Wednesday, March 13, 2013

USCSA nationals a big hit in Sun Valley

Over 500 racers, 200 volunteers last week

Enjoying Saturday’s USCSA nationals awards party at River Run Lodge are Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation alumni, from left, Mal Prior of Westminster College, Ali Appleton of Westminster College, Nina Hirner of College of Idaho and Harlan Collins of Montana’s Rocky Mountain College. Photo by Willy Cook

With over 500 competitors from 60 schools, and the efforts of nearly 200 volunteers, last week’s 35th annual U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboarding Championships were a big success at Sun Valley Resort.

The March 2-9 event was held at Sun Valley for the second time, after a previous visit here in 2011, according to USCSA executive director Laura Sullivan of Cummington, Mass. The USCSA nationals are normally held at an eastern ski resort one year, and at a western resort the next.

Competition took place in alpine, Nordic, freestyle and snowboard events.

Sierra Nevada College of Incline Village, Nev. carried off the combined men’s and women’s alpine championship over second-place Rocky Mountain College of Billings, Mt.

Former Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation racer Harlan Collins of Hailey was a major contributor to the Rocky Mountain College success, winning numerous team medals and capturing seventh place overall in combined standings. Collins placed ninth of 96 racers in giant slalom and 11th of 95 in slalom on Greyhawk run.

The Caldwell-based College of Idaho team featured former SVSEF racer Nina Hirner, 21st in women’s alpine combined. Hirner placed 31st of 92 women in giant slalom and 25th in slalom, and also took a turn in women’s freestyle skier cross with a 12th-place result.

SVSEF Snowboard Team alumni Ali Appleton and Mal Prior of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah posted excellent results in the USCSA snowboard competition.

Appleton placed third in snowboard halfpipe and was on the winning Westminster team. She was ninth in boardercross and, again, helped the first-place Westminster team in that event. Prior, a member of the Westminster second-place men’s team in his events, was fourth in slopestyle and second in snowboard boardercross. Appleton and Prior also placed in the top 15 of giant slalom.

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