Park City Ski Team (PCST) athletes overcame a last-minute venue change and subzero temperatures to dominate the USSA Intermountain Division (IMD) South Series giant slalom races held at Wolf Mountain Jan 12-13.
Brighton, Ogden Valley, Park City, Rowmark, Ski Club Vail, Snowbird, Summit and Sundance ski teams fielded 120 women and 118 men in the under-10 through the under-16 divisions for the two-day event. The Ogden Valley Ski Team (OVST) hosted the races, originally slated for Snowbasin, which had to bow out due to snowmaking issues. Ironically, a storm came through on Thursday and Friday, dropping more than a foot of snow, causing mountain crews and volunteers to work through the night to ready the course for Saturday's start.
PCST racers swept the top five spots and had eight of the top 15 racers in the women's U-12 division, with Hannah Hitchcock (1:19.55), Helena Croise (1:21.43) and Tillie Mintz (1:23.23) placing 1-2-3. Rivals Jeremy Mathers of Snowbasin (1:17.12) and Bridger Harrison of OVST (1:18.76) placed first and second in the men's U-12 division, with Park City's Max Miller (1:21.61) placing third. PCST's Alix Wilkinson (1:14.47) won the women's U-14 race, while teammate Gabrielle Nixon (1:20.42) placed third. In addition, PCST placed nine out of the top 15 female U-14 racers.
While Brendan Keane from Ski Club Vail posted the fastest time of the day with a 1:13.71, PCST racer Ben Lawson (1:18.60) scored second place in the men's U-14 race. Six other PCST racers filled out the top 15 spots.
PCST's Simon Hopkins won the men's U-16 race with a time of 1:28.30. Racers Cassidy Butt (1:26.79), Caitlin Silianoff (1:28.77) and Isabel Solin (1:33.57) swept the top three spots in the women's U-16 division, with teammate Sophia Rubini taking fifth.
Saturday also saw PCST racers Sebastian Sheppard (1:31.81) and Gunnar Travis (1:32.81) take first and second places in the men's U-10 division, while their teammates Mia Hunt (1:29.97) and Molly Quinlan (1:31.13) took third and fourth in the girls' group.
While the temperatures still hovered below zero on Sunday, the absence of new snow and the appearance of sunshine made for another great day of racing.
Just as they did the day before, PCST racers swept the women's U-16 race, with Caitlin Silianoff (1:23.86) in first, Cassidy Butt (1:27.70) in second, Lyndsey Butler in third (1:29.87) and Isabel Solin in fifth place. OVST's Zachary Calton (1:20.28) won the men's U-16. Park City's Simon Hopkins (1:22.60) returned to the podium, this time in second place, joined by teammate Daniel Fedler (1:33.83) in third.
Gus Lebanc of Ski Team Vail had the fastest time of the weekend with a 1:11.85 in the men's U-14. Lebanc's teammate, Jessica McMurtry (1:13.57), won the women's race, while Park City's Liza Greene (1:19.49) skied to a fifth-place finish and Cheyanna Hayes (1:20.01) took sixth.
In Sunday's U-12 race, PCST women swept the top three podium positions with Brynne Hitchcock (1:14.33) finishing first, Helena Croise (1:18.44) taking second, and Samantha Wilkinson (1:19.09) placing third. The PCST women had nine racers in the top 15 spots, while PCST U-12 men had six. A mere twelve one-hundredths of a second separated first-place finisher Jeremy Mathers (1:13.65) from Bridger Harrison (1:13.73). Park City's Max Miller also repeated his performance of Saturday, skiing to third place with a time of 1:16.94, while Sam Levine (1:18.24) took fifth.
A spectator who inadvertently crossed the finish line as Sunday's race was in progress caused an error in some of the timing. The errors were discovered during the awards presentation, at which point Chief of Race Gordon Perry decided to postpone the ceremony.
"Once I realized the results I was given were incorrect, I figured it would be best to take our time getting it fixed rather than rush ... and perhaps miss something," Perry said in an email. On Monday the results were made official by the race's technical delegate.
Jesse Hunt, director of the Park City Ski Team, said, "This turned out to be a great weekend of racing for our athletes. We take our hats off to Gordon Perry, the Ogden Valley Ski Team, and the entire Wolf Mountain crew for pulling off this race under some very trying conditions."
The next South Series IMD race is scheduled for Feb. 2-3 at Snowbird Resort.