Shorewood student competes in the 2019 IFSA North American Championships

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Lillian 2019 Crystal Nationals PC
Photo by Chris Saito

Lillian Nimmer, 14, a student at Shorewood High School and an IFSA Freeride / Big Mountain Skier, was invited to compete in the 2019 IFSA (International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association) North American Championship at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden BC.

Lillian had an exciting and successful ski season, finishing on the podium in 6 out of 7 of events she participated in. She skied at Red Mountain Resort in Rossland BC, Stevens Pass Resort in WA, Big White Resort in Kelowna BC, Crystal Mountain Resort in WA, Whistler Resort in BC, and Alpental in WA.

Lillian and Coach Sammy 2019 IFSA Kicking Horse Nor Ams PC
Photo by Chris Saito

The IFSA North American Championships took place at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden BC. April 8-12, 2019. The Kicking Horse Resort is located in the Canadian Rockies near the BC/Alberta border. Kicking Horse is known for its steep terrain and excellent snow conditions. In 2019 they hosted a Freeride World Tour event attracting the best Freeskiers in the World.

The North American Qualifiers venue was held on “Marley's.” This venue has steep double diamond terrain with good line choice options of steeps, cliffs, trees, and rocks.

The qualifiers were set with the top 21 12-14 year old female Freeskiers in North America. The qualifying start order is done by random draw and Lillian was dropping 8th in the field of 21.

She would ski the top of the CPR Ridgeline dropping into a technically steep section of the venue. Her planned line included 4 cliff drops in the first five hundred vertical feet of her run. Icy conditions in the upper section of the venue caused Lillian to avoid taking her first cliff drop and she skied a steep section around it.

Lillian Nimmer Red Mountain 2019 PC
Photo by Steve Kelly

She then lined up two consecutive cliff drops going big off the second cliff landing and losing some control. This caused her to lose some speed heading to her final cliff drop so she decided to take a smaller side hit off the cliff. She skied with great style and energy in the second half of the venue through trees, and had a couple of small airs including a shifty heading into the finish corral. When qualifying results were announced Lillian had scored 31.40 and was sitting in 4th place heading into the finals.

The finals were to be held on a venue called “Whitewall.” The top of this venue is accessed via the Seventh Heaven stairway and a boot hike to the start.

The Whitewall venue is steep, covering a wide section of the mountain. It is high alpine terrain at over 8000 feet. There are no trees and few visible markings to help a skier find their line. If the lighting and visibility are not favorable in this venue it is easy to lose your way. 

Lillian Nimmer Big White PC
Photo by Rene Crawshaw

Lillian inspected the finals venue with her coaches and teammates. Upon completion she decided to change the upper section of her run as she was not comfortable with the conditions. This was a risky move as she would be skiing the upper section of her run blind, meaning she had not physically inspected this portion of her line.

In the finals the start order is based on your qualifying score with the lowest score being the first to start. Lillian would be starting/dropping 9th in a final field of 12 athletes. Lillian dropped into Whitewall and skied her upper section clean, but not taking advantage of a couple features she would have liked to have hit had she inspected it ahead of time.

In the mid section of her run she had a huge cliff drop landing in control and skiing strong in the lower section of the venue into the finish corral.

Lillian tops the podium at the Big White Biggie PC
Photo by Rene Crawshaw
Awards were held in the Kicking Horse lodge later that afternoon. They call up the top five finishers in each age category. Lillian's finals score was 29.00 which added to her qualifying score of 31.40 gave her a total score of 60.40, landing her in 5th place on the podium at the North American Championships.

Three Canadians, and one US competitor finished ahead of her to complete the podium top finishers.

Lillian 2019 Seattle Ski With Shop Manager Kyle McQueen

This was an exciting way for Lillian to complete the season. She finished the 2019 IFSA season at #6 in total point with 3235

Lillian moves up to the 15-18 year old female ski division next season and hopes to qualify to ski in the IFSA Freeride Junior World Tour Event held in Europe before she finishes her Junior career. 

Lillian has finished #1 in the Pacific NW Region including WA, OR, and AK the past 4 seasons. 

She has had an opportunity to compete in the North American Championships in 2016 Grand Targhee WY, 2017 Kirkwood CA, 2018 Snowbird UT, and 2019 Kicking Horse BC.

Lillian skies for NW Freeride. Her home mountain is Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass WA. 

Lillian would like to thank her coach Sammy Hall, her sponsors Lib Tech Skis, Seattle Ski (in Shoreline), Big Mable and her parents for supporting her throughout the season.


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