Podium Finish for Kaiya Hanepen in Women’s Snowboarding
Palisades Tahoe is proud to announce that, for the second year in a row, three athletes from the Palisades Snowboard team qualified and were invited to compete in the Freeride Junior World Championships (FJWC). Palisades Tahoe has participated in the FJWC for eight years, and the Snowboard team has repeatedly finished atop the podium. This year, Kaiya Hanepen took home a third-place win. There is a reason generations of the world’s greatest athletes call Palisades Tahoe home.
The Freeride Junior World Championships
The 2023 Freeride Junior World Championships returned to Kappl, Austria, for the fourth year, from the 23rd to the 26th of January. There, riders from around the world vied to become the Junior Freeride World Champion across four categories of competition: Women’s Ski, Men’s Ski, Women’s Snowboard, and Men’s Snowboard.
To hold the title of Junior Freeride World Champion, competitors were evaluated by a panel of seasoned freeride judges and scored across five main criteria: fluidity, control, line choice, technique, air, as well as air and style. Before the competition, athletes were allowed a visual inspection of the course only—no physical ride through or practice lines are permitted. The course had a starting and finishing gate, but no further work was done to prepare the mountain. It was up to the competitors to pick their line, and what features on the mountain they chose to face.
Palisades Tahoe Athletes
Invitations to the FJWC were based on high standings from last year’s North American Freeride Series. This year, Palisades Tahoe sent three athletes from the Snowboard team to the FJWC: Kaiya Hanepen (F, 18), Mia Jones (F, 18), and Sam Briggs (M, 17). Before the FJWC, the athletes competed in a pre-Championship event called the ARC 1950 Freeride World Tour Junior, where Kaiya won first place, and Sam took second place.
This year was the first time Mia and Sam competed at the FJWC and Kaiya’s third time in the competition. The resort’s past FJWC podium finishes in the Men’s Snowboarding event include: Dylan Zellers, 1st place; Jesse Aves, 1st place; Andrew Kraatz, 3rd place; Adrian Babet, 3rd place; Tilden Wooley, 2nd place; and most recently, Tavo Sadeg won 1st place at the 2022 FJWC.