Alpine Finishes Strong at Winter Park
by Gavin Thompson, Intercollegiate Club Sports Staff Writer
Western’s Alpine ski team traveled to Winter Park last weekend February 5-6 to compete in both slalom and giant slalom race events.
The Lady Mountaineers were led to a fourth place team finish in the slalom event by racers Lizzy Clay and Andrea Donegan.
Representing Western in the men’s division was Alpine racer Mike Huse who took tenth overall in the team Giant slalom race.
Western’s Alpine team trained hard last week in order to compete well at Winter Park.
“The race was good it felt a lot better than last week,” said Clay, “We had a good week of practice before the race and we pumped ourselves up.”
According to Clay weather proved to be a difficulty at Winter Park as snowstorms covered the giant slalom track with deep powder that is not ideal for the quickness of Alpine racing.
“[The Winter Park] course was difficult in a different way than the one in Telluride,” said Clay “This course is very long and it is more of an endurance course for giant slalom than usual.”
In order to better prepare for the challenges brought about by racing in different venues, the Alpine team practices every week at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
According to Western’s Alpine ski Coach Kara Delaney team dynamics and practice are both crucial parts of the team’s plan for success.
. “Last year, we lost lots of key members to graduation, but this year the team is working well together,” said Delaney. “[The racers] are all working very hard, and all of their skiing has improved tremendously… It's always tough for the athletes when you have a small team…but I try to give them more competition in training by getting them up and training with the Crested Butte Ski Team.”
In addition to focusing on competitive training and team dynamics the Alpine team is also training through repetition.
“We work on the small things like getting up to the hill earlier to do warm-up runs,” said Clay. “It’s one of those things where it clicks in your brain, like you have to do this to make it.”
Western’s next race will be next weekend February 15-16 in Loveland and it is their regional qualifying race.