By KEVIN SAULS
Greg Bartels of Sonora is making a concerted upward move by going downhill as fast as he can in the formidable world of Alpine skiing.
Bartels, 16, is training and competing full-time throughout the Western United States as he strives for a spot on the U.S. Ski Team's developmental squad by the time he's 18.
The son of David and Suzanne Bartels is in Big Mountain, Mont., this weekend after competing in a Junior Olympic qualifier at Mammoth Mountain on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada last weekend.
His season began in November in Winter Park, Colo., he has competed in several events in both Park City and Ogden (Snowbasin), Utah, and also has raced at Heavenly Valley above South Lake Tahoe. He'll ski on his home course at Diamond Peak in Incline Village, Nev. (the north shore of Tahoe), on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and then is scheduled to compete in Aspen, Colo., on Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, and at Mammoth again by the end of February.
He has been home (in Sonora) for only two days since Christmas and he won't come through again until the middle of next month.
"It gets a little lonely for him sometimes," said David Bartels. "He misses hanging out and doing things with his friends. It's like that for all the kids who are serious about it."
Bartels is serious, and his top priority this season is to qualify for the U.S. Alpine Championships, which are March 19 to 25 in Alyeska, Alas. If he makes the nationals, Bartels will compete alongside the best the U.S. has to offer, right up the food chain to World Cup star Bode Miller.
Bartels is competing on circuits sanctioned by both the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and the International Ski Federation (FIS), the latter of which runs the World Cup.