Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the slopes and along the trails

New England leaves JNs with Alaska Cup

Age and experience trumped youthful promise Saturday at the end of the 2009 USSA Cross Country Junior National races presented by Auburn Ski Club at Truckee, Calif.

New England, chocked full of college skiers and dominant in the Older Junior division, won three of six relays to take the prestigious Alaska Cup championship by 103 points over Intermountain Division.

Intermountain featured 16 skiers from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation's Junior Nordic ski team. The division did well in the J2 (ages 14-15) boys' and girls' classes, and in J1 (16-17) girls. In those classes Intermountain finished with 805 of its 1,232 points, or 65%.

But New England, bolstered by an 80-point edge over Intermountain in Friday's classic interval start races, outscored Intermountain 546-274 in Older Junior (18-19) classes to come away with the victory.

The Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team with 715 points (462 boys, 253 girls) won the overall club championship over Montana's Bridger Ski Foundation (686). Head coach Rick Kapala said, "It shows we're heading in the right direction."

He added, "Intermountain did what we needed to do—keep the gap down on the sprint days and reel the other teams in on the skate day. We finished first or second on each of the days. But New England had more depth in OJ and J1 boys."

Relay highlights included a silver medal for Intermountain's J2 girls' at 3x3 kilometers with Sloan Storey and Maggie Williams, and Stella Holt of Glacier. In J1 men at 3x5k, bronze medals went to Max Durtschi, Daniel Sundali and Bridger's Tanner Wiegand.

"A great effort by Sloan and Maggie, especially since Maggie was really sick earlier in the week," said Kapala.

In Friday's classic events, OJ Willie Neal, J1 Durtschi and OJ Miles Havlick placed fifth, ninth and 15th overall on the 10k course. Durtschi finished fourth in his class and so did second-year OJ Neal.

Kapala said, "Max skied really, really well all week—his best JNs ever. He also had a tremendous effort with his skate leg in the relays."

The coach added, "We fought illness as a team and as a division all week. But even with the sickness and the youth of our team, our results were really encouraging. We just have an excellent group of kids coming in the J2 group."

Here are Friday's classic results and SVSEF placings, plus final team ranks standings and relay highlights:

Final Alaska Cup standings: 1—New England 1,335. 1—Intermountain 1,232. 3—Defending champion Alaska 1,127. 4—Midwest 726. 5—Rocky Mountain 654. 6—Far West 337. 7—Pacific Northwest 324. 8—High Plains 184. 9—Mid Atlantic 143. 10—Great Lakes 62.

Older Junior boys, 10k (ages 18-19): 1—Reese Hanneman (Alaska) 28:23. 4—Willie Neal 29:23 (5th overall). 10—Miles Havlick 30:16 (15th overall) (51 racers).

J1 boys, 10k (ages 16-17): 1—Erik Bjornsen (Pacific Northwest/Methow Valley) 29:01. 4—Max Durtschi 29:56 (9th overall). 14—Daniel Sundali 31:12. 22—Travis Job 31:46. 46—Scott Schoen 33:06. 58—Scotty Phelan 33:44 (93 racers).

J1 girls, 5k: 1—Monica Markvardsen (Intermountain/Blackjack) 16:39. 17—Julia Bowman 17:33. 23—Makayla Cappel 17:41. 25—Bronwen Raff 17:44. 29—Courtney Hamilton 17:51 (81 skiers).

J2 boys, 5k (ages 14-15): 1—Logan Hanneman (Alaska) 14:33. 15—Torin Tucker 15:43. 16—Brandon Wade 15:45 (57 racers).

J2 girls, 5k: 1—Corey Stock (New England) 16:17. 11—Sloan Storey 18:03. 12—Maggie Williams 18:05. 29—Emily Williams 18:58. 40—Maranda Stopol 19:31 (61 racers).

Peterson second in Taos big mountain race

Sun Valley local McKenna Peterson, 21, emerged from a very strong women's field to place second in the $12,000 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships big mountain contest March 7 at Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

In the 19-racer Senior Women's class, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation alumni Peterson was one of the most successful racers mastering the Taos' West Basin venue in exceptional conditions, according to writer Tim Mutrie of ESPN Freeskiing's Web site. The moisture-packed storm, which forced a weather delay on Friday, was exceptionally windy, resulting in a creamy snowpack that athletes took full advantage of.

Michelle Gmitro, an unheralded skier out of Arapahoe Basin, opted for a highly technical line, requiring precise skiing on her final run, Mutrie said. With an aggressive air at the bottom, she won the event. Peterson finished second with a line that combined elements of fluidity and technical skiing, wrote Mutrie.

Other memorable impressions included the catlike agility and aggression of Alaskan athlete and former SVSEF racer Garrett Altmann. Altmann sat in first prior to his second run, fell on his final run of the day, but his amazing recovery allowed him to steal a spot on the podium, finishing third in Senior Men.

The Salomon Extreme Freeriding Championships is one of the qualifying events for the Freeride World Tour Qualifing (FWTQ) circuit including big mountain races in Italy, France and Slovakia.

Meanwhile, Sun Valley's Drew Stoecklein (116 points) placed second to winner Julien Lopez of France (127) in the Senior Men's event of the 12th annual U.S. Freeskiing Nationals held March 11-14 at Snowbird, Utah.

