Editor's note: This article has been updated with final results.
MISSOULA — Victor teenage skier Daniel Crosbie looks rather unassuming at 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds.
Yet, the 13-year-old displays a fearless attitude to go with his relentless drive on the slopes.
On Saturday, Crosbie showed his continued ascent as a top moguls skier for the Missoula Freestyle Team, finishing fourth overall and second in his age group of the singles regional competition at Montana Snowbowl.
“Everyone on the team says I’m invincible because I’m small,” Crosbie said with a big smile that persisted even though he insisted he was tired.
“I can jump through trees, I can land on my neck and I’ll be fine. But in the bumps, (my size) kind of deducts my speed and takes it away to where I can’t pull it all together. That’s a defect. Otherwise, it’s pretty nice. It’s nice being a smaller person.”
Crosbie got his start in competitive skiing on a chance encounter when he was 8 years old. Coming down the Paradise ski trail at Montana Snowbowl, he took a large jump against his father’s wishes.
Missoula Freestyle co-director Donovan Power happened to be nearby and saw instant potential in him and his older brother, Robert. Daniel and Robert, now 15 years old, joined the Missoula Freestyle Team, and their 9-year-old sister has joined them this season.
“They feed off each other,” Daniel’s dad, Daniel Crosbie, said. “There’s just this good brother bonding.”
The Crosbie family makes the 65-minute drive to and from Montana Snowbowl to train with the team. They used to go three times per week and 70 days each year, but now they’re up to four times each week and aiming for 80 days on the year.
“I think that’s why I got so good and escalated so fast,” Crosbie said.
The drive is both time consuming and costly compared to others who live closer. The training and contest entry fees would only add to the cost, but the Missoula Freestyle Team has been able to help with a scholarship.
“We’re invested in the Crosbie family,” Power said.
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“We’re invested in the community and gave away $5,000 in scholarships this year,” Missoula Freestyle Team president Michele Puiggari interjected. “It’s based on need. It’s not based on skill.”
“Although sometimes both,” Power said, pointing to Daniel.
When Crosbie got started in skiing, he was encouraged by Missoula native Thomas Stevens, the younger brother of 2018 Olympic skier Darian Stevens. He also looked up to Butte native Bradley Wilson, a 2014 Olympic skier.
“I saw video of Bradley Wilson, and I said, ‘I want to do that when I’m older.’ I think I want to be better than him now,” Crosbie said confidently.
Crosbie showcased his newest jump on Saturday, a D-Spin, which he added over the offseason. Combined with his back axe on his first jump down the slope, he scored a 66.88, obliterating his previous best score, which he said was around 40.
“Hands down his best performance ever,” Power said. “He’s shown tremendous growth from last year in his ability and drive.”
Crosbie’s goal this season is to make it to junior nationals. He started racking up points on Saturday, and he’ll have a chance to add more on Sunday during dual moguls.
“I really want to make it to juniors this year,” Crosbie said. “I want to do good. I want to get better. I didn’t make it last year, so it’s a big goal. Basically, everyone’s fighting for the third spot. There’s three people that go. We all have to fight for it. It’s like a World War III.”
Idaho skier wins girls title
Idaho native Tillie Babcock continued celebrating her birthday week by finishing first overall in the girls singles competition.
Babcock, 13, of Sun Valley, Idaho, did a 360 on her first jump and a twister spread on her second jump down the slope.
“I felt really good with the runs that I did,” Babcock said after winning the girls singles title for the first time in three appearances. “I felt like I went really fast because my coach tells me to try to go five seconds faster each run. I tried to, and it increases my speed a lot when I do that.”
Complete boys' results weren't available by press time.