Rocky Mountain Freestyle hits Winter Park Resort this weekend

Photo by Eli LanstonCody Wilder Ray

WINTER PARK – Freddy Mooney spent most of this week on the Ambush ski trail getting it ready for this weekend’s race.

“Ambush is going to be ready,” said the freestyle head coach for Winter Park Competition Center and former U.S. Freestyle ski team member. “Training starts Friday for the mogul event. We will have one day of training before the race so participants can practice the jumps and know the course.”

His team will have 40 athletes competing during the weekend, the beginning of the racing season, starting with the Rocky Mountain Mogul competition.

Saturday is the moguls competition and Sunday is the fast-paced dual mogul competition on the Ambush mogul course. This is a USSA Freestyle Competition and, according to Wendy Lana, administrator for Rocky Mountain Freestyle in Lakewood, most of the competitors range from 13-24, though it is open to all ages.

“This competition is grassroots level of the pipeline for the Olympics, and some of the skiers are Olympic-bound,” she said.

The first day of competition is an invitational, and competitors must have 550 points to compete. The second day is open to anyone with a USSA license.

“Most of the kids take it very seriously, train on weekends, and some during the week days. Some athletes go to academies or are home schooled so they can train,” she said.

Series competitors come from many states, and most events in Rocky Mountain Freestyle series have club skiers from around the state competing, including Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club, Vail Ski and Snowboard Club, Team Breckenridge, Team Summit and a team from Durango Mountain Resort.

There are even some athletes coming from Stratton, Vt., and Waterville Valley Resort, N.H.

Cody Wilder Ray, 15, of Denver will be competing in the dual mogul competition. This week he has been going to school and concentrating on winning this weekend. He is a member of the Winter Park Freestyle and Freeride teams.

His goal for this season: “Go to the Freeride Nationals in Copper and Junior Olympics for both moguls and slopestyle.”

In a phone interview Ray said his aspirations include being in the X Games and going pro. He aspires to be in a Poor Boyz film, a ski movie production company that showcases high action and retrospection style sports.

Ray has been skiing since he was 2 years old, primarily at Winter Park Resort. His mother, Julie (Dreith) Ray was a Junior World mogul champion. He is sponsored by Klint skis.

According to Mooney this racing series is all about athletes progressing to higher levels.

“This competition is one week before the U.S. Ski Team selection in Steamboat. Everyone here is getting ready for the big event Dec. 16-22.”

He encourages the community and visitors to come out and check out the racers. He said the best time is between noon and 2 p.m. both days.

“We are excited for the season. We have a great team this year.”

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