A Bump In the Results

Freestyle Athletes Enjoy Good Year

Finally clear of physical ailments, Konrad Mitchell was in the clear this winter for an outstanding season on the ski slopes.

The Hanover High School sophomore and freestyle moguls maven had his competitive season derailed during each of the last four years, yet found redemption in 2012-13 with a full season of solid results. He earned eight top-10 moguls finishes and repeated the feat in dual moguls five times, finishing the year ranked eighth in the eastern U.S. in the former and 10th in the latter.

After 33rd-place dual moguls and 38th moguls finishes in his first trip to the USSA Junior Nationals early last month in Park City, Utah, Mitchell was invited to the U.S. Freestyle Championships — his first FIS event — at California’s Heavenly Mountain Resort last weekend. Mitchell placed 34th in dual moguls and 38th in moguls against the best in the nation.

“I was surprised even just to be there, and did better than expected once I got there,” said Mitchell, 16. “It was a long road, with all the injuries I had.”

Trained by former Olympic moguls and dual moguls skier Evan Dybvig at Enfield’s Whaleback Mountain, Mitchell was in sixth grade when a broken arm ended his season. The following year, it was a broken collarbone, then a dislocated shoulder in eighth grade. Last year’s concussion may have been the worst of them all, causing him to miss more than three months of competition, two months of skiing at all and four weeks of school.

“I was just doing flips off a mogul, and went too big,” Mitchell said of last year’s head injury. “Every year, the injuries came while I was training to compete, so it was definitely nice to have a full season.”

Mitchell’s Hanover High classmate and friend, freeskier Julia Krass, also had a tremendous season.

Krass had no access to a half pipe for training, yet managed to win the Eastern Free Ride Tour’s Vermont Open in that discipline in January before placing third at the USSA Junior Freeskiing National Championships in Utah on March 6.

Krass’ best results came in slopestyle, where she garnered five top-10s during the regular season, was runner-up at Junior Nationals and fifth at the FIS Junior World Championships in Italy on Sunday.

Krass, who autumns as a center midfielder on the Marauders’ girls soccer team, finishes the year ranked eighth in the slopestyle and 10th in the halfpipe.

“It was really cool, competing with top-level athletes,” Krass said. “I learned a lot about myself and what kind of competitor I am. Just being able to interact with so many other great competitors made (all of the sacrifices) worth it.”

For the second straight winter, Krass spent the third quarter of the school year at Waterville Valley Academy to train for the season. That helped her perfect trick jumps such as the 540 mute grab and cork 720 mute grab, with which she wowed judges in Italy on her first of two slopestyle runs.

“I’d been working on them all season, and I landed them well,” Krass said. “It was definitely a good way to end the year.”

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.