World Cup Supply has announced the winners of the 2016 Berlack-Astle Memorial Fast Skier Award: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Kaitlyn Harsch and Matthieu Cote from the Northwood School.

Kaitlyn Harsch from Avon, Colo., has raced for 11 years and was ranked first in the NPS QRP (overall) giant slalom standings, winning the opening GS at Copper Mountain and earning 10th in the Seven Nations’ Cup slalom in Hinterreit, Austria. She was also a member of the 2016 U16 National Training Group. Kirk Dwyer, executive director at SSCV, wrote that Harsch “is in love with the fall line” and is propelled by both “heart and talent.” She proved that as she recovered from a knee injury in the 2015-2016 season, which cut her season short and challenged her during pre-season conditioning as well. She was also involved in raising funds to purchase computers for underprivileged families and is maintaining a 4.0 GPA average in school.

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“North Country” skier Matthieu Cote is from Plattsburgh, N.Y., and has been racing for only three years. It’s especially impressive considering Cote won the New York State championships in alpine combined, tied for first in GS at the same event and came in fourth in GS at U16 Nationals. The secret to his rise in ski racing may be his years of playing hockey. In fact, until his decision to pursue ski racing, hockey was the family sport for generations of the Cote family. J.P. Daigneault, program director at the Northwood School, recruited him to join the team after seeing him ski “arc to arc, generating speed in a tight course” at the New York State Championships in 2015. Matt is a strong student and has been involved in a variety of community projects in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid.

Both athletes will receive a $1000 cash award, a helmet, goggles and back protector from POC and a jacket, backpack and t-shirt from World Cup Supply. This is the ninth year the Fast Skier Award has been awarded and the second year that the award has been presented in memory of Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle, two U.S. Ski Team athletes whose lives were lost in an avalanche in Soelden, Austria in January 2015. The award is based on race results, academic excellence, coach’s recommendations and community involvement–the type of qualities that both Berlack and Astle exhibited.

Brad Williams, president and CEO of WCS noted, “This award gives us a chance to recognize excellence in the U16 community, and also continue to remember Ronnie and Bryce, two gifted athletes whose character on and off the hill was an inspiration to others.”

The staff at World Cup Supply congratulates Cote and Harsch, and wishes them the best in their future endeavors. They’d also like to thank Barry Levinson at 1to3go, as well as POC USA and, Atomic, N.A. for their generous donations and help recognizing Harsch and Cote’s achievements.

Release from World Cup Supply