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A Montauk Skier’s Remarkable Run

Thu, 04/27/2023 - 12:07
“Everything counts as you fly down the course,” Kieran Hildreth says.
Gary Yee

Kieran Hildreth, a 13-year-old Montauker who spends about five months of the year in northeastern Vermont, where he is a member of the Burke Mountain Academy Junior Program, continues to clean up in alpine skiing.

At the beginning of March, Hildreth, who was Vermont’s U14 giant slalom Tri-Council winner last year, swept to state U14 championships in super-G at Stowe and in giant slalom and slalom at Burke. His father, Jeff Hildreth, explained by phone recently that super-G is a speed discipline, while giant slalom and slalom are more technical. All these races have gates, though they are widely set in super-G, somewhat less so in giant slalom, and tighter still, requiring quicker and shorter turns, in slalom. 

Soon after his sweep in Vermont, Kieran became the U14 Eastern Region champion, winning the super-G and the giant slalom, while placing second in the slalom at Whiteface mountain near Lake Placid. At the subsequent Can-Am competition at Mont-Tremblant, which attracted young skiers from Colorado to Maine, as well as from “two-thirds of Canada,” he won the giant slalom and slalom, which earned him the U14 overall Can-Am championship.

It was “a remarkable run,” his father said.

Asked if anyone had put together such a string of wins before, Jeff Hildreth said he wasn’t sure, but that it was certainly a rarity. “The Can-Am overall win was the top one — he was up against the toughest U14 competition there.”

As for what he loves about alpine skiing, Kieran has said, “There is nothing like the cold, dry air rushing through your lungs as you fly down the course. Everything counts. There’s such a small margin between times that mistakes are everything. The feeling you get after you finish a course is priceless.”

He and his twin 10-year-year-old siblings, Baron and Audrey, are all members of the Burke Mountain Academy Junior Program. Kieran, who was a Burke Mountain Academy day student last year, will be a freshman there next fall. The school’s most well-known alum is Mikaela Shiffrin, who has more World Cup wins than anyone, male or female.

Shiffrin, a 2013 Burke Mountain Academy grad, is reported to have said that while she learned to ski in the West — she was born in Vail, Colo. — she learned to race in the East, thanks to its mountains’ more challenging icy conditions.

The twins go to the Burke Town School, where they are fifth graders, and practice three afternoons a week and weekends with the academy’s junior program. Both of them, said their father, won Vermont’s Tri-Council U12 race this past winter. Moreover, Baron placed third in freeski rail jam and fifth in freeski halfpipe at the recent USASA Terrain Park Nationals at Colorado’s Copper Mountain — a notable feat, Jeff Hildreth said, “because he’s received no formal coaching in those events given his focus on ski racing.”

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