Griffin Post, another Sun Valley skier, currently stands in third place in the season standings of Senior Men.

Parrish Memorial weekend is here

Halfpipe has been added to the fun of the 17th annual Lane Parrish Memorial. The friendly, local competition is set for Friday through Sunday, March 20-22 on Baldy.

A classic Sun Valley persona of the 1970s and 1980s, Parrish was a speed and bump skier and movie stuntman who died at age 33 in a plane crash near Twin Falls in 1990.

Proceeds help support the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Freestyle/Freeride team and the Soldier Mountain downhill.

Coach Andy Ware of the SVSEF Freestyle/Freeride Team said, "The 2009 Lane Parrish event is a three-day party. Deadline for registration is Thursday, March 19 at 5 p.m. T-shirts are included with registration."

Here is the schedule, including many additional activities headquartered at Apple's Bar & Grill:

Friday, March 20: Halfpipe at 1 p.m. on Lower Warm Springs sponsored by Monster Energy Drink.

Saturday, March 21: Bumps on Race Arena at 12 noon. It's National Corndog Day sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and there will be music and entertainment at Apple's.

Sunday, March 22: The Parrish Memorial super giant slalom at 10:30 a.m. on the Greyhawk course through Cozy and Hemingway. After the first super G run, the "New Diamond Sun Dash for Cash" will feature the top 15 men and top five women from the earlier heat. Apple's will stage the 4 p.m. awards party.

Combined winners will have the lowest scores when class placings of the Parrish SG and Parrish bumps are added. Air, turns and overall impression are judged in the moguls, with the highest score winning.

In addition, there will be a new three-event category called Super Combined featuring pipe, bumps and SG. Remember, though—competitors can sign up either in combined or for any event individually. The point is to come out and enjoy.

Fee for individual events is $25 per person. The combined cost is $45, and the Super Combined is $60. Sign up at Apple's or at the SVSEF office in the Greyhawk Building by March 19. There will be no day-of-race sign-ups.

Mogul skiers finish up JOs at Waterville Valley

Alysha Herich of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation's Freestyle/Freeride team earned a silver medal in F4 age class combined at the USSA Junior Olympics March 9-16 at Waterville Valley, N.H.

Herich was the only member of the Sun Valley traveling group to compete in all five disciplines during the national competition. She won the F4 aerials Saturday and placed second in her class in halfpipe, slopestyle and dual moguls.

Sun Valley's Tai Barrymore posted the highest score of all 52 men in Wednesday's halfpipe on Phil's Hill to earn the gold. In all, Sun Valley had 10 podium placings in its classes. Other SVSEF placings:

Halfpipe men, March 11: Tai Barrymore 1st M2/1st overall; Colter Brehmer 5th M1/12th overall; Trace Page 7th M1/16th overall; and Ben Parker 3rd M3/25th overall.

Halfpipe women: Zana Davey 3rd F2/10th overall; and Alysha Herich 2nd F4/20th.

Slopestyle men, March 12: Tai Barrymore 9th M2/22nd overall; and Colter Brehmer 13th M1/56th overall.

Slopestyle women: Alysha Herich 2nd F4/20th overall.

Single moguls men on True Grit, March 13: Austin Bourret 11th M1/21st overall; Nathan Moses 20th M2/45th; and Joey Richardson 6th M3/51st.

Single moguls women: Zana Davey 3rd F2/14th overall; Kali Phillips 17th F1/64th; and Alysha Herich 3rd F4/43rd.

Aerials women, March 14: Alysha Herich 1st F4/12th.

Dual moguls men, March 15: Austin Bourret 4th M1/9th overall; also racing were RJ Bracken and Joey Richardson.

Dual moguls women: Zana Davey 3rd F2/9th overall; Aunika Phillips 13th F2/17th; Kali Phillips 10th F1/33rd; and Alysha Herich 2nd F4/33rd.

Holding Cup brings back the glory days

Find three other fellow skiers who went to the same college and relive the glory days at the fifth annual Holding Cup handicap ski races Friday and Saturday, March 27-28.

Organized by Sun Valley Resort and staged on Baldy's Lower Warm Springs ski run, the Holding Cup is all about speed and consistency. At stake is money for your college's ski team or athletic department.

The fastest handicap team of four skiers will be declared the winner of $1,500. The second-place prize for your college is $1,000, and third place is $500. In addition, there will a Consistency Prize of $500.

Last year's Holding Cup welcomed its biggest-ever field of teams, 12. It crowned a new champ—Montana State University with Matt Murphy, Wes Powell, Katherine Latham and Brett Jacobson.

No racing experience is needed.

Each team must have four skiers at least 21 years old who attended the same college. All times will be adjusted using an age and gender-based handicap system. Two handicap runs are required of each racer on Friday, March 27 on Baldy.

Based on the handicap runs, race organizers will announce at Friday night's race party the bracketing for Saturday's 11 a.m. finals matching the top eight fastest teams. All other teams will be entered in Carol's Consistency Cup. Registration fee of $100 per team member includes lift tickets, goody bag and social events.

  Register at or call the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation office at 726-4129 ext. 103. Final registration and goody bag pickup is Thursday, March 26 from 3-5 p.m. at Warm Springs Day Lodge. Remember—the goody bag includes a killer Karbon ski parka worth about $300.

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