It was an action-packed day up at Whiteface Mountain, which kicked off the speed week for the NorAm series. The women’s field started off the rainy day with their super G race. Then the morning rolled into the men’s super G race, and the afternoon brought the women back onto the hill to run the slalom for the overall alpine combined.
Throughout the day, both the men and the women had to work with the slow, softer snow conditions and the crummy weather, due to the rainfall. Nevertheless, two Dartmouth athletes, Jimmy Krupka and Patricia Mangan, pushed through the variables to reign in the SG victories. For the overall alpine combined, Mangan (Dartmouth) and Storm Klomhaus skiing for the University of Denver put down solid runs in the slalom, which finished the day with an excitingly rare tie for first place.
The women clicked into their super G skis first, before the men’s field for their morning run. Because of the very wet snow, the super G had to be moved down the hill for safety precautions. This move transformed the pace for the athletes.
“The hill was pretty easy from the reserve start and the soft snow made the course relatively slow,” Mangan (Dartmouth) explained. “The course was very straightforward, and I think most people would call it an easy one.”
Isabella Wright, racing for an independent USA CLIF Bar Team agreed with Mangan, but positively noted, “I felt like the course set worked well with the snow conditions and the hill.”
Mangan took on the straightforward super G with confidence, creating speed through each turn. Her speed propelled her across the finish line into the first-place position, with a time of 57.82. Shockingly, Mangan has not spent much time on SG skis this season.
Mangan reflected, “I’ve been skiing pretty slow lately, so it felt good to win today! I haven’t trained any super-g at all this year, so I didn’t really overthink the transition from tech to speed.”
Directly behind Mangan’s lead, Wright tucked across the finish just 0.11 behind Mangan. This was an extremely close race for the short, super G course. Unlike Mangan, Wright has been on her speed skis frequently this season. She just returned from a long stint of downhill racing on the World Cup in Europe. She also won the last NorAm super G that took place in Nakiska.
Wright was excited about her silver-medal finish when she told Ski Racing Media, “Today was a fun day for me. It’s my birthday and I got to race my favorite event which was awesome. Also, to top it off with a podium made for a perfect birthday present.”
Wright further stated that her father’s words before the race altered her focus positively, “My dad said something to me today before my run. He said he listened to a gymnast’s interview about how all the work has been put in that you have built your foundation on … So, once you get to race day, you need to enjoy and have fun. Race day shouldn’t be stress about whether or not you’re ready; it should be the fun part. The part that you look forward to most, and what you have the most fun with. That really resonated with me today, because I put a ton of pressure on myself and I sometimes make race day a very stressful day.”
To conclude the SG podium, Keely Cashman of the U.S. Alpine B Ski Team, arced into bronze 0.47 behind Wright. This was the twenty-point SG skier’s, sixth podium finish in a speed event for the NorAm series this season.
Men’s Super-G Race
The men tucked their way down the same hill and started from the same spot as the female athletes. The conditions of the course were very similar for the men, in relation to the women’s descriptions.
“The snow actually ended up being okay, but definitely wasn’t fast. The course set was very much like a GS set because the hill demands it,” Krupka (Dartmouth) explained after his big win.
Krupka reigned in the gold for the super G, coming through with the fastest time of the day, 55.80.
“I was just happy today. I reminded myself to tuck more, now that I was skiing speed. But, the approach was the same as any race, enjoy the shred,” Krupka said.
Sending it down the hill into second-place was U.S. Alpine B Ski Team member River Radamus. This was the 17-point super G skier’s third podium finish for the NorAm series this season. Also, he has run three different World Cup SG races successfully in his career. His teammate on the U.S. Ski Team, Bridger Gile, skied his way into a bronze-medal finish, just 0.27 behind Radamus.
Gile explained, “Today was a mellow set, which means there was not a whole lot to think about. The course was super quick and responsive. After running the tech series, I take away the turning ability I got from tighter, tech courses and carry it over awesomely into speed events. I can just focus more on going straight and not as much on transitions because it is not as tight.”
After feeling how the super G ran, the male athletes looked into what their focus would be for the next day on the same hill.
Gile stated his goal: “I need to just remember how easy it is. I need to try to go straighter and make it faster by tucking more. Ultimately, I think I will gain speed by just attacking the straighter line.”
Krupka also explained his focus for the next round of super G: “My main focus for tomorrow will to be to, again, shred and enjoy. And keep as few thoughts in my head as possible.”
Women’s Alpine Combined Race
The women had to swap over to their short skis and completely change their mental game to finish out the alpine combined with a quick slalom set. Although the wet conditions brought some soft snow for SG runs, the slalom held up fairly well for the women’s field.
“The slalom was really simple, which made it a fun and pretty fast course. The gates were set pretty open because of the hill. I thought the speed of the course was fun and it held up really well,” Klomhaus (DU) says.
For the super G race, Klomhaus tucked her way down the course but came in 0.74 behind Mangan’s winning time, which bumped Klomhaus off the podium into fourth place. Therefore, Klomhaus had her work cut out in order to make up enough time to earn a podium spot for the overall, alpine combined.
Klomhaus explained, “I was a lot more comfortable with the slalom and my nerves were a lot calmer. Since I primarily train slalom and never train SG, my confidence was much higher for the slalom. In the SG I was definitely a little more anxious.”
This confidence earned Klomhaus a second-place finish in the slalom, which caused a combined time that tied with the competitor, Mangan for the gold. Both ladies ended with an alpine combined time of 1:41.41.
“Overall I had a great day!” Klomhaus projected excitedly.
Very tightly behind the tied win, Keely Cashman took over the bronze position, just 0.13 behind Mangan and Klomhaus. This was an exhilarating day of racing for the NorAm series because it was incredibly close, and any female could have taken the gold-medal position. It was a great mix of women who focus on speed and others who primarily focus on tech.
These female athletes will run one more day of super-g and then transition back into GS.
“Tomorrow I am going to tuck a lot more and try to tuck better. Today I found out my tuck was not as good as I would like it to be. So, tomorrow I want to focus on that and go straighter to just go at it,” Klomhaus illustrated.
Mangan was stoked on the two wins from today and is also very excited for another day of super G to see what else she can bring to this hill. “I will stick to the same game plan of not overthinking,” she said.