Canadians rebut on Vail NorAm Day 2
Race organizers in Vail have struggled to create a good racing surface after a week of variable weather conditions including warm and cold temperatures, rain, snow, sun, clouds, and everything in between.
Yesterday, (Jan. 31), caused some confusing results that were unexplainable to those who witnessed the race vicariously through live-timing or fisski.com. In reaction to the bizarre day of racing, coaches and officials spent their evenings watering the race venue in hopes of creating a more consistent surface. Their efforts were weakened however, by a few more inches of overnight snow that insulated the water and prevented it from fully freezing. Although it wasn’t perfect, the watering efforts were not in vain, and racers had more of an opportunity to show their stuff.
The Canadians failed to put a red maple leaf in the top-5 yesterday on the soft snow, but came back in retaliation today. Race winner, Ford Swette was 2nd on the first run behind the Middlebury racer, David Donaldson. Nasty wind and visibility challenged both racers, and neither were fast on the second run compared to second run winner Sasha Zaitsoff.
Ford Swette collected his first NorAm victory, despite an 18th place performance through the tough conditions on the second run. “That was my first NorAm victory. I was on top of the World! You come through the finish, and they don’t have a board to see your time or placing here, so the first thing is to look at all of the people, and see what their reaction is like. Maybe they throw their hands in the air, or my teammates clank their poles together, then I know I’ve done something good. When I came through and my teammates ran up and gave me a big hug, I knew that I had done something well, so I was on top of the world; I was so happy!” said Swette in post celebration from his fist Noram victory.
A second run win allowed the humble Sasha Zaitsoff a 2nd place
finish on the day, and some valuable NorAm points. “When I was in the
start gate the clouds parted and the sun came out. I just went for it,
and skied a really good, clean run. It ended up being the fastest time
of the day, and I moved up from 12th on the first run to 2nd overall”
Kieffer Christianson (pictured left) kept the ball rolling, as he backed up his win from yesterday with a bronze for today. “Good day today, interesting race, totally different conditions than yesterday with the coaches spending most of last night watering the hill. It was pretty icy, so it took a totally different kind of skiing. I tried to think of the same exact mindset in the start as yesterday, just focusing on my outside leg and going fast, keeping it simple and telling myself it was like day one. Ford and I were right in there together so it’s gonna be fun battling GS with him the rest of the year” said Christianson.”
Tomorrow (Feb. 1), the men and women will both be out on the slalom "disco sticks," racing to be North America's fastest racer. Race results from today's men's GS below:
-Article from Jeremiah Johnson