Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) racing concluded for the 2015 season on Wednesday at Coronet Peak, with overall and discipline titles handed out to this season’s winners. A stacked international field provided fiercely competitive racing, as special start rights for Continental and World Cup races for this coming Northern Hemisphere’s winter were on the line.
In Monday’s women’s giant slalom, Norway’s Mina Fuerset Holtmann took the win ahead of Austrian Stephanie Brunner in second and World Cup regular Lotte Smiseth Sejersted in third. Norwegian NCAA racer Chloe Fausa of the University of Utah managed a sixth-place finish at the day’s end. The top American finisher was Anna Marno in 16th.
The following day saw men’s and women’s slalom action, with the Austrian duo of Marco Schwarz and Manuel Feller going one-two in the men’s race, as Swiss skier Marc Gini rounded out the podium in third. The Americans had a strong showing with four racers landing in the top-10, led by Tim Kelley just missing the podium in fourth, AJ Ginnis in seventh, Mark Engel in eighth, and Michael Ankeny 10th.
On the women’s side, Holtmann claimed her second consecutive win and 6-point result over a pair of Austrians with Ricarda Haaser in second and Stephanie Resch in third. The University of Denver’s Kristine Gjelsten Haugen landed in the fifth position, and top American, Maisie Ide of Dartmouth College, managed an 11th-place result.
The final day of racing saw two men’s giant slaloms contested, as the cancelled race from the Perisher series was added to the schedule at Coronet Peak.
In the first race, Austria’s Christian Hirschbuehl proved victorious over Andreas Zampa of Slovakia. New Zealand’s own Willis Feasey claimed the final step on the podium in third. Feasey’s compatriot, Adam Barwood, finished in fifth for an impressive showing for the Kiwis. Canadian Erik Read of the University of Denver was seventh while top American finisher Brian McLaughlin of Dartmouth and the National University Team finished 14th.
Race two saw Andreas’ older brother, Adam Zampa, take yet another ANC victory – his 15th to date – tying for the win with Austria’s Feller. Feasey claimed his second podium with another third-place finish, with top American, Bobby Moyer of Aspen, landing in 10th.
In the season-long standings, Adam Zampa ran the table on the men’s side, sweeping the overall, slalom, and GS titles, guaranteeing himself a start position of no worse than 31st in any Continental Cup race this coming winter. Barwood claimed the World Cup starting spot in men’s slalom while Feasey just edged him out for the right in GS.
On the women’s side, New Zealand’s Piera Hudson used her strong performances at the Mt. Perisher series to also sweep the titles, but since she represents New Zealand, her titles also grant her World Cup starting rights in slalom and GS for the coming winter.
“The ANC series couldn’t have gone better for me this season!” explained Hudson. “There were some really difficult conditions to ski in at both Mt. Perisher and Coronet Peak but I put down some solid runs throughout the series and am really happy that I was able to come away with the GS, slalom, and overall ANC title and I’m looking forward to making the most of the yellow bib in Europa Cups and NorAms in the Northern Hemisphere season.”
With the southern hemisphere’s season drawing to a close, this season’s racing action proved to be quite the teaser as we look forward to World Cup action getting underway in Soelden, Austria, in just over a month.
Photo courtesy of Piera Hudson (Facebook)