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Domestic roundup: regional races heat up across the country


Domestic roundup: regional races heat up across the countryIn an attempt to keep up with the expansive domestic scene, skiracing.com will provide a weekly look at races happening in the East, Rocky/Central and West regions. In the opening installment, writer Bryce Hubner takes the tour through the National FIS Development series in the East, hot-skiing J3s in the Rockies, MidAms in Minnesota and Big Sky Devo FIS races in the West.

EAST

Men
Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Nolan Kasper, a second year J2 from Burke Mountain Academy, put down a blistering first run en route to winning the January 19 Development FIS slalom at Stratton Mountain, Vermont.

The Development series was created to provide younger, less experienced racers with opportunities to get FIS starts away from the more elite Eastern Cup series.

For first- and second-year FIS competitors, the races also served as important qualifiers for the J2 national championships, which will take place in Sun Valley, Idaho, this March.

After a week filled with sporadic rain, Stratton’s North American trail firmed-up and provided perfect conditions for the slaloms on Thursday and Friday.

Each run boasted over sixty gates and a minute-plus running time.

After posting Jan. 19′s fastest first run by more than six tenths of a second, Kasper skied the afternoon run to protect his lead.

‘His first run was great and he took advantage of starting bib two’ said Kasper’s coach, Darrell Gray, ‘and then he just skied a smart second run, doing enough to hang on.’

Luke McLaughry, Kasper’s BMA teammate, and New York Ski Education Foundation’s Thomas Biesemeyer finished sixth and seventh overall, garnering second and third place honors for J2s.

The Jan. 20 slalom was dominated by a pair of skiers from Middlebury College. Skip Heisse and Zeke Davison, who finished fourth and fifth a day earlier, produced a 1-2 effort, with Davison winning the race by over a second. Stratton Mountain School’s Colton Hardy finished third and grabbed his second podium of the week.

Biesemeyer climbed to fourth place overall on Jan. 20 and raced to the top spot for J2s. Kasper and McLaughry finished sixth and ninth overall, second and third place among J2s.

Kasper was very pleased with his results on both days, which included his first ever FIS win. ‘[Thursday] was awesome, a real confidence booster’ said Kasper, ‘and now that I’ve [probably] qualified for J2 Nationals, I’m going to be even more aggressive over the course of the next few weeks.’

For complete Stratton Mountain FIS Development series results, please click here (http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=18507&cal_suchsector=AL).

Women
Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

Julia Ford collected a couple of silver medals in the Development FIS slaloms at Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, on Jan. 20 and 21.

Ford, a first-year J2 from the Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, also earned top J2 honors on both days, and racked up valuable qualifying points for the J2 national championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.

On a boiler plate track, Klara Krizova of Stratton Mountain School and the Czech Republic edged Ford by a total of two tenths of a second to win the Jan. 20 slalom.

Temperatures climbed on Friday night, making life difficult on Saturday morning for the Smuggler’s Notch race organizers, directed by former U.S. Ski Teamer Alex Krebs. The crew did an excellent job salting and prepping the hill to make sure the race got underway.

The Jan. 21 slalom was captured by Mount Mansfield Ski Club’s Nicole Dvorak, who placed third a day earlier. Annie Randall, also from MMSC, was twice the second place J2 behind Ford, skiing to eighth and fifth-place finishes, respectively.

For complete Smuggler’s Notch FIS Development series results, please click here (http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=18508&cal_suchsector=AL)

ROCKY/CENTRAL

Hunter Schleper is on tear. At the Rocky Mountain Division USSA Smartwool slalom on Jan. 22 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Schleper dominated the Rocky/Central J3 crowd, and with a third-place finish overall, he showed that he’s ready to give the region’s FIS-age men a run for their money, too.

The second-year J3 from Vail, Colorado, has already qualified for the international Topolino Children’s Games in February, where he will compete against the world’s best 13 and 14 year old ski racers.

In the Jan. 22 Smartwool slalom on Howelson Hill, Schleper was less than two seconds behind first-place skier Thomas Allen, who is a J1 skier from Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The race boasted a 40-point penalty, and that Schleper was so close to the leaders suggests he’s already looking forward hitting the FIS circuit next season.

