Beyer qualifies for Junior Olympics
Thanks to a pair of sublime runs, one of Fallon’s own is on her path to her Olympic dream.
Jordan Beyer is in the midst of competing in today’s final runs at the under-16 Junior Olympic’s at the Western Region Junior Championships at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Ore.
She will compete against dozens of other racers from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.
Beyer, who races for Squaw Valley in the Far West Skiing Association, qualified after two monster runs in the super G at Mammoth Mountain where she clocked a bronze-medal and silver-medal runs on Feb. 28 and March 1, respectively.
The two results bumped her from 24th and the second alternate for the Junior Olympic’s to ninth and an automatic qualifier. She nearly took first in her second run, but came up .30 seconds behind Haley Louis of Sugar Bowl.
“When I got second, everyone was so excited,” Beyer said. “I was so excited I didn’t know what to say. I was really excited though.”
Only the top 20 girls qualify out of about 70 racers in the U16 division.
Now with her qualification sewed up, Beyer said she was focused on Thursday’s and today’s races. The championships consist of three disciplines — the super G, giant slalom (GS) and slalom.
But this week’s races are a different animal. Beyer will go against the best U16 skiers in the country.
“I’m just going to try to ski it super aggressively and do the best I can,” she said.
Admittedly, Beyer’s favorite race is the super G, where she reaches speeds up to 75 mph. The other two events, however, are more technical as racers slosh through a minefield of gates in close proximity down the course.
“Super G is the fastest event and there are jumps in it,” Beyer said. “I love speed. GS and slalom are more technical … I do pretty good in GS and slalom is all right.”
Beyer’s performance this season was consistent as the 15-year-old mostly had finishes between 15th and 28th. Before her two big runs, Beyer’s best result was 15th at Snow Summit on Feb. 1.
But an academic decision allowed her to really turn a corner after the New Year. Since Beyer was missing so much school as a freshman at Churchill County High School to attend practice, her parents opted to withdraw her and enroll Beyer in the district’s online distance education program.
This option, her mother Jessica Beyer said, allows her daughter to hit the books at night or between practice sessions on the mountain. As a result, Jordan Beyer’s grades are back on top and maintains a 4.0 gpa.
“This allows her to ski during the day and do her school at night or whenever she has time throughout her day between ski runs,” Jessica Beyer said. “The level at which she is competing requires practicing ideally six days a week,”
But since Jordan Beyer opted for the online school, her growth on the slopes has also improved drastically.
She practices Tuesday through Sunday and her schedule is more daunting than most of her peers. Her dedication is unquestioned as Beyer typically is on the road by 5 a.m. and commutes two hours to practice to be on the slopes ready to go by 7 a.m.
Practice generally runs from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with two breaks sandwiched at various times.
Since she is now on equal footing and practicing the same as her teammates and competitors, Beyer’s final two runs may be the tip of the iceberg.
“Making JO’s was my main goal,” she said.
But there has been one big issue hanging over the Far West racers this year, and it’s due to Mother Nature.
A lack of snow cancelled the downhill season since not enough terrain was skiable for the longest event in alpine skiing; although there will be an event in April. It was another discipline Beyer excelled in, but this year was a lost season.
Downhill courses typically run at least 2 minutes, doubling the SuperG length, and can see drops of several thousand feet in elevation. It is also the fastest event for racers.
“There’s not really any snow,” she said. “Most of our races got moved to Mammoth and we’ve had to go to a bunch of different places for training.”