LUDLOW, Vermont ??вЂќ Okemo Mountain Resort named some of the hottest young athletes in the East at its 2006 Sports Illustrated For Kids Next Snow Search Super Qualifier, Jan. 7. Hans Mindnich, age 13, of Stowe, Vt., won the overall competition in the search to discover the best kids on snow and the next top athletes in skiing and snowboarding. The competition, open to skiers and riders 9 to 13, identified six competitors who will proceed to the Next Snow Search Finals in March ??вЂњ two of whom (one boy and one girl) received invitations to compete as part of an All-Stars Team in Keystone, Colo. The event will be broadcast by NBC Sports at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.
In addition to being judged on ability and style in Superpipe, Slopestyle and on the NASTAR race course, kids were judged on attitude and sportsmanship.
Mindnich, the overall winner of Okemo??в„ўs Super Qualifier, is a member of the 2005 Next Snow Search Team, which automatically earns him an invitation to the All-Stars event at Keystone.
Second place in the Super Qualifier went to Benjamin Farrow, age 13, of Mt. Holly, Vt., who will be representing Okemo at both the All-Star event and at the Next Snow Search Finals in March. Rex Calabrese, age 13, of Proctorsville, Vt., took third place, but had already secured a spot at the Finals during an earlier qualifier at Okemo.
A three-way tie filled the fourth place slot in the Super Qualifier. Dale Talkington, age 13, of Weston, Vt., won a chance to compete at the Next Snow Search Finals. In addition to earning a slot at the Finals as the top-placing girl in the competition, Jennifer Cohen, age 13, of Wayne, N.J., won an invitation to take part in the All-Star event in Keystone. Parker Clarkson, age 12, of Weston, Vt., the third to tie for fourth place, earned his slot at the Finals in a previous qualifier at Okemo. Rounding out the Okemo representatives at the Finals are Sam Parker, age 13, of Marblehead, Mass., Eric Cerra, age 10, of Weston, Vt., and Chris Conetta, age 13, of Stamford, Conn.
In Keystone, Colo., members of the 2004 and 2005 Sports Illustrated For Kids Next Snow Teams and the top two competitors from each of the five 2006 Super Qualifiers will compete in four events: Big Mountain Race, Superpipe, Slopestyle (terrain park jumps and rails) and Big Air Jump, a night time event with a torchlight parade, fireworks and laser show.
At the 2006 Next Snow Search Finals at Killington, March 3-5, a three-day event will test the merits of top young athletes from around the country in: Moguls, Carving, Slopestyle, Superpipe, Big Mountain Race, Big Air Jump and Dual Race.