Michael Ankeny, another stellar J3 from Buck Hill, Minnesota, was second among J3′s, finishing sixth overall. The J3 boys’ podium was rounded out by Steamboat’s Hig Roberts, who finished 22nd overall.

The hometown team swept the podium on the ladies side, as SSWSC’s Heidi Hillenbrand scorched the field by two seconds, followed by J2 teammates Lauren Letson and Jennifer Allen.

Steamboat also captured the top-J3 spot when Cassidy Roberts raced to a seventh-place finish. Ski Club Vail’s Delaney Ackerman, who will join teammate Hunter Schleper in Topolino, was the day’s second-best J3 in 10th place overall.

Click here (http://www.rmdussa.com/reslts/u0550.htm) for complete Jan. 22 Ladies’ RMD USSA Smartwool results.

And here (http://www.rmdussa.com/reslts/u0549.htm) for complete Jan. 22 Men’s RMD USSA Smartwool results.

Central Men

Buck Hill’s Ryan Wilson won three of four runs and both races in a dominant MidAm GS performance at Lutsen Mountain, Minnesota, on Jan. 19 and 20.

Ben Babbitt, a University of Colorado development team skier, collected a couple of medals with third and second-place finishes, respectively.

Starting 55th and finishing ninth, Afton Alps’ Chad Lawrence was the fastest J2 finisher on Jan. 19.

Nick Stang, also from Afton Alps, earned top J2 honors on Jan. 20 by racing from bib 80 to a 10th-place finish.

For complete results, please click here (http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=18506&cal_suchsector=AL)

Women

Team Norway’s Kate Hosking and CSM Brasov’s Smaranda Munteanu finished 1-2 in both Lutsen races.

Maddie Strachota, from Team Gilboa, was the first-place J2 on Jan. 19, finishing sixth overall; Kelley Connelley also finished sixth overall when she captured the top-J2 spot on Jan. 20.

For complete results, please click here (http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=18506&cal_suchsector=AL)

ALSO

Loch Lomond, Ontario, Canada graciously hosted Rocky/Central Entry League FIS giant slaloms on Jan. 21 and 22 for both men and women.

For Loch Lomond results, please click here (http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=19720&cal_suchsector=AL)

WEST

Young men and women from around the country gathered in Montana for four days of speed races at Big Sky beginning Jan. 21.

The series, comprised of two downhills and two super G’s for each sex, was primarily established to give young, less experienced FIS racers an opportunity to strap on the long boards, grab tucks and get a little air.

Big Sky head Coach Jeremy Henrichon and his race crew had their hands full on the first day of downhill, when fresh snow and flat light caused frequent holds throughout the day.
(Young FIS racers got a taste of what speed racing’s proverbial ‘hurry up and wait’ is all about.) The crew was constantly grooming the track, and they performed admirably to make sure the first day of downhill was a success.

By the time the final super G rolled around on Jan. 24, Mother Nature was cooperating an
d imparted a quintessential western, blue-bird day, where the conditions were nearly perfect and the race unfurled without a hitch.

For Western Region J2s, the races also served as qualifiers for the J2 national championships, which will be hosted by Sun Valley, Idaho, in March.

Melissa Gill, a J2 from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was the week’s young standout. In the Jan. 21 downhill, Gill was the day’s fastest J2 in third-place overall. Gill would be denied by no skier for the remainder of the series, though, as she raced to J2 and overall victory in the subsequent DH and in both SGs.

On the men’s side, Mount Bachelor, Oregon’s Tommy Ford earned top J2 honors in both downhills and the Jan. 23 super G while en route to four top-10 overall finishes.

Charlie Reynolds and Christopher Dancy, J2 racers from Park City, Utah, posted top-10 results in both SG’s.

Veteran speedster Eric Holmer, Ford’s teammate from Mount Bachelor, won three of the four races.

Green Mountain Valley School’s Jon Transue garnered bronze medals in the Jan. 21 downhill and in both SGs.

For complete Big Sky, MT FIS Development Series DH and SG results, log onto http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=18505&cal_suchsector=AL

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