On September 27, 2023

Teenagers earn podiums at U.S. Open


By Katy Savage

Some of the youngest riders at the U.S. Open of Mountain Biking in Killington Sept. 21-24 had the biggest success. 

The two youngest competitors, 15-year-old Aletha “Ally” Ostgaard of Seattle got second in the downhill race on the women’s side while Asa Vermette, 16, of Colorado won second place on the men’s side. 

“It’s definitely a really good feeling to reflect on my season and be like, ‘OK, I’m really happy with that,’” Ally said, explaining the U.S. Open was her last race of the season.

Ally and Asa made history last year, becoming the two youngest riders to ever podium the U.S. Open. They both finished in third place. 

“It was awesome to see those kids back on the podium and step up,” U.S. Open co-founder Clay Harper said. “The crowd here really thought Asa was going to win, it was wild.” 

Thousands of spectators showed up to watch the 900 athletes compete in downhill, enduro, best whip and dual slalom at Killington Resort. 

Asa said he could hear the crowd roar from the top of his run.

“It was insane to be racing with all the top World Cup dudes,” Asa said on Instagram after his win this year. 

“I’ve been watching them all on videos my entire life and to race against them was crazy,” he added in a later phone interview.

Asa, who also placed second in the best whip competition this year, started riding when he was 13 years old at his local bike park. 

“I’ve just been loving it ever since I can remember,” he said.

Asa said the Killington course is “a bit flatter” than other tracks he rides but “super fast.”

“They made it like a jump trail the entire way down,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Ally’s older sister Taylor, 18, got 11th place in the downhill.

“I’m super proud of them,” their mom, Brooke Ostgaard said. “They work hard. Hopefully that  leads to success throughout their life.”

Both Ally and Asa are getting ready to compete on the World Cup circuit next year, when they’re old enough. 

“I just want to keep racing my bike,” Asa said. “I’m just having fun the entire way down.”

Both of the teens are coincidentally planning to go to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia for a World Cup race Sept. 27 to Oct. 1. Ally will watch her older sister compete and Asa will ride the track to get a feel for the competition next year. 

They each took home $7,500 for their second place wins in Killington.

“I personally want to go out and spend it but I know my mom won’t let me,” Ally said.

 Dakotah Norton, 31, of Tennessee won the men’s downhill men’s and Greg Minnarr, 42, from South Africa, got third place.

On the women’s side, Nina Hoffmann, 27, of California won the downhill while Anna Newkirk, 22, of Switzerland got third place.


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