Alpine Ontario Alpin and Ski Quebec Alpin co-hosted this season’s North American Cup from January 2nd to January 7th. Together, the two provinces hosted over 150 athletes participating across ten events. The ladies were based out of Ontario, which has not hosted the Nor-Am cup in ten years, while the men were based out of Quebec. This NorAm series was also the first to ever host a parallel slalom event, as FIS pushes to have parallel fully integrated into the World Cup circuit before 2020.
Ten events in a week is a lot, so we’ve put together a recap of each series below so you can catch up on results and keep an eye out for who’s who in the future of our sport.
Ladies’ Giant Slalom & Parallel Slalom – Georgian Peaks & Alpine Ski Club – January 2nd & 3rd
It’s been a big week for the young women of the United States. The team absolutely dominated the giant slalom series in Georgian Peaks that took place on Wednesday, January 2nd and Thursday, January 3rd. Overall the USA filled six out of ten positions in the top of the field on Wednesday, and eight of ten on Thursday.
Nina O’Brien performed particularly well, taking the victory both Wednesday and Thursday over her teammate AJ Hurt. Hurt had O’Brien after the first run on day one, and so did third-place finisher Tuva Norbye of Norway. But O’Brien’s second run was fastest in the field and was just fast enough to overcome Hurt’s lead by five-hundredths of a second.
O’Brien and Hurt are both coming off of some tough races on the World Cup circuit in Europe. Hurt, who competed in the giant slalom in Semmering, Austria and Courchevel, France, was unable to finish her first run at each venue. O’Brien, was unable to finish in both the giant slalom and slalom at Semmering, and did not qualify for a second run in the Courchevel slalom. O’Brien was able to capture her first ever World Cup points on home soil in Killington, Vermont earlier on in the season, when she placed 23rd in the slalom.
“Racing in Europe can be tough mentally and it was nice to race in a more familiar setting,” said Hurt coming off of her NorAm podiums. “I’ve been struggling to put two good runs together recently and I feel like I was able to accomplish that here. Finding that middle ground between sending it then blowing out and skiing cautiously can be difficult, and I think I was able to achieve that fine line in this race series. Hopefully, I can remember that feeling and carry it through the rest of the season.”
The U.S. Ski Team’s Tricia Mangan and Team X Alpine racer Foreste Peterson also had strong performances on day one, rounding out the top five for the women.
Mangan was able to improve on her first day in Georgian Peaks, sliding into the top three alongside her teammates on day two. O’Brien took the win, 0.55 seconds ahead of Hurt and 0.79 seconds ahead of Mangan. Americans Claire Thomas and Keely Cashman rounded out the top five on day two. Claire Thomas’ fourth-place is her career-best finish on the NorAm Cup tour. Overall the top ten was populated by eight Americans, with Peterson in seventh, Alix Wilkinson in eighth, and Katie Hensien in 10th.
Mangan was also able to find the podium in the parallel slalom, which she won on January 4th over Norway’s Tuva Norbye in the big final. American Katie Hensien finished third over Canadian Sarah Brown in the small final.
Ladies Slalom – Osler Bluff – January 5th & 6th
O’Brien was bested for the first time in Canada by teammate Katie Hensien on January 5th. The top of the field was close. O’Brien was only nine-hundredths of a second back from Hensien, whereas third-place finisher Canadian Amelia Smart was 0.15 seconds back.
Hensien also won in Panorama in December but had trouble finding the podium in 2019 until January 5th. The Denver University and USSS Alpine C Team member earned her first World Cup start in Killington early on in the season, but did not qualify for a second run.
Smart was the only Canadian woman to break onto the podium in the slalom and giant slalom series.
January 5th marked the only day that AJ Hurt did not finish on the podium, but she was sure to come back on the 6th and compete for a win, beating out Hensien by seven hundredths to slide into second behind O’Brien.
Aside from the parallel, O’Brien, and Hurt found themselves on the podium after each event. Currently, O’Brien is second to Hurt in the overall NorAm cup, trailing by 102 points.
“Coming into the series, I’d just come off a block of tough races in Courchevel and Semmering. Lately, I’ve been struggling to find consistency in my skiing when I’m sending it at World Cups,” said O’Brien, looking back on the week. “I think these NorAms were a positive step in finding that consistency on race day. And of course it’s always fun to share the podium with my teammates AJ, Tricia, and Katie! I’m hoping this momentum (and our new FIS points) will pay off in 2019. I’d also like to express a huge thank you to all of the event sponsors at the Noram. It was a treat to race in such an enthusiastic environment and compete for the prize money. Thank you for your generosity and for hosting such a great series!”
