as well as for the growth and prosperity of ski racing in our community for years to come. Rowmark has been very excited to partner with Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation (UOLF), Park City Ski and Snowboard, and the University of Utah on this critical project, and we want to thank Colin Hilton and his UOLF staff for their vision, leadership, and commitment to this initiative.
Here is a wrap-up of our competition highlights from each of the winter months.
Our Rowmark teams completed their first competitions of the year in December with outstanding performances, including several top-10 results and a few very impressive victories. We are equally as proud of the Rowmarkers who are in the first years of their age groups, thereby starting at the back of the pack in these early races and battling their way up the start list as the season progresses.
At the World Cup level, US Ski Team member and Rowmark alum Alice McKennis ’08 completed another successful comeback from major injury to take her ninth top-10 finish in the downhill at Lake Louise, Canada. Recent graduate Katie Hensien ’18, now skiing for the US Ski Team and University of Denver, captured her third NorAm victory and two more top-fives at Nakiska, Canada, in the slalom (SL). At the same races, Madison Hoffman ’18 scored two top-six finishes and two U21 podiums as well.
At the regional FIS level, senior Eliza Hodgkins had her finest FIS race to date, with an eighth at the Western Region FIS races in the first SL at Snow King, Wyoming, while sophomore Mary Bocock was 10th in the second SL and ninth in the third SL. Then Mary topped those results with a sixth place in SL at the Steamboat FIS races the following week.
Mary’s younger sister and freshman Elisabeth Bocock was not to be outdone, with several great races, including a victory and two second-place finishes at the USSA Intermountain Division races at Snow King just before Christmas. Elisabeth also took the Series Overall Award. Eighth grader Molly Friedman had an outstanding series of her own, with a 10th, ninth, fifth, and fourth, while freshman Arden Louchheim skied her way into 9th place in the final SL race. For the boys, sophomore Jack AbuHaidar led the way with a sixth and ninth in giant slalom (GS), while eighth grader Alan Dugan popped into 10th in the final SL race.
In the Western Region U16 Performance Series at Mission Ridge, the highest level of U16 regional racing, sophomore Ford Hodgkins skied onto the GS podium in third, while freshman Harry Hoffman took the victory in GS.
Rowmark had a great weekend of racing (and powder skiing!) at the Jackson Hole IMD Open Wes Barron Memorial 3 Super-Gs January 10–12. The boys and girls raced to several top-15 finishes, including a rare podium sweep in the last boys race—with Harry Hoffman first, Jack AbuHaidar second, and Ford Hodgkins third! Harry also won the second race and was second in the first race, taking the Overall Series Title for the weekend. Ford was third in all three races. Preston Bolus was fifth in the first race, while Jack added a ninth and 10th, Ian Hanrahan had a 10th and 11th, and U19 Mason Schlopy continued his steady progress with a 14th. For the girls, first-year U16s Elizabeth Bocock skied to a ninth and Molly Friedman earned an impressive 14th.
Our Rowmark U19 team earned many impressive top-15 results against the region’s top SL and GS skiers at the Western Region FIS Elite 2SL/2GS races at Big Sky January 9–14. For the boys, Alessandro Gandini had a fifth, seventh, 10th, and 15th, while Carter Louchheim also clawed his way onto the first page with a seventh and 14th. For the girls, Mary Bocock earned a sixth, eighth, and 13th, while Ellie Nichols skied to an impressive sixth in the final GS and had two other top-20 finishes. Eliza Hodgkins and Bridget Lennon each had a top 20 of their own as well.
The Rowmark U16 Team had their first of three IMD Qualifier races of the season January 24–26, where they went head to head with 150 racers from across the Intermountain Division, all vying to qualify for the Western Region Championships in March.
