Meet Freeride Champion Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Ulrich

Freeride Champion Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Ulrich takes the lines less traveled. Courtesy photo
 
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Charlotte “Charlie” Ulrich, a ninth grader at Los Alamos High School, has been invited to ski at the North America Junior Freeride Championships April 5-9 at Kirkwood Mountain, Calif. Ranked third in North America in the 12-14 year-old female ski category, she is in her second year of training and competing with the Taos Winter Sports Team and has been sponsored this season by Head-Ski.

Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Ulrich

Ulrich began skiing at Pajarito Mountain with her father, TJ Ulrich, when she was three years old but her mother, Kay, says the family started going to Taos Ski Valley after years when the local area either didn’t open or was open for very few days. The Uhlrichs spend their weekends in Taos so that Charlie can attend her training 9 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays with her coach Andrea Krejci.

Charlie’s dad, TJ, says she is an aggressive expert skier known for choosing the steepest and tightest lines on any competition venue and attacking the fall-line as she descends.

“Her creativity in line choice takes her to places other competitors dare not go. This, coupled with her new-found love of ‘going big’ by throwing in some big cliff drops has routinely allowed her to standout and rank among the highest competitors in North America,” he said.

A typical competition begins with an early morning lift ride to the venue where all the competitors have the chance to visually inspect the terrain, choose their lines, and test the snow conditions without actually skiing the terrain or performing their chosen jumps or cliff drops. After the inspection, competitors wait their turn to ski down their chosen lines.

“For Charlie, this typically starts with a drop from a rock or cornice into a tight chute or rocky cliff area, where she can show off her ability to ski that tight, steep terrain, before exiting with a big drop, perhaps with a nice trick thrown in, and then laying the skis down into big carving turns into the finish,” he proud dad added.

NorAm ranking is based on the athlete’s best two finishes in both national events and regional events during the season. National events have a qualifying round and a final round for the top qualifiers. Regional events are typically one run only, whereas national events are more challenging with longer and steeper runs with more features and chutes than regional events. Charlotte has several wins behind her including a win at the Taos National, second in the Snowbird National, second in the Taos Regional, and second in the Breckenridge Regional last weekend. Her goal is to be on the podium for the championships at Kirkwood Mountain.

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