Another week of NorAms began with the Alpine Combine in Nakiska, Canada on Monday. Both the men and women started the crisp, partly cloudy morning with super-G and switched to a short slalom set in the afternoon. The element of changing from speed to tech within the same day has the art of showing a wide range of discipline, weaknesses, and strengths in every single athlete. Today, the combined titles were awarded to Jeffery Read (CAN) and Keely Cashman (USA). Other individuals were able to win exclusive gold medals; Isabella Wright (USA) grasped the victory in the SG and Louise Muhlen-Schulte (AUS) bested the field in slalom.
Throughout the day, the weather remained constantly chilly, windy, and partly cloudy. Nonetheless, athletes reported the snow conditions were top-notch.
“The snow was very awesome, aggressive, and grippy! Bullet proof snow,” said Wright.
The variable that deemed difficult today for both the SG and SL was the gusty winds. Especially since the race hill is predominantly flat, the winds became a challenge on speed for the super-G and the visibility for the slalom.
Despite the gusty winds that made aerodynamics crucial, Wright started off the day with her very first NorAm win on the SG course.
“I was very excited for my first NorAm win today. Nakiska is a very aggressive hill, where you have to carry your speed onto the flats,” she said.
In the 2018/19 season Wright proved herself in the NorAm super-G field when she placed second in Panorama, took third place in Lake Louise, and sixth in Sugarloaf. This year, she kicked off the speed season, last week in Lake Louise by gaining a fourth-place finish. However, after last week in Lake Louise, Wright said she knew she had room for improvement.
“I didn’t ski aggressive enough. I over skied the hill, didn’t attack the certain crucial gates in the course, and it was definitely icier there. I wanted to ski very aggressive today and prove myself,” Wright said.
With that mindset she executed the morning with the super-G gold.
Patricia Mangan (USA) came in second place for the super-G, 0.29 seconds off Wright. Historically, Mangan has shown strong results in super-G, thus it was not a surprise to see her on the podium. Last season she ended with a victory and a second place in the super-G Eastern Cup Finals in Vermont.
Storm Klomhaus tucked into the third place spot for the super-G, 0.51 seconds behind Wright. She was extremely excited to achieve her first NorAm podium spot, especially after her four knee surgeries over the past two years. Klomhaus has also over come knee injuries recently.
“ I have been attending to my knee injury the past two years and not skiing much speed in college, so this made this day very rewarding,” Klomhaus said.
The men’s SG concluded the morning with Canadian, Jeffery Read striking gold with a fast time of 59.16. Read came off last week’s speed week, in Lake Louise with confidence after a first and second in downhill.
“I wanted to find redemption from my eighth in SG in Lake Louise,” he said.
He was able to redeem himself by landing 0.29 in front of Kyle Negomir (USA) going into the slalom.
“Flats are my strong suit and the course was opened up similar to a downhill set, so I was able to find my speed,” Read said.
Teammate, Ryle Seger was also able to find his speed on the SG course taking third place, 0.94 behind Read. In Seger’s 2018/19 season he found himself on two NorAm podiums and had eight top-20 NorAm finishes. He will continue to run different NorAm speed events, while competing as an NCAA athlete for Montana State University.
The afternoon shifted to slalom, which brought excitement for the day of racing. Several of the athletes have not trained slalom yet this season, or train the discipline infrequently. For others, tech events are their strong suit. Thus, the leader board transforms for the overall combined title.
Keely Cashman sprinted for the finish line in the slalom, which made up the time she needed from her super-G run to claim the overall win.
“In the super-G I over skied the course and the gusty winds were tough for the flats. But, the day went pretty well overall and I was very happy with my slalom,” Cashman said.
Cashman won the run with a quick time of 36.86 and won the overall with a combined time of 1:39.67. Cashman is a very strong slalom skier with 23.21 points and an equally strong SG skier with 20.98 points. This season, she is proving herself a diverse skier and is finding speed in various disciplines.
Zoe Zimmerman from the U.S. Alpine D team was able to find her quick feet in the SL today, by earning herself a 2nd place finish! Because of her amazing SL run, Zoe was able to move up 11 spots from her finish in SG to end 12th in the overall combine. Last season, Zoe earned a 9th place finish in the Parallel Slalom during the NorAm Cup, thus she will be an athlete to watch for the upcoming tech races this week.
Klomhaus, laid down a consistent run that also put her in the third place position for the slalom. After starting the season with two top-ten finishes in slalom at Copper Mountain she knew she had better skiing in her.
“Those slalom runs were not the cleanest, so here I was focusing on being clean and going back to focusing on the basics of ski racing. This slalom was a sprint, so I had to charge and put the hammer down,” she said.
Overall, Klomhaus took second in the Alpine Combined, making it a standout day because she was rewarded her first Podium finishes.
On the men’s side, the wind picked up for the slalom and visibility worsened. The slalom was won by Australian, Louise Muhlen-Schulte, with a time of 36.28. Amazingly, Schulte was able to move up 16 spots from his 19th place finish in super-G with his fast slalom skiing. This rocketed him to third overall.
Arnaud Boisset of Switzerland demonstrated an amazing ‘attack from the back finish’ by ending 30th in the super-G and second in the slalom. He was able to move up 17 spots to 13th place. Arnaud has proven himself in SG this year by ending in third and seventh in the ECup races last week.
Drew Duffey (USA) struggled during the Copper Mountain Slalom NorAm races earlier this season with two DNFs, but came back with a podium finish for the Nakiska slalom. This finish moved him up 15 spots from his SG finish to give him an 11th place overall, combined finish.
For the men’s field, Bridger Gile (USA) took second and Louise Muhlen-Schulte (AUS), who placed 19th in the super-G and won the slalom, rounded out the podium in third.
It was an awesome day of racing with amazing snow conditions that allowed for the athletes to send it. Stay tuned for two days of GS and slalom to come this week.
*Below are the top-10 finishes of the men and women’s Alpine combined.
Women’s Alpine Combined
- Keely Cashman USA 1:39.67
- Storm Klomhaus USA +0.21
- Patricia Mangan USA +0.80
- Stefanie Fleckenstein CAN +1.10
- Isabella Wright USA +1.37
- Claire Timmermann CAN +1.82
- Kiara Alexander CAN +2.13
- Lila Lapanja USA +2.61
- Beatrix Lever CAN +3.14
- Britt Richardson CAN +3.25
For complete results, click here.
Men’s Alpine Combined
- Jeffery Read CAN +1:36.67
- Bridger Gile USA +1.01
- Louise Muhlen-Schulte AUS +1.56
- Kyle Negomir USA +1.68
- Marcus Monsen NOR +1.79
- Jamie Casselman CAN +1.87
- Sam Mulligan CAN +1.92
- Jimmy Krupka USA +2.06
- Cameron Alexander CAN +2.48
- Jacob Dilling USA +2.63
For complete results, click here.