Ella Haverkampf has made waves during her short time competing on Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Mountain Sports Team. And the reason is evident: She’s a confident and collected freeskier.
Originally from Chicago, her family moved to Crested Butte in 2007. That winter, Haverkampf began skiing at CBMR in the Cruisers program, an initiative to help teach young athletes fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding. She recalls her humble beginnings riding with Cruisers before being urged to join the Mountain Sports Team. This is her third season competing as a Big Mountain skier for Mountain Sports Team.
Mountain Sports Team is a partner program of the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation — a nonprofit that supports athletes like Haverkampf in their pursuit of competitive greatness. The foundation’s mission is to provide financial support for youth in Crested Butte and Gunnison in their pursuit of sportsmanship, passion, excellence and discipline through snow sport experiences.
At 13, Haverkampf has been skiing for as long as she can remember. In fact, she doesn’t even quite remember the first time she skied.
“My earliest memory of skiing is at a small bunny hill in Wisconsin in the middle of nowhere,” she says with a smile.
Haverkampf currently is ranked fifth in North America for 12-14-year-old female freeride competitors. She has thrived in this year’s competitions, earning a third-place podium spot at Snowbird, second at Taos, and first place at Monarch.
Haverkampf is rightfully proud of her progression from a fourth-place to a first-place competitor.
“I’ve been to New Mexico and Utah and (championships) this year are in Kirkwood, California and I’m pretty sure I qualified,” Haverkampf explains. This past weekend, she received a first-round invite, for which her age group will compete Thursday, April 6 with finals on Saturday, April 8.
Haverkampf has enjoyed skiing new places and loves to check out new mountains and new terrain. When asked what attracts her to big mountain skiing, she replies, “It’s something different. Not everyone gets to ski.”
Inspiration for Haverkampf comes from her coaches and her teammates. “There’s a lot of really good kids on my team so definitely from them,”she says. “I usually have to push myself to keep up with them so that’s cool.”
She enjoys competing because it gives her an opportunity to meet different people, making new connections and exploring new venues and ski resorts. “When you’re at the top you’re usually pretty nervous and you have all this adrenaline but when you get down it’s the greatest feeling ever, it’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders,” Haverkampf says.
Improving her ability to hit big airs and ride in the park are Haverkampf’s goals for next season. She also hopes to gain more confidence skiing tighter venues with small chutes.
In practice, Haverkampf explains, “We usually ski the steeps and hit big air and I ski with other kids that are my age.”
When not skiing, Haverkampf is involved in volleyball in the fall and track in the spring. It’s easy to see that this young rider has a bright future competing — including the prospect of a strong showing representing Crested Butte at this year’s International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association North American Junior Freeride Championships next month at Kirkwood.