Skiing: Schiller claims series title |

Skiing: Schiller claims series title

by Joey Crandall

Douglas High grad J.J. Schiller wrapped up the Kirkwood Cup free-skiing series title recently with a second place finish in the rail jam event.

The week prior, he took first place in the slopestyle event at Kirkwood to vault to the top of the overall standings in the three-event series.

Schiller claimed the $960 prize for his series win, capping a breakout season in the free-skiing world.

Last month, he qualified for the second day of the North American Freeride Championships, also at Kirkwood.

“I had a couple goals heading into the year, and I aachieved all of them, which is pretty special for me,” Schiller said. “I was hoping to qualify for Day 2 of the championships, and I wanted to win the Kirkwood series.

“Everything played out in my favor.”

The slopestyle course featured an 18-foot flat rail toward the top, a 20-foot jump in the middle and a 35-foot jump toward the bottom.

Each competitor got two runs down the course to impress the judges.

During the rail jam, competitors got the chance to get numerous runs on the two-obstacle course.

“They judge you on your overall performance, which worked in my favor,” Schiller said. “When you just have two runs, there is a lot of pressure. It limits guys who just have one or two big tricks, because that’s all they can show the judges each time down.

“For more versatile skiers, you can show off more of what you have.

“Also, if you do good, that’s great, but if you have a bad run, you know you get another shot down the hill.”

Schiller said with the slopes closing for the season soon, he doesn’t have any more events planned, but hopes to keep training and to make it at least one more day in the North American championships next year.