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September races in southern hemisphere are setting the stage for 2004-2005 season

September races in southern hemisphere are setting the stage for 2004-2005 season{mosimage}While summer skiing is wrapping up on many of the Northern Hemisphere’s glaciers, and American juniors are heading back to school, there’s actually quite a bit of competition going on in the Southern Hemisphere. Some top World Cup athletes are participating alongside young racers from South Korea and Brazil, who are getting a rare opportunity to lower their FIS rankings.

In Valle Nevado, Chile, for instance, overall World Cup champion Anja Paerson of Sweden raced in some South American Cups. Paerson actually finished second in a super G behind Gina Stechert, a German racer from Oberstdorf. Stechert, born in 1987, is still a junior with relatively unremarkable results until now, and is obviously a name to watch for in the future.

Another outstanding result went to Wade Bishop of the U.S. Ski Team, who was competing in a speed series in La Parva, Chile. Bishop traveled to Chile a few weeks before his teammates arrived for a speed training camp there, so that he could test skis after switching from Atomic to Elan over the summer. He is logging his first miles on the skis, and they are obviously working for him. He finished fifth in one of the races, just 0.03 seconds behind Italian downhill World Cup hero Kristian Ghedina. Park City-bred Adam Cole and Justin Johnson also skied fast in the races, which had sub-10 penalties.

On August 27, Justin Johnson won super G at Valle Nevado, Chile. Johnson, who fought his way back onto the U.S. Ski Team last spring, won by more than a second.

In El Colorado, another Chilean ski resort, there was a pair of giant slaloms cross-listed by the FIS as the Brazilian national championships. Among the top athletes were some Park City athletes and Sverre Melbye, a former coach for the U.S. Ski Team’s men’s Europa Cup team. Melbye was beaten out by Cody Marshall, of the Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield, Vermont.

A number of races have been held in New Zealand and Australia in the last week too. At Whakappa, New Zealand, a handful of past and present NCAA racers have been competing in a series of technical races. Among them are Patrick Biggs, Bradley Wall, Charlie Reed and Todd Ligare, who finished second on September 6th. The Colby College twins Abbi and Jenny Lathrop, who dominated the Eastern Carnival circuit in the last few years, went 1-2 in the September 9th slalom.

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