Slalom champion Bjorn Brudevoll. Photo courtesy of University of Utah

After the RMISA regular season came to a close, teams remained in Utah for a week of training prior to the RMISA championships at Park City Mountain Resort. Westminster took the win for the alpine team in the regional championship race, while solid skiing and career-first podiums were shared across teams. 

Giant slalom

Following the postponement of the final RMISA men’s GS race due to unsafe conditions, the men competed first on the morning of Feb. 18. The early morning competition wasn’t a FIS-U or USSA race, but would count as an official RMISA race to be used in the RMISA team standings and NCAA qualification. 

University of Denver’s (DU) Tobias Kogler skied swiftly to the top of the podium once again, earning his second-straight victory after winning on Feb. 12, and winning five of his last seven races. Kogler’s win was nearly a second ahead of Utah’s Gustav Voello and instilled momentum into the afternoon RMISA Championship where Kogler once again prevailed to the top spot. 

The winner of the 2020 NCAA championship in the GS, Kogler has finished in the top five in five RMISA championship events, including in each of the last three in GS. Kogler finished 0.18 ahead of Louis Muhlen-Schulte of Montana State (MSU) who earned his first career podium in the conference championships. The MSU men had a strong showing for the GS with Riley Segar and Aage Sohleim finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, and captured the men’s giant slalom team event of the day.

Rounding out the podium was Utah senior Huston Philip, who was yet another to capture a career best in third, earning his first podium and second top-five finish of the year. Colorado freshman Louis Fausa and MSU’s Seger captured their season-best finishes as well, coming in fourth and fifth. 

The women continued the streak of podium-firsts with Westminster freshman Hannah Saethereng winning her first collegiate race in the GS after producing the fastest second run of the day by more than a second. Saethereng captured back-to-back second-place finishes in the giant slalom at the previous week’s RMISA Invitational at Utah and has claimed a top-five finish in all GS events this season. She led Westminster to win the women’s team event by placing three skiers in the top four, with only Colorado’s Stef Fleckenstein’s second-place finish breaking up the Westminster sweep. Westminster’s Julia Toiviainen was on the podium in the third spot just seven-hundredths faster than teammate Lana Zbasnik in fourth. 

Fleckenstein rang the career-best bell again with her second-place finish and paved the way for the comeback story of the day as teammates Isabelle Fidjeland and Emma Hammergaard saved the Buff’s day with tremendous second runs, moving up more than 16 spots to finish fifth and eighth, respectively.

Utah joined the Buffaloes and Griffins with three skiers in the top 10 as Katie Parker came in seventh, Sona Moravcikova in ninth and Claire Timmermann in 10th. Fellow Ute Katie Vesterstein was close behind as well in 11th. 

Slalom

Tegan Wold of Montana State and Utah’s Bjorn Brudevoll won the women’s and men’s slalom on Friday as the alpine portion of the RMISA championships concluded. Wold captured her first career victory while Brudevoll continued his solid run of slalom podiums, earning three in a row. 

Tegan Wold celebrates her win in the slalom. Photo MSU.

MSU’s slalom specialist, Wold led the women in the first run and held onto her advantage to win her first career race after recording three straight podium finishes. Denver’s Reece Bell recorded her career-best, following Wold in second place and picked up her first-ever podium. Rebecca Fiegl of Alaska Anchorage made her first podium of the season in third place. Ultimately, Wold led the way for the Bobcats to win the team event with teammates Kristianne Bekkestad and Brynee Hitchock finishing seventh and 15th. Despite placing three skiers in the top 10, including Julia Toivianinen in fifth, Westminster fell behind MSU’s first women’s team victory of the season. 

“It was really nice to get a win,” said Wold. “I struggled putting two good runs together this season and it was nice to finally accomplish that. I’ve been able to improve almost every race and am excited for more.”

For the men, Utah’s Brudevoll added conference champion to his impressive freshman achievements, as he won by nearly seven-tenths of a second. Brudevoll captured his fourth victory of the year, all in slalom. Led by Brudevoll’s individual victory, Utah won the men’s team event by placing three skiers in the top seven, including freshman Wilhelm Normannseth in fourth and Joachim Lien seventh. 

Colorado’s junior Filip Forejtek came in second, taking the podium for the sixth time this season, just 0.09 seconds ahead of Westminster’s Mikkel Solbakken in third. The Montana State men’s squad placed three in the top 10 led by Louis Mühlen-Schulte, who placed sixth. Utah’s strong showing extended their lead in the RMISA overall standings with Westminster placing six skiers in the top 15. 

The battle for the 2021 RMISA Championship will come down to the Nordic teams before those who qualified for NCAA Championships travel to New Hampshire for the NCAA GS races on March 10. Several teams in the East will not compete at NCAA championships this year. Still ahead in the EISA alpine circuit are St. Lawrence and Boston College carnivals later this week.

2021 RMISA Championship Alpine Team Standings: 

  1. Westminster (320)
  2. Montana State (305)
  3. Colorado (297)
  4. Utah (286)
  5. Denver (228)
  6. Alaska Anchorage (213)
  7. Colorado Mountain (146)
  8. Alaska Fairbanks (0)

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