For the boys, Harry Hoffman dominated the weekend by winning all three races. Also finding the podium was Ford Hodgkins, with a third place in GS. Ian Hanrahan had a great weekend as well, with a seventh in GS and fifth in SL, while Frank Stearns cracked into the top-10 with a ninth in SL, along with Preston Bolus, who was 10th in GS. Skiing with a broken thumb, Jack AbuHaidar clawed his way to 11th in GS, while eighth grader Matt Siegal had a breakthrough race with a 15th in SL.
For the girls, Elisabeth Bocock continued her impressive season with a third place in GS and a victory in the first SL. Molly Friedman had two strong races with an 11th in GS and 12th in SL.
Our teams exhibited tremendous work ethic, camaraderie, and teamwork throughout the season for which the coaches are very proud.
Our Rowmark FIS Team divided and conquered, with two different race trips in late January. Coaches Ker and Graham and seven U19s made the trek to Schweitzer, Idaho, for the Western Region FIS Elite 2DH/2SG series, with several top-10 finishes in challenging snowy conditions. For the girls, Ellie Nichols raced to a fourth and 10th; Eliza Hodgkins earned a fifth, seventh, and eighth; first-year U19 Dagny Brickson had a breakout series with a sixth, eighth, and ninth; and Bridget Lennon skied to a sixth and ninth of her own. For the boys, CarterLouchheim charged to a sixth and eighth in super-G (SG), and Ale Gandini finished the series strong with a ninth in the last SG race. Dagny and Eliza also each won the Hard Charger Award—Dagny in downhill (DH) #1 and Eliza in DH #2—which goes to the competitor with the biggest move up the results sheet compared to their start position each day.
Meanwhile, Coach Lauren and three U19 girls cruised over to the Colorado Ski Cup FIS 2GS in Steamboat, Colorado. Mary Bocock led the way with an eighth and ninth against steep competition, including a handful of the best NCAA college skiers in the country.
Our Rowmark Team competed in the IMD U16 Super-G Qualifier/U19 Open Races February 7–9 at Snowbasin with determination, teamwork, and several personal bests. Elizabeth Bocock had a great weekend, with a first, second, and fourth. Arden Louchheim had an excellent race on Saturday with a 10th, and Molly Friedman finished the series strong, coming in 13th in the final race. For the boys, Harry Hoffman continued to show his excellent form with two seconds and a third; Ford Hodgkins also made his way to the podium with a third; IanHanrahan was impressive with a fifth, 14th, and 14th; Jack AbuHaidar was very fast and consistent with a seventh, eighth, and 10th; Preston Bolus had a fine weekend with a seventh, 11th, and 14th; while MasonSchlopy cracked onto the first page with a 12th.
Mary Bocock, in her first year of FIS racing, had her first opportunity to compete at the NorAm level in SL and GS February 4–12 in Collingwood, Ontario, and Whiteface, New York, against the top FIS racers in the US and Canada. Mary started near the back of the pack in the 70s–80s and consistently finished in the 30s–40s. Even more impressive is that Mary finished in the top-two twice, top-three twice, and top-four once, for all first-year FIS athletes competing in the races.
At the same time, the rest of our FIS Team raced in the Bryce Astle Memorial WR FIS Elite 2GS/2SL Series at Park City and Snowbird, competing against a deep field from the entire Western Region. Breaking into the top 30 were Ellie Nichols with a 22nd, Mary Clancy with a 24th and 29th, and Eliza Hodgkins with a 25th.
The Rowmark U16s competed in their final qualifier races of the season in Sun Valley, Idaho, February 21–23. Harry Hoffman again led the way with a 1st and 2nd in GS and 1st also in SL, which earned him the Laura Flood Memorial overall series trophy. Jack AbuHaidar skied to a career-best podium finish with a third as well as an eighth in GS. Ian Hanaran was close behind, with a sixth in GS and a sixth in SL. For the girls, Molly Friedman cracked into the top 10 with a ninth in SL.
Qualifying for the U16 Western Region Championships to be held in Schweitzer, Idaho, March 11–14 were HarryHoffman, Ian Hanrahan, Jack AbuHaidar, Ford Hodgkins, Frank Stearns, Preston Bolus, Matt Siegal, Elisabeth Bocock, Molly Friedman, and Arden Louchheim.
