PARK CITY, Utah — This year’s 23rd annual Springer Tournee had three Park City athletes atop respective podiums; 2022 Beijing Olympian and Youth Sports Alliance athlete Jared Shumate, USA Nordic National Team member and Park City Winter Sports School student Josie Johnson, and Park City Ski and Snowboard (PCSS) athlete Liam Demong.
Demong’s dad, Billy Demong, Olympic gold and silver medalist, along with nine-time Olympics announcer Carl Roepke entertained the crowd on the mic at the Utah Olympic Park and live streamed during the five days of activities. The group consisted of travel teams and their families of six to twenty-six-year-olds from Alaska, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah, and Canada.
Shumate was as thrilled about his hometown victory as the fact that his mom had come down from Washington State to watch him.
“After the Olympics last winter I was lucky to be able to take a bit of a mental health break and it’s great being back at it for Springer,” Shumate said. “Mentoring the developing athletes is always a highlight as that tradition began back when I was a young Park City athlete.”
When asked how it felt to round the 2002 Olympic course corner in a tuck in the driving rain and standing water, he replied, “Compared to the normal 95-degree weather, it just made this year’s Springer that much more exciting.”
Saturday was the culmination of roller skis at Soldier Hollow (SOHO) under a double rainbow. It was the third of three days of rainy competition. However, the rain delays merely provided further opportunity for the families to hang out together as Springer can feel as much like a national family reunion than any cutthroat competition. The rain served as a bonus slip-and-slide on the running race obstacle course.
Olympians like Casey Larson spent the month of July coaching the teenagers in Steamboat Springs and Park City’s Fly Camp. Steven Schumann, Anna Hoffman, Kevin Bickner, Decker Dean, Andrew Erlaub, Ben Loomis, and Jasper Good were rubbing elbows with retired teammates Abby Ringquist when they weren’t competing and Taylor, Bryan Fletcher, and Brett Camerotta, who were spectating.
A rare photo finish highlighted the roller ski race inched out by PCSS’s Augie Roepke and Jack Kroll from Lake Placid. Factored equations, Kroll ski jumping farther than Roepke, resulted in the two ending up fifth and sixth.
Sister and brother nordic combined athletes Annika and Niklas Malacinski, from Steamboat Springs, train half of each year in their family’s native nation of Finland. It paid off with first place Springer finishes for both, taking home the prize money.
Erlaub and Bickner gladly shared a rare tie for first place in ski jumping between Olympians Erlaub and Bickner.
Special moments occurred when the Olympians put podium medals around the necks of the youngest of the participants, and the young ones reciprocated for their idols.
The aprés ski Springer Summer Soiree raised the goal amount of $65,000 for USA Nordic; click here to donate.
The National Team members are now off to Europe to represent the USA in the International Ski Federation (FIS) Grand Prix world cup-like summer series.