Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ski racing summary

Duke takes slalom gold at NorAm Cup Finals

Sun Valley native Hailey Duke, 21, of Boise clocked the fastest first run and won the final NorAm Cup women's slalom Thursday, nipping slalom champion Kiley Staples of Park City, Utah by .04 seconds.

Duke led a U.S. women's sweep of the top four places at the NorAm Finals held at Panorama Mountain Village in British Columbia, Canada. Duke's winning time was 1 minute, 36.91 seconds, with Staples second in 1:36.95 and 2006 NorAm SL champion Sterling Grant third. The previous day, Duke also podiumed with a third place in slalom.

Other results for Sun Valley racers during the March 14-17 Nor-Am race series were Duke 13-GS, Lauren Eder 20-SL and 30-GS and Sean Higgins 30-SL. Ketchum's Zachary Brown also competed.

Turzian 19th in Junior World classic and skate pursuit

Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team racer Alexa Turzian, 18, posted another top 20 finish Friday when she placed 19th in the women's 10-kilometer classic and freestyle pursuit race of the 2007 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships at Tarvisio, Italy.

Wood River High senior Turzian clocked the eighth-fastest 5k skate in the field of 74 finishers to end up as the second American racer, behind 16th-place Liz Stephen of Burke Mountain Academy and the U.S. "B" Team. Turzian passed 18 skiers to finish with a total time of 28:05, less than two minutes off the winning pace of Sweden's Charlotte Kalla.

Reigning U.S. 10k freestyle queen Turzian had placed 16th of 83 finishers, again the second American, in Wednesday's 5k women's skate race.

Four other Sun Valley skiers took part in the Tarvisio competition that included the U-23 Championships.

In U-23 results, Dartmouth College senior Mike Sinnott was the top American and 46th overall of 72 finishers in Thursday's U-23 15k freestyle race. Sinnott was 25th in the U-23 1k classic sprint and 46th in 30k pursuit. Fairfield's Morgan Arritola was the second U-23 American female in 20k pursuit (23rd overall) and 10k skate (25th). Sun Valley's Reid Pletcher (56th of 86) and Colin Struthers (75th) also finished Friday's 20k Junior Worlds pursuit.

Western Region at Snow King

Snow King Resort's Grizzly and Cougar ski runs hosted 160 of the Intermountain West's best junior alpine ski racers ages 16-19 March 14-18 for the Western Region Junior Championship super giant slalom, giant slalom and slalom races.

Four local women and three young men from Soldier Mountain Racing and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation were in the Snow King starting gate. Here are their best results for the eight-race series:

Men: Soren Ireland 12-SG/23-GS; Tristan Brown 28-SG/21-GS/22-SL; and Michael Greer 42-SG/42-SL.

Women: Katie Rothgeb 23-SG/20-GS; Alisa Durkheimer 25-SG/32-GS/17-SL; Amanda Alexander 32-SG/31-GS; and Alexis duPont 36-SG/50-GS.

Underwood third in California Gold Rush

Sun Valley Olympic Development Team racer Kate Underwood placed third among the 16 female cross-country skiers finishing Sunday's 50-kilometer California Gold Rush at Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, Ca.

Underwood (2.15:27) was second in her class and 23rd overall in the marathon won by Carl Swenson of Park City, Utah (1.57:02). There were 82 skiers notching record times at the completion of the 28th annual American Ski Marathon Series event organized by Far West Nordic and the Auburn Ski Club.

Three other Wood River skiers completed the 50k test.

They were Jeremy Fryberger 30th overall and third in his class in 2.23:51, Greg Wilt 57th and seventh in his class in 2.46:52, and Tess O'Sullivan 11th among the women, 59th overall and second in her age class in 2.51:13.

Demong's silver a Nordic highlight

Reigning Boulder Mountain Ski Tour men's champion Billy Demong, 26, of Vermontville, N.Y. made a little bit of history March 3 during the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships at Sapporo, Japan.

Skiing the best cross country of his seven-year career on the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, three-time Olympian Demong came from way behind to place second in the HS 100/15-kilometer Nordic combined individual event on the Miyanomori Jumping Hill/Shirahatayama course.

Demong's effort produced only the second medal in combined by a U.S. skier at the Olympics or World Championships. And it was only the fifth-ever Nordic medal by an American in Olympics or FIS finals. In came five years after Demong fractured his skull during a dive into a shallow pool in Germany and jeopardized his athletic career.

He continued his fine skiing by winning his second-ever World Cup event, an individual 130-meter jump/15k race March 9 at Lahti, Finland—the first U.S. combined win in Lahti since 1983. Demong's other World Cup victory came in 2002 at Liberec, Czech Republic.

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