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We LOVE Ski Racing! Do you!? Check out our Facebook page for more photos our Women’s and Men’s @raymondjames NOR AM races. We also wanted to say thank you so much to all of our sponsors! Thank You to our Proud Partners @sisleyhonda & @rbc. Thank you to our presenting partners: @toyotacanada @faskenlaw @oxford_development @mackenzieinvestments @audicanada @cadillac_fairview The Flooring Place, Eight Capital, Red Brick, Clairvest, and ACCQ Sleeplabs
Men’s Slalom & Parallel Slalom – Camp Fortune & Mont Ste Marie – January 3rd & 4th
The American men had similar success in Camp Fortune during the slalom series. On day January 3rd, Luke Winters grabbed second and Team America’s Garret Driller grabbed third behind Canadian Simon Fournier. Six Americans populated the top ten. Redneck Racing’s Robby Kelley snagged fourth, Benjamin Ritchie came in seventh, Team America’s Alex Leever finished eight, and Jett Seymour finished tenth.
After Fournier’s win, a video of his run was shared on Instagram showing footage of a potential straddle, but the straddle went uncontested and the 21-year-old’s win still stands.
On day two, Fournier was bested by American Benjamin Ritchie. The 18-year-old was able to squeeze ahead by 0.11 seconds, becoming the youngest competitor to win throughout the NorAm week in Canada. Ritchie had the fastest second run, and carried enough speed to break onto the podium. Team America’s Garret Driller came in third once again.
Again, the Americans dominated the top of the field. After the top five racers, there was a significant fall off by 0.60 seconds, but on day two Max Roeisland of Norway was the only non-American racer allowed to break into the top 10 besides Fournier.
Austrian Tobias Kogler claimed the victory in the men’s first parallel slalom over American Spencer Smith in the big final. American Tucker Marshall beat out Canadian Declan McCormack in the small final to take third.
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Camp Fortune (QC) Simon Fournier (SC Mt. Tremblant) keeps podium streak going with 2nd place finish, extends lead of NAC Slalom Jan. 4th Results 1st: Benjamin Ritchie 2nd: Simon Fournier 3rd:Garret Driller #osznoram @campfortuneskiclub @skiquebecalpin @alpineontario @clubmontstemarie @assq_maneige https://www.fis-ski.com/DB/general/results.html?sectorcode=AL&raceid=96850
Men’s Giant Slalom – Mont Ste-Marie – January 6th & 7th
Aage Solheim of Norway was victorious in the men’s giant slalom on the 6th, making him the only European to have won in this Canadian NorAm series. Solheim was followed closely by Americans Brian McLaughlin (0.09 seconds back) and Nicholas Krause (0.13 seconds back).
The top of the field was heavily dominated by the Americans, only leaving room for Canadian Simon Fournier in ninth. Darthmouth’s Drew Duffy, University of Utah’s Samuel Dupratt, Hig Roberts, River Radadums, and Denver University’s Nick Santaniello took fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively. Denver University’s Alex Leever rounded out the top ten.
Krause fought back on day two earn his second NorAm giant slalom win of the season, trailed by Canadian Simon Fournier and teammate River Radamus. Radamus had had the lead after the first run, but was not able to hang on in the second.
Fournier was the only racer to slide into the top ten on day two that did not represent the United States. University of Vermont’s Sandy Vietze, McLaughlin, Driller, Bridger Gile, Montana State’s Addison Dvoracek, Duffy, and Middlebury College’s Tim Gavett filled out the reminding slots in the top of the field.
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GS day 1 of the #osznoram is complete! See you tomorrow for the second day of GS as we wrap up the norams taking place in the Outaouais region! ❄️❄️❄️ GS jour 1 du #osznoram! Rendez-vous demain pour la deuxième journée de GS alors que nous terminons les norams qui se déroulent en Outaouais! #skiclubmsm
Krause, McLaughlin, and Radamus have all had a chance to compete on the World Cup level in the first half of the season. While Krause was unsuccessful in snagging points during his time in Lake Louise, McLaughlin and Radamus have both seen success on the circuit in 2018. McLaughlin’s first points came in the Beaver Creek giant slalom when he finished 18th, followed by a 27th place finish on the notorious Gran Risa in Alta Badia, Italy. Radamus’ had less success in Beaver Creek, but was overjoyed to score his first points in Alta Badia with a came on the notorious Gran Risa in Alta Badia, where he took 24th.
Fournier has also taken a stab at the World Cup this season but has yet to make it past the first run.
The NorAm Cup will return to the states February 5th – 8th with men’s giant slalom and slalom events. The ladies will compete on the same dates at the Snow King Mountain Resort in the giant slalom and the slalom