Battle rages for 1st place
A three-way fight is raging over which skier will earn the top spot in the advanced division of the Rossignol Town Race Series.
Brian Sax currently sits atop the standings, but fellow Aspen skiers Ryan Smalls and Dave Stapleton are on his tail in second and third place.
The day of reckoning, however, is Saturday – the final showdown of the season.
Sax, who is sponsored by Cache Cache, has been in for first place for most of the six-race series that began in January. He presently has 346 points. In last week’s race, Sax finished fourth with a two-run time of 124.37.
Smalls, also sponsored by Cache Cache, leapfrogged from fifth place to second with a winning time of 121.89 last week. That was good for 100 points, or 280 for the season. Smalls was last year’s advanced champion.
Competing in only three of the five races, Stapleton (Gorsuch Raiders) has 260 points good enough for third place in the standings.
Stapleton, who finished last week in 124.09, has finished second in each of the last two races.
Despite an 11th-place finish with a two-run time of 153.02 last week, Vince Leahy remains atop the leaders in the Men’s Advanced B Division, with 292 points.
Leahy, skiing for Team Gucci, got off to a slow start, but a second-place finish in the third race followed by a first-place finish in the fourth race lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.
Well behind in second place with 270 points is Snowmass Ski School’s Sam Von Trapp. He has finished in the top five of the first four events, and won the third race.
Michael Sladdin, sponsored by Gorsuch Raiders, sits in third place, but is just two points behind Von Trapp and 34 points out of first with 268 points.
Mono-skier Sam Ferguson continues to roll in the disabled division with 300 points.
In the men’s 40-and-over division, Josef Odermat has the season title in the bag with 400 points. Odermat, sponsored by Aspen Ski School, has won all but one race this year.
Cache Cache’s Mike Haas is a distant second with 293 points and Odermat’s teammate, Chip Chilson, is in third with 249 points.
The battle in this division is between Scott Nichols of Cache Cache and Team Gucci’s Chuck Tower. Nichols is in fourth place with 215 points and Tower is just two points behind him. Women’s leaders Tanja Heller moved into first place in the women’s advanced division last weekend with a second-place finish of 137.27. That earned her 80 points for a total of 300 and the division lead.
Heller, who skis for Team North Force, moved in front of Anneliess Zirknitzer (280 points) who didn’t race last weekend. Former 24 Hours of Aspen star Anda Rojs, who finished first last week, is now tied with Zirknitzer.
Cindy Buck is third with 207 points.
Tania Dibbs will win the Women’s B Division after earning 420 points through the first five races. Dibbs (Aspen Ski School) finished in the top two in each of the first four races. Last week, she finished third.
Christine Hutcheson of Team North Face sits in a distant second spot with 297 points. Melissa Barker, also of Team North Force, is in third with 280 points. Advanced team standings Cache Cache and Aspen Ski School are tied for the team lead with 400 points.
The Gorsuch Raiders are in second with 331 points, and the Snowmass Ski School is third with 280 points.
The final race of the Advanced Division will be a slalom event Saturday. All races are at Aspen Highlands. Recreational division leaders With his first-place time of 39.97 in the slalom last Sunday, Mike Tierney earned 100 first-place points to give him 310 for the season.
The next event will be Sunday on the GS course, followed by the season finale March 14.
Tierney, of Incline Sports, jumped ahead of Scott Evans in the standings with last weekend’s top performance. Evans, skiing for Inside Edge, finished second last week and second in the standings, with 280 points.
Jocke Draeckes (Incline Sports) is third with 226 points.
Jo Hemen, sponsored by Incline Sports, increased her season point lead to 320 – 120 points in front of Kim Carter. Diane Kate is third with 153 points.
With two events left, Belinda Meyburg (Aspen Valley Hospital Skiers) is in a good position to claim the telemark title with 400 points. Jeff Kaphan is in a distant second with 240 points, while Chuck Brown is third with 231 points.
Rob Henneberg’s first-place finish (54.24) in the snowboard division moved him atop the standings with 300 points. Claude Lavalle is second with 282 points, and Drew Barnes is third with 240 points.
Inside Edge leads the team standings with 380 points. Incline Edge is second with 340 points, and the Aspen Daily News is third with 240.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.