It was a long and grueling week for Park City master racers as they traveled back east for the USSA Masters National Championships held at Okemo Ski Resort in Vermont.
More than 300 ski racers came from all over the nation to compete in the event that determines the best ski racers in the nation. The first race held, the downhill, was completed in beautiful cold weather with a challenging, fast track and a long, meandering course with speeds reaching upwards of 80 mph.
Class 10 racer Steve Slivinski came in sixth, while class 7 coach Bill Skinner secured a fifth-place finish. In class 4, Lou Mauro secured a third-place podium finish after coming back from a disastrous fall a month earlier.
The next day was a scheduled super G race. Overnight, more than eight inches of heavy, wet Vermont snow dumped on a perfectly race-ready SG hill. Even with gallant efforts by the Okemo race department, the snow was too much to run a safe SG. Thus, to the disappointment of many, the race was cancelled.
Luckily the giant slalom day brought no such sad surprises. However, it did present a very tough, bumpy and fast ride. Running fairly early in the lineup, Drury Cooper from Sun Valley managed a third-place podium finish in men's class 12. Steve Slivinski, men's class 10, finished with a well-earned 12th place. Dave Brennan earned a hard-fought sixth place in a full field.
Kevin O'Conner from Park City finished 15th and Mike Robbins finished with a podium third-place finish.
Class 7 is one of the largest and most competitive classes in Masters. Park City shined with Lynn Vaughn capturing a 15th-place finish with Jeff DeLong not far behind with a 19th. Lou Mauro from Park City came in sixth.
In the women's division, Park City's own dominated the podium. Jan Swift, class 10, won with a solid five-second lead, followed by Amy Lanzel's stunning second-run comeback to capture the silver medal. Heidi Flood helped secure the division cup win with a bronze.
The final day was slalom and brought out the best in our Intermountain master racers. The women again carried the weight with all three top contenders securing championship medals. Jan Swift and Amy Lanzel scored two big wins with two second-place finishes and Heidi Flood finished third.
The men fought gallantly, with Drury Cooper just missing the podium with a fourth-place finish. Steve Slivinski came in ninth in his class, followed by Dave Brennan, who had another close call with a fourth place. Kevin O'Conner captured a hard-fought 11th place. Mike Robbins stepped up to the challenge with a gold performance in one of the toughest classes.
The grit and determination shown by the Intermountain Masters resulted in winning the National Championship Division Cup, a feat not accomplished since 2008, thus providing the Intermountain Masters a rare and well-deserved win.