Five of our Rowmark U19s competed in the prestigious US National Junior Alpine Championships February 24–28 at Snowbasin: Ale Gandini, Carter Louchheim, Mary Bocock, Bridget Lennon, and Ellie Nichols. In the super-G, Mary rocketed from the 41st start position onto the podium into third place! After a DNF in GS, Mary also had a great SL race, with a 10th place finish. Bridget and Ale both cracked into the top 30, with Bridget 28th in the super-G and Ale 29th in SL. Carter had two solid races with a 37th in super-G and 42nd in GS.
The Women’s Open FIS 2SL at Snowbird and Men’s FIS GS/SL National Performance Series races at Snowbasin were contested directly after the National Junior Championships. For the women, Eliza Hodgkins had two breakout SL races, with fourth and fifth place finishes! Mary Bocock continued her solid string of races with a sixth and 15th. Ellie Nichols (with a 23rd), Mary Clancy (with a 26th), Dagny Brickson (with a 34th and 38th), and Charlotte Altman (with a 37th) all significantly improved from their start positions in the deep field. At the Men’s NPS GS races, Ale Gandini and Carter Louchheim also moved way up from their start positions, with Ale finishing 24th and Carter in 36th against the best U19–21s from across the US.
Due to the pandemic, racing came to a grinding halt in mid-March with the cancellation of the remainder of the ski season nationwide, including many of the championships and all of the spring series races. However, the first half of March was action-packed, with many impressive Rowmark performances.
The U19s raced March 7–11 at Sun Valley FIS Open Series. Eliza Hodgkins kept her momentum going from her previous races, roaring onto the podium into second place in the first slalom race as well as an eighth in GS. Also cracking into the top 20 were Bridget Lennon with a 16th and Dagny Brickson with a 14th, 20th, and 20th. For the boys, Carter Louchheim had a great SL race in fifth, while Ale Gandini stepped up with an eighth and 11th.
It turned out that the last races of the season were the Western Region U16 Championships at Schweitzer, Idaho. Rowmark was proud to qualify 10 athletes to represent the Intermountain Division Team: Elisabeth Bocock, Arden Louchheim, Molly Friedman, Jack AbuHaidar, Harry Hoffman, Ford Hodgkins, Ian Hanrahan, PrestonBolus, Frank Stearns, and Matt Siegal.
For the girls, Elisabeth Bocock led once again, with fourth and sixth in the super-G, and onto the podium with a third place in GS. Arden Louchheim also had standout performances, with a 12th in SG and 21st in GS.
For the boys, Jack AbuHaidar broke through and surprised many by taking the victory in the first super-G! HarryHoffman skied to sixth and seventh in super-G, and 10th in GS, while Ford Hodgkins was 13th and 14th in super-G and seventh in GS, and Ian Hanrahan was 11th in GS. Unfortunately, as Rowmark has a very strong U16 SL team poised to land on the podium, the SL race was canceled.
Qualifying out of the Regionals to the prestigious U16 National Championship, which was to be held April 1–5 in Sugarloaf, Maine, before being canceled, were Elisabeth Bocock, Arden Louchheim, Harry Hoffman, and FordHodgkins.
The Rowmark Spring Awards Banquet, originally slated for April 30, is postponed (TBA). We are looking forward to honoring deserving Rowmarkers with our annual awards when the time comes.
Italian born Alessandro (Ale) Gandini joined our school and ski academy team for his senior year. Ale is a strong student and an elite ski racer who has proven very quickly to be a great teammate as well. He is quickly integrating into our team and rapidly increasing his English fluency. Ale was gracious enough to allow me to interview him about his upbringing, his choice to attend our school and ski program, and his experience so far.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Venice, Italy. I grew up in Treviso until I was five years old and then our family moved to Cortina.
Do you have siblings?
