Barth moves up into the big leagues
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Ty Upson didn’t hold back any of his good feelings when it came to talking about Glenwood Springs Middle School student Henry Barth.
“I think that for this event, he could easily finish in the Top 10,” said Upson, the head coach of the United States Telemark Ski Association ski team as it prepared for this weekend’s USTSA National Championships. “It’s safe to say he’s right up there with a lot of the top competitors.”
That’s high praise coming for he 14-year-old Barth, who officially will serve as the hometown favorite when the national championships take place Friday through Sunday at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Officially, Barth, who is the second-youngest skier on the roster that includes a World Cup, national and developmental team, could already be considered one of the top skiers in the event after winning national titles in his age group for the past two years.
This year, however, Barth will forgo his 14 to 17-year-old age group to compete in the Elite division, which features the top Telemark skiers in the world.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“He asked for this,” Upson said. “He’s one of those kinds of competitors who will go after the best competition out there.”
The competition he’ll be facing will feature three events in the Sprint event Friday, Dual Parallel on Saturday and Classic race on Sunday. Each event will take place around 11 a.m. at Sunlight, with medal ceremonies to follow late in the afternoon.
Barth, who won his age group in 2013 when the event was held in Steamboat Springs and again last season in the 14 to 17 age group when the event was held in Wilmington, Vermont. This year, it was his choice to move up into the Elite category.
Upson raves about the kind of improvements that Barth has made and about his ability to be coached, adding that his exposure to the top-tier competition on the national team has helped to make him more of a product of his environment. Barth admits that it’s a thrill not only to be competing in the national championships just a short drive away from his house, but to be competing at the event’s highest level.
In all, he’s hoping for a Top 10 finish, though he’s more concerned about finishing strong.
“If I’m completely tired at the end of the race and I have no energy left, I know that I’ve done my absolute best,” Barth said. “I hope that I finish high, but I’m more focused on the effort that I give.”
Last year’s National Champion, Cory Snyder of Franconia, N.H., will be challenged by Tanner Visnick of Steamboat Springs. The two were very close last year and both are skiing very well this season. Madi McKinstry of Steamboat was last season’s champion and will be challenged by Lyta Foulk, also of Steamboat, who had some “break out” racing at the World Championships in Steamboat last month.
Other U.S. team members from Colorado who will be competing include, Taylor Finn of Colorado Springs as well as Charlie Dresen, Jeffrey Gay and Jack Rosenthal, all of Steamboat Springs. Brendan Duram of Steamboat, while not a team member this year, will race following his strong showing at World Championships.
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