Summit duo helps USA race to 6th in ski mountaineering team relay at Youth Olympics
FRISCO — The competition element of the Youth Olympic experience wrapped up for Summit High School seniors Grace Staberg and Jeremiah Vaille after the final two ski mountaineering competitions in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday.
The ski mountaineering sprint competition course at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games was a short one that involved 80 meters of elevation change via an ascent on skins, an ascent by boot-pack hike and then a downhill-ski descent.
Staberg raced to 15th-place — the top American finisher — at Monday’s sprint race. Staberg was seeded 12th after posting the 12th-fastest time of 3:53.25 in the seeding round.
Staberg just missed qualifying for the semis, with her quarterfinal time of 3:49.58 falling behind eventual gold-medalist Caroline Ulrich of Switzerland, eventual bronze-medalist Margot Ravinel of France and Ema Chepklova of Canada.
In the boys sprint competition, Vaille was seeded 18th after completing the course in 3:12.19 in the seeding round. He finished in 19th-place overall and fifth in his quarterfinal group with a time of 3:05.73, which wasn’t good enough to qualify through to the semifinals. Rocco Baldini of Italy eventually won the gold medal with a time of 2:30.14.
At Tuesday’s mixed-gender relay, Staberg and Vaille joined forces with fellow American ski mountaineers George Beck and Samantha Paisley to race to sixth place among a dozen teams. The mixed relay featured a course with about 180 meters of elevation change, two ascents and two descents.
Team USA finished the course with a total time of 39:07, just behind fifth-place Germany (39:04) and about two minutes behind bronze medalist Spain (37:13). Switzerland won the competition with a time of 35:07, more than two minutes faster than silver medalist France (37:11).
Grace Staberg of Summit County ascends during the ski mountaineering girls sprint quarterfinal at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games on Monday. Courtesy Olympic Information Services
The members of the 2020 U.S. Youth Winter Olympic ski mountaineering team — including Summit County locals Jeremiah Vaille, left, and Grace Staberg, right — pose for a picture with the American flag after taking sixth-place in Tuesday’s mixed-gender relay in Villar-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. Courtesy U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association
Jeremiah Vaille of Summit County skis downhill during the men’s Individual ski mountaineering competition in Switzerland during Friday’s Laussane 2020 Youth Winter Olympics. Ben Queenborough / Olympic Information Services
Grace Staberg of Summit County skis during Friday’s 2020 Youth Winter Olympic individual ski mountaineering competition in Switzerland. Ben Queenborough / Olympic Information Services
The ski mountaineer members of Team USA at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games — including Jeremiah Vaille, left, and Grace Staberg, right — enjoy opening ceremony festivities at the Lausanne 2020 games. Courtesy Ram Mikulas
Grace Staberg of Summit County poses for a photo Thursday during training for ski mountaineering in Switzerland. Ben Queenborough / Olympic Information Services
International flags adorn the athlete village at the 2020 Lausanne Youth Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland. Courtesy Ram Mikulas
Grace Staberg of Summit County, right, ascends during Friday’s individual ski mountaineering competition at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland. Courtesy Ram Mikulas
U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association President and Summit County local Ram Mikulas takes a photo at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland. Courtesy Ram Mikulas
Summit County local Jeremiah Vaille, No. 23, ascends with the pack during the start of Friday’s individual ski mountaineering competition at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland. Courtesy Kendal Wright Vaille