Marquette Mountain, Michigan, Jan. 23: 40 mph winds, and a blizzard – must be the Central Masters Championships.
In the SG – it was crucial to maintain a low tuck on upper Rocket to carry speed through the “C” turn where snow accumulation was 1/2 inch after each racer! A stiff headwind met many competitors as they turned onto the headwall. Jack Thune, class 5, apparently either skiing out of his mind – or on a pair of skis right off the World Cup – or both, depending on general opinion – won the first race overall by almost 1.5 seconds. He finished second only 0.1 out of first place overall in the second race.
Jesse Lindemer claimed top spot in the second race. Jesse raced for the University of Minnesota, as well as FIS before his uncle, Captain Stevo, recruited him to Masters. Tough weather conditions didn’t stop Werner Friedl from taking top spot in class 11. Unfortunately the winner of class 9 first race, Neil Hagemeister – crashed in the finish arena – ending his weekend with an ankle injury.
Saturday’s slalom brought crisp, cold, sunny weather – and a great race venue. In the first race – a left foot turn on a fall away made some racers late for the next series of gates. Ryan Fuller lost first spot in class 3 after a hike in that section, but regained it over Bruce Long in the second race by three seconds. Bruce, who took both SG races from Ryan, hails from Sydney, Australia. Having come to the States on holiday, he checked out the Midwest Masters website and decided to make it part of his trip. Maybe there will be a racer exchange program is in the future?
The battle for top spot for the overall in race #1 was dead heat.. Local fast guy Ben Bernard and out of towner Jesse Lindemer, both class 1, finished tied both runs. They were followed by Michael Auge, class 1, and Steve Lindemer, class 4. Jesse Lindemer won the second race, finishing 0.27 seconds ahead of Auge. Captain Stevo was 0.3 seconds behind for 3rd overall. Mike Shklovski, class 2, finished in the top 5 overall both races. Mike is easily recognizable by the laptop which accompanies him everywhere – including hot tub and meal time – displaying the most recent World Cup races.
Jeanine Kooman, class 1, still under the protection of St Olaf, was the fastest women on the hill in every race – and finished in the top 10 overall in almost every race.
More of the same great weather for Sundays GS on the Cliffs. The first race was a family affair for the overall titles with nephew Jesse Lindemer edging out uncle Steve for top place by 1 second. Michael Auge followed in third 0.5 off second place. Ben Bernard rallied after a hip check on the headwall took him out of contention for race #1 – to take top spot overall in the second race, edging out Jesse by 0.5 seconds, with Captain Stevo 0.3 seconds behind in third. Gary Konsza, class 7, won both races in his class. And Toshio Ogino outlasted the field in class 9 after Bob Larsons crash in the slalom ended his race weekend.
The banquet (hosted by Richard Wagner, class 9) was held at the National Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpheming, Michigan, founded in 1905. Incredible to receive our awards under the watchful eyes of ex olympians and other ski pioneers. Even more exciting for our Division – our own home town hero Cary Adgate from Boyne Mt., A two-time olympian and Masters Racer of the Year in 2005, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this April. We hope he joins us on the Masters circuit again soon. Greg Abel, class 4, our own resident FDA agent, certified the banquet fare as almost as good as that of the Presidential Inaugural Balls. And he should know – he vetted the menus of that event.
See everyone in Sunday River for the Nationals.