The men brought out their quick dancing feet for the slaloms that finished off the Vermont NorAm series. This week was an exciting week of racing with new NorAm athletes reaching the podium, second-place ties, short set courses, snowy mornings and icy pitches. Ben Ritchie of the United States grasped onto a substantial lead, with Erik Arvidsson of the United States and Declan McCormack of Canada tying for the silver spot.
Today the U.S. team made it onto the podium for the first time this week. This was an exciting day for the U.S. as six athletes earned a top-ten finish. The Canadian alpine team also came onto the leaderboard strong, once again, with a second-place finish and two other top-10 finishes. The Norwegian alpine team made a showing in the top 10 for the slaloms.
“It was an awesome week. All three days at Stowe we got snow every night, but all of the race organizers, racers, and coaches worked hard together to push the snow off of the track. Everyone also did a good job of slipping the track throughout and after. This made the snow really awesome the whole week,” said Erik Arvidsson, skiing for the U.S. and Middlebury College.
Ben Ritchie, skiing for the U.S. Alpine B Ski Team, attained the overall gold-medal position. Ritchie did not race the giant slaloms earlier this week in Stowe but arrived for the day and executed.
Ritchie explained, “The first run was good. I was lucky and got a big lead for run two. My focus on the second run was just to ski a solid run and not go all out to preserve my lead.”
Ritchie did have an amazing first run, he ended up gaining an extensive lead that was 1.11 over the field. He then laid down a solid, second run to ensure that he came out on top. This was Ritchie’s second win this season on the NorAm Cup, revealing that he can execute solid finishes on very different slalom hills.
In comparison to his win in Nakiska, he describes, “conditions in Stowe were very different from Nakiska. The snow was ice here compared to the softer snow in Nakiska.”
Crossing the finish line, wearing bib 12, Declan McCormack from Canada, racing for the University of Vermont, came across with two strong finishes, which gave him his first NorAm podium spot. Ending in a tie, McCormack shared this victorious silver position with fellow athlete Erik Arvidsson.
“The two runs were good! Ritchie kind of blew us out of the water on the first run, but second run I skied well again, kept the momentum going down the hill, and fought for that finish,” Arvidsson said.
Both of these athletes will also be competing on the NCAA circuit. Both McCormack and Arvidsson will be fighting to enhance the overall standings of their university teams.
“I have Carnivals (NCAA Eastern Race Circuit) starting up next week. One of my main goals this season is to do my part on the team,” Arvidsson said.
Bridger Gile, of the United States Alpine C Team, had a very strong day ending only .05 seconds off of McCormack and Arvidsson. Due to the tie, he was bumped off of a medaling position into fourth place. This was still an effective day for Gile as he earned his second top-five finish on the NorAm slalom circuit. He gained momentum into this NorAm series a week prior in the FIS race at Steamboat Springs, where he threw down a winning race on Howelsen Hill.
“That win definitely gave me some confidence going into the Stowe series,” said Gile. “I was just trying to ski slalom the way I did in Steamboat.”
These male athletes will take the strength of these finishes into more races to come this season. Arvidsson, for one, intends to “keep pushing it in the NorAms to get myself established in the seed and to keep focusing on skiing my best.”
Ritchie confidently heads into the Adelboden slalom World Cup on Jan. 12 in Switzerland.
The NorAm series will reeve back up on Feb. 3 in Mount Edouard, Quebec.