Following an extensive speed series, Aspen pulled off four giant slalom races over April 7-8. Both days offered temperatures reaching towards 60, and very early start times to avoid slushy tracks.
Mexican athlete Sarah Schleper of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail won the first women’s race, followed by German skier Ann-Kathrin Breuning of Westminster College in second place, and Galena Wardle of the U.S. Ski Team in third. Schleper started her morning off uneasy and unsure.
“I wasn’t feeling it, so I got my mental game going and told myself you have nothing to lose, just lay it out there and go as deep as you can,” she said.
After coming down in the lead, Schleper told herself to, “stay present and not think about the result. Schleper’s best result this season was her third place for Team Mexico at the World Championships Qualifier.
As for the men, Adam Barwood of New Zealand won the first race, followed by Canadian athlete Erik Read in second and Kim Hyeon-tae of Korea in third. Coming off his super-G win, Barwood had stellar giant slalom performances, walking away on top both days of giant slalom.
“These are my two best GS results by a fair bit, so they’ll help my races over the next year.”
On day two, Barwood’s Kiwi teammate Willis Feasey placed second and Read in third in the men’s GS race.
Schleper went on to win the second race; Breuning placed second again, followed by Westminster racer Andrea Komsic in third.
After the final GS, racers packed their bags and took off to Vail for two slalom races. The first day was a tad anticlimactic, however, as six inches of wet powder led the jury to postpone the race for the following day.
Vail managed to pull of two races for both men and women on April 10 – starting the day with a 7:30 am lift load and ending with a 5:00 pm awards ceremony. Needless to say, everyone was more than happy to take their ski boots off after the last woman crossed the finish line around 4:15 pm.
Norwegian racer Tonje Healey Trulsrud of University of Colorado Boulder won the first women’s race, followed by Anne-Solene Bregou of Westminster College in second, and CU Buff Nora Grieg Christensen of Norway in third.
“I’ve been very good at having one good run and then a really bad second run, so its good to get two good runs down,” admitted Trulsrud. “I maybe skied better second run because it was more difficult and I had to try more if that makes sense!”
Read won the first race of the day by 1.22 seconds over 2017 U.S. Giant Slalom National Champion Hig Roberts in second and Tucker Marshall of Redneck Racing in third.
Katie Hensien of Rowmark Ski Academy won the second race by an impressive 1.30 seconds, followed by Komsic in second and Trulsrud in third.
After falling in the first race, Hensien said she “totally went for it and felt like [she] had nothing to lose.” As a second year FIS racer, Hensien is psyched to have points in the teens for the beginning of next season.
Ola Buer Johansen of University of Colorado Boulder won the second men’s race of the day, followed by Roberts in second and Read in third.
“My slalom season has been a bit up and down,” Johansen explained. “I’ve been good in training but have had bad luck in races… second race first run I was pretty tired, but ten seconds before racing I thought: ‘if I’m going to get anything out of this race I just have to dig deep and go hard.”