Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Leif’s racers enjoy another lively event

Combined alpine, cross-country skiing

Dressed in bushy-haired costume at Sun Valley Nordic, men’s overall Leif’s Combined winner Bryce Turzian pauses to enjoy the camaraderie of Saturday’s cross-country ski race. Photo by Willy Cook

Sun Valley cross-country ski pioneer Leif Odmark would have liked the display of all-around skiing and the sassy attitudes during Saturday’s Leif’s Combined race presented by the Sun Valley Ski Club.

This year’s field of 63 sampled cross-country skiing on a 5-kilometer course at Sun Valley Nordic, then took a giant slalom run down Baldy’s Cozy ski run. Race organizers gave equal weight to alpine and Nordic times and used a formula to calculate final results.

Overall men’s winners were: 1—Bryce Turzian. 2—John Campbell. 3—Scott Robinson. Overall women’s winners were: 1—Jena Greaser. 2—Kim Nalen. 3—Loni Unser.

For the second straight year, Leif’s Combined matched alpine skiing ladies called the Divas (21 strong) in a team event against the Nordic skiing Vamps (15 participants). The Divas avenged their narrow loss from last February and won by a large margin, thus avoiding the “dance off” that was to be used as a tiebreaker.

The morning started out with Miles Fink-Debray, an accomplished alpine racer, using a combination of aerobic capacity and determination to chase down and win the Nordic race in 15 minutes and 47 seconds, narrowly edging Bryce Turzian (15:47) at the finish. Third place went to Scott Robinson with a time of 16:46.

Fastest Nordic women: Kate Whitcomb 17:48, Kim Nalen 18:08 and Davina Walker 18:14.

In the afternoon, Fink-Debray was skiing a fast clean GS run, looking to be the first winner of both the alpine and Nordic legs of the race, when he blew out of the course just three gates from the finish. It elevated John Campbell to the fastest GS time of 36:06 seconds, followed by Austin Savaria 36.96 and Yuri McClure 38.91.

Claudia Stern 40.96, Jena Greaser 41.50 and Danielle Carruth 41.91 clocked the fastest GS times for women.

Leif’s class winners included, for the 13 male racers, Tucker Smith, McClure, Turzian, Robinson, Campbell and Ernie Anderson, and, for the 50 female contestants, Logan Smith, Ellie Gorham, Greaser, Walker, Carruth, Nalen, Connie Smith and Joanne Davis.

The Leif’s Combined race was run for 18 years through 2009, then resumed in 2012 under its current format.

It is named for the native of Sweden who came to Sun Valley in 1948 with a Scandinavian background of Nordic skiing and ski jumping. He taught alpine skiing at Sun Valley and started the resort’s first Nordic ski school in 1970. Odmark’s athletic interests ranged from skiing to swimming and diving, and long-distance running. He died in 2004 at the age of 84.

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