St. John’s Prep sophomore Michael Hayes has been chosen to go to the Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy. The Beverly resident had an outstanding season in skiercross which is also called skicross, as a member of the Carrabassett Valley Academy weekend program.
“This is my second year with the team,” said Hayes, who also plays baseball for the Eagles and the AAU Academy Team. “I had a very good season, and I had no clue I would be invited to the Junior Worlds, but right before my last race at Sugarloaf my Dad told me they were going to select the team after the race.
“I had a good finish, and then I got an email telling me I had made the team. It’s really exciting. I was on the St. John’s freshman baseball team last year, and I’m trying out for the JVs, but skiercross is my first love.”
The CVA is located at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine and is a ski and snowboard academy.
Skiercross is a relatively new sport that is based on the snowboarding discipline of boarder cross. In 2010 it became an Olympic sport for the first time. The courses are built to include natural terrain along with artificial features like banks, rolls, and jumps. It is a demanding sport that begins with time trials. After that the fastest skiers compete in a knockout round with four athletes starting at the same time, trying to reach the finish line first.
The top two go on while the others are KO’d, done for the day. The skiercross season begins the weekend after Thanksgiving and wraps up in early April with nationals.
“I won’t be going to nationals this year because it’s the same time as the Worlds,” said Hayes, who also skis for the Prep team. “This is my second season with the Carrabassett Valley Academy team. I was a skier, who went along to a skiercross competition a few years ago, and I really liked the sport. You go alone to get a time on the course, and they seed you to see which group of four you’ll be in. There are four left for the finals, and one winner.”