I have two brothers: Enrico, who is 16 years old, and Clemente, who is 12 years old. They are both ski racers.
How long have you been skiing?
I have been skiing since I was five years old and ski racing since I was eight as part of the Sci Club Cortina. The ski club is organized by age and is mostly based on having fun and freeskiing at the younger ages with some gate training. Then I joined Sci Club Drusce this past season which gave me a big boost and really helped my technique and tactics to be even more competitive.
Did you play other sports?
Yes, I played ice hockey from five until fourteen years old. When it became too difficult to do both ski racing and hockey, I chose ski racing.
How did you get interested in Rowmark?
I heard about it from a friend of my parents, who described a place in Utah that had a school with a great combination of academics and ski racing, so they looked into it and I applied.
Have you ever been to the United States before your arrived in August?
Yes, once in 2004 at three years old I went to Miami with my family, but I was too young to remember it.
How is Utah different from where you grew up in Italy?
Utah is a place with a big city, but not huge, that also has all the facilities and mountain slopes where you can reach everything so fast and everything is so close. It feels like the center of the US. You can do everything here.
Italy is a wonderful place where everything is also close. Every corner has a particular story and a lot of history everywhere you go. Venice is two hours away from Cortina, Bologna is four and a half hours, and Milan is five hours. Innsbruck, Austria, is also close, about three hours.
How is the food here?
It is so different. Much more variety than where I come from. The burgers are so good here, especially with bacon! In Italy you eat Italian food and maybe sushi sometimes.
How is your school in Italy different from Rowland Hall?
In Italy I went to a public school with no connection between sport and academics. There were some good teachers who really helped, but most didn’t understand the time and commitment to do sport at a high level. At Rowland Hall there is a lot more support, but you still need to do your best and work hard. Then it works well.
Is Rowland Hall difficult for you so far?
It’s harder than my Italian school but the organization is much better. It is tough to stay on time with assignments. I can’t be lazy anymore.
How was it to go back to Italy in late September for the Italy Rowmark ski camp?
It was emotional at first. My good Italian friends were only three hours away and I was able to see them one night. Being with an American team in Italy was a pleasure. My friends realized that I was skiing with Americans and they said that was so cool. They know of Salt Lake City and Park City because of the 2002 Olympics. Many Italians know how good the skiing is in Utah.
What are your academic goals?
One thing that is very interesting for me is skiing for a US college with strong academics, possibly Williams or Dartmouth. Another possible goal is going back to a college in Switzerland or Italy. At those schools I would be able to enter the University FIS races but it would be on my own. I don’t know yet, but a US college is very interesting to me because I can continue to pursue both academics and ski racing like I can here at Rowmark and Rowland Hall.
What are your skiing goals?
Reaching the World Cup is a dream. The real dream is racing the World Alpine Ski Championships in my home town, Cortina, in 2021, or in the Olympics in Bormio/Cortina in 2026. Even forerunning these events would be amazing. Another goal is being part of the Italian Army ski team. You have to be very good to make this team, between 30–40 FIS points.
What is your best experience so far over the first three months you have been in the United States?
A long weekend in New York three weeks ago was unbelievable. I went there with some Italian friends of my family who live in Sweden and spend a lot of time in New York because of business. It is huge, spinning around, alive. Mountains of buildings. Great to visit but I can’t see myself living there.
How is your host family?
They are lovely. They include me in everything and give me a lot of support. It has been fantastic. I feel like I am part of the family. The bond will last a long time.
Any difficult experiences so far since you have been in the United States?
Nothing yet! One thing is my first CrossFit workout with my host family at 5:45 am and it was overwhelming and really hard. I hadn’t eaten yet; I wasn’t in the best shape. It was a tough experience. Then afterward the Rowland Hall shower before school was cold!
What are you looking forward to this school year experience?
I want to bring from the United States back to Italy something that will last a long time: good values, taking as many good things as possible, and bringing them back to my country, but not to gain too much weight!