Ski Racer Higgins-Lopez Wins Fifth National Ski Cross Title

Audrey Higgins-Lopez ‘21 came to Northwood an accomplished alpine ski racer and earned top-ten finishes at numerous alpine races for Northwood/NYSEF at the U16 age group this season. She ended her first season a national champion in ski cross, an entirely different discipline.  On April 10th, Higgins-Lopez competed in USASA’s 14-15 Freeski National Championship, racing against the top young women in her age group. It’s her fifth national title in the sport.


Audrey Higgins-Lopez ’21 (center) atop the podium after winning her fifth national title in seven years. (Photo: provided)

Ski cross is a challenging sport that involves four competitors skiing simultaneously down a winding course, going over several large jumps and banked turns. Higgins-Lopez qualified for the national championship by dominating a time trial, finishing in just 48.58 seconds – the second fastest time of the 120 skiers in the free ski group. But she didn’t even need a good time trial: because of her previous wins, she was already qualified to race for the championship. During her championship race, she pulled ahead of the other skiers and took home the title as USASA’s national champion.

Winning a national championship is impressive, but it’s only one of many awards for Higgins-Lopez. In 2017 she was chosen for the Chuck Allen Scholarship, an award given by USASA to athletes who “demonstrate the characteristics and qualities most valued by Chuck Allen, founder of the USASA: a commitment to the community, good grades, participation in the athlete’s chosen forms of education and to the USASA.” She was one of only 29 other skiers recognized for this award out of the hundreds of USASA competitors.

Audrey is also five-time National Champion for USASA Freeski winning the ski cross national championship in five of the last seven years.

2018’s competition for Audrey was more significant than most, mainly because she felt it was more competitive than previous years, having beaten her competition by just over half a second. The next step for her is the junior age group, and she knows the next age group will be a challenge. “I’m not sure how the future will be. It will definitely be more difficult as people get better and more competitive in the sport.”

Higgins-Lopez isn’t the first alpine ski racer to excel in ski cross. Canadian Olympian Kevin Drury graduated from Northwood in 2006 and took up ski cross after he left Northwood. With so many national titles and podium finishes in both sports, one thing is sure: Audrey Higgins-Lopez has a bright future in both sports.


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