Interim break is always a great time for the Oles. The week rest from class, countless hours in the library, and the day in day out grind of J-term allows us to spend more energy and focus on our skiing. This rare opportunity for us to have such a prime ski racing mind set lead to big improvements for everyone. Most of the team spent their days training at Loveland and Copper Mountain Resorts in Colorado while a few of our fastest athletes went to Sugar Bowl California for three days of technical racing.
The men's team sent senior captains Nate Hanson and Pål Proitz as well as Håkon Schonheyder to battle it out in the west with young Nathalie Kenny our other two captains Katie Ulvestad and Madison McLachlan for the women. Tough course sets caused the Oles to hit a couple of speed bumps along the way. However, short memories and composed minds lead to success. Collectively the men and women mustered the agility to make it through the quick courses and put together ten top ten finishes. Håkon Schonheyder had the best individual finish, just off the podium in fourth place. These races gave our athletes a lot of great race experience. For some, racing is much more of a challenge than training. It takes a different state of mind and a longer lasting memory. With nationals just around the corner, it was a tremendous opportunity for our top tier athletes to test their racing techniques at a high profile race. They left California with confidence knowing they had overcome adversity.
Back in Colorado the rest of the team worked hard to improve. Guest coach Joe Paul provided the team with a new set of ideas as to how to improve the things people had been working on. In this uniquely intense interim break environment leap and bounds were made by all. We saw athletes pushing themselves harder than ever. The lengthly courses at 12,000 ft quickly made for worn out bodies, though. Nonetheless, the team keep pushing each other to new heights. Unfortunately, when people take chances injury rates increase. Miranda Ness crashed hard in giant slalom training, and was diagnosed with a concussion. She flew home the following day, and is currently doing everything in her power to recover and put herself in a position to some back swinging. Jack Stang also had a big wreck during a giant slalom run and tweaked his knee. Diligently, he rehabbed it while still in Colorado and managed to still make it out on the snow. He should be back to full strength for this weekend's divisional race at St. Olaf's home hill, Afton Alps.
As our trip neared its end, the California group flew through the night back to Colorado for one more day of racing and one more day of training. Tuesday morning the whole team woke together and made their way to Loveland for a tough day of racing. One of our biggest rivals, Sierra Nevada College, sent a few of their racers. Also, many division one schools were in the race. So, needless to say the competition was stiff. Håkon Schonheyder again lead the mens team, finishing in fourtysecond place scoring a fifty point FIS result. He was followed by our Germany, Florien Weil in sixty eighth place. Florien scored a sixty eight point FIS result. Mckenna McNabb, who just got back from spending her interim in Ecuador, hit the ground running and bested the entire women's team by finishing in eighteenth place and scoring a sixty three point FIS result. She was followed by the captains Madison McLachlan and Katie Ulvestad, respectively. This too, was a good race for the whole team to gain some experience in a high-stakes race. Everyone took advantage of that opportunity, and although the results may not show it for all, experience was gained across the board.
All in all, the interim trip was classically successful. Everyone took big steps in their skiing, some physically and some mentally. The superb individual results excited the entire team. We plan on carrying this excitement through the rest of the season. Everyone is going into this divisional race hungry and excited, we will dominate this race.
UM YA YA,
Ski Olaf Alpine