Congratulations to young Ryan McElmon of Boxford, MA, who won gold in the East Coast Junior Freestyle Championships at Waterville Valley.
Well, it’s official. Just two years into his freestyle skiing career, Ryan McElmon is a champion.
McElmon, who just started competing last year, can hardly believe how fast everything’s happened for him. Just last year, he and his parents made the decision to drop hockey to focus solely on skiing.
Now, all of a sudden, the 13-year-old from Boxford is the East Coast Junior Freestyle 14-and-under champion after winning the gold medal in New Hampshire over the March 16-18 weekend.
“I’m pretty excited. I’m just ecstatic,” said McElmon. “When I was starting, and sacrificing hockey and everything, I didn’t think I could top last year. I started out a little slow, but pushed through it and I’m so excited that I did. Through hard work, I was able to make improvements.”
McElmon finished third in aerials (combined score of 112.66 for two runs), second in moguls (23.23 points) and a first place score of 90.0 in slopestyle (or terrain course, with rails and small jumps).
The competition was, ironically, held on one of the warmest weekends in more than six months, with temperatures reaching upwards of 70 degrees on the last day of competition.
“It was pretty challenging, totally different to what conditions and weather I’m used to,” said McElmon. “It’s the first time I’ve ever competed in spring-like heavy snow, but I adjusted to it in practice. Everyone was doing really well, actually.
“I didn’t figure out my run until my fourth practice run, then I did the best I can when I went out on my competition run,” said McElmon.
He could have dropped some layers from his usual skiing outfit, but he kept everything the same as if it was 20 degrees out.
“People were skiing in T-shirts, but I’m really, really superstitious,” said McElmon. “I wore the same coat and jacket every competition, so I wore them in the 70-degree weather. I sweated like crazy. Everyone’s calling me a raccoon, too, cause I have a crazy goggle tan line.”
His mother Pamela has certainly been impressed with how quickly the Masconomet Middle School eighth-grader has taken to his new sport.
“In the first season, you think ‘beginners’ luck,’ but how long can it last?” said Pamela. “We were skiers before, but we never knew about this world of competitive skiing. Last year, we learned everything and this year, we went into it knowing more of what to expect.
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