Masters of the mountain |

Masters of the mountain

Kelsey Collins will headline a trio of area junior alpine skiers in its quest for the gold at the Western Region J3 (13-14 age group) Junior Olympics in Sun Valley, Idaho March 18-21.

Collins, a ninth-grader at Sugar Bowl Ski Academy, Daniel Alvey, a freshman at Nevada Union, and Seven Hills School eighth-grader Corey Browning were among the total 17 girls and 23 boys from California and Nevada selected to compete for a chance to make the USSA Junior Olympic Team.

Racers will have two days to get acquainted with the venue before the event kicks off with the Super G for both boys and girls March 1.

Competitors will then be tested in both the giant slalom and slalom over the next two days, with each race winner and combined-race champions earning a spot on the U.S. Junior Olympic squad.

Collins qualified for last year’s Western Region finals, but was forced to pull out due to a knee injury, but has come back with both guns blazin’ this year.

“I hurt my knee in (another qualifier) and had to have my ACL reconstructed,” said Collins, who along with Browning compete for the Sugar Bowl Ski Team. “But it’s fine now,”


Collins, rebuilt knee and all, blazed through the competition to finish the season as her age group’s points leader.

While she may be considered the odds-on favorite to ski away with the overall title by some, Collins is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I feel pretty excited and confident because I’ve been skiing really well lately,” she said. “(But) I know some of the other competitors have a high ability.”

While both Alvey and Browning are making their first trip to the Western Regional, the two are aiming high.

“I’ll make the top 10 hopefully. Depending on how I do in the slalom, I think if I ski at my best, I can do it,” said Alvey, who races for the Auburn Ski Team.

Browning is also confident about his chances.

“I think I can make the top 20 if I ski strong,” he said.

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