Aspenite wins more gold, this time in the Rockies
Aspenite Will McDonald carried his winning ways from the Italian Alps to the Colorado Rockies last week when he took three gold medals in the Junior Olympics at Steamboat Springs.
McDonald, 15, and Vail’s Lindsay Kildow, 14, dominated the boys and girls events just one week after becoming the first Americans to win gold medals in the junior world championships in Marivella, Italy.
Last weekend’s races were a regional competition – there is no national competition in the Junior Olympics – so McDonald and Kildow were skiing against the top 13-, 14- and 15-year-old racers from the Rocky Mountain and Central states.
McDonald’s three gold medals came in the slalom, giant slalom and downhill; he took second place in the super giant slalom.
Racers were forced all weekend to deal with icy conditions in the morning and slushy conditions in the afternoon, and it was reflected in their times. In Saturday’s slalom, for instance, McDonald finished his first heat in 38.83, but his second run was more than two seconds slower at 41.06.
Nevertheless, McDonald’s second run was still a second and a half faster than the next best, and his combined time of 1:19.89 was 3.37 ahead of second place.
In his only defeat, McDonald was edged out by Steamboat’s Brede Halsnes for first place in the super giant slalom. The difference in their times just four-tenths of a second.
Kildow took gold medals in the giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill. She finished eighth in the slalom after falling in her second run.
Other Aspen racers at Steamboat last weekend included Jesse Durrance and Toby Lamar in the boys competition and Kelly Lussan and Kathryn Eastley in the girls.77
Durrance took 24th place in the downhill, 40th in the super giant slalom, 56th in the giant slalom and 26th in the slalom. Lamar finished 38th in the downhill and 55th in the super giant slalom.
Lussan finished eighth in the giant slalom, 20th in the slalom and 22nd in the super giant slalom. Eastley ended up 26th overall in the slalom, 36th in the giant slalom and 43rd in the super giant slalom.
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I try to remember to give thanks every day I spend outside, whether it be floating the Colorado or Roaring Fork, fishing an epic dry fly hatch on the Fryingpan, or teasing up tiny brook trout on a remote lake or stream. We’re spoiled rotten here, so it’s easy to be thankful.