U.S. Ski Teamer wins sprint downhill
Special to The Aspen Times
Jared Goldberg of the U.S. Ski Team put down a smoking-fast first run and was able to hang on to the top spot Thursday during a two-run FIS downhill sprint race at Aspen Highlands.
That wasn’t the case the previous day when, leading after the first run, Goldberg hit a hole, lost his balance and scrubbed enough speed to finish off the podium.
“Today is a new day. I made sure I was balanced in this ‘ball-y’ snow,” said Goldberg, who is considered one of the U.S. Ski Team’s young guns. The Utah-based skier originally is from Boston.
Teammate Travis Ganong finished second in the Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup, with the winner of Wednesday’s first-ever FIS sprint race at Highlands, U.S. Ski Team veteran Steven Nyman, taking third.
AVSC’s Dean Travers was the top junior.
The women’s podium was led by Heidi Livran of Vail followed by Tara Haferman and Abby Murer, who won Wednesday’s first-ever two-run women’s downhill at Highlands.
The two-run downhill, which is unusual in North America, follows a “flip” format which means the top-30 skiers reverse their start order for the second run.
New snow delayed the start of the race and several crashes made for a long morning of racing.
Murer, a Missouri native who competes for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, said skiers weren’t holding back at all on the course that drops 438 meters and includes a “beach,” an airplane turn and the Smuggler jump that’s visible from the base area.
“The opportunity (to compete against members of the U.S. Ski Team) doesn’t come about very often. Everyone’s really trying to pin it,” Murer said.
Racers dealt with new snow and wind in the first of their two runs but by afternoon the skies cleared, though falling temperatures didn’t result in a lightening fast track.
Speeds on Thursday for most of the men’s runs were in the 49 mph range.
An impressive field, including five 2014 Olympic team members, turned out for the series, which continues today with super-G races on a similar Golden Horn/Thunderbowl course.
“It’s always exciting to race a new venue, especially here at home,” said Johno McBride, a member of the race jury. “It’s neat to see the big boys here and see developing skiers here, too.”
Local racers who held their own against national team members included Travers, Jeremy Elliott in 19th, Nicolas Veth in 26th, Colby Lane 31st, Sky Kelsey in 34th and Chapin Newhard finishing 41st.
Lane was thrilled after his second run of the day.
“I had a really good line,” he said.
AVSC’s Luke Prosence, 27th in Wednesday’s race, described the course as “bumpier than yesterday, but not unbearable.” Ready to make up time in the second run, he may have pushed it just a little too hard; Prosence did not finish.
No local women competed in the downhills, though former AVSC member Zoe Spanos was fifth on Thursday, improving from Wednesday’s sixth place.
Goldberg was among those skiers who praised the two-run format.
“Usually, I do one run of downhill and I’m wanting more,” he said.
AVSC Director of Excellence Walt Evans deemed the downhill sprint races an overall success.
“With more improvements this summer, we’ll be able to fine-tune the terrain and the finish arena. That will give us more opportunity to go wall-to-wall on the course,” Evans said.
For results, turn to Page A18.
Surefoot CO Ski Cup Championships
1. Jared Goldberg
2. Travis Ganong
3. Steven Nyman
4. Bryce Bennett
5. Conrad Pridy
13. Dean Travers
19. Jeremy Elliot
26. Nicolas Veth
31. Colby Lane
34. Sky Kelsey
41. Chapin Newhard
1. Heidi Livran
2. Tara Haferman
3. Abigail Murer
4. Lexi Calcagni
5. Zoe Spanos
1. Steven Nyman
2. Travis Ganong
3. Conrad Pridy
4. Jared Goldberg
5. Andrew Weibrecht
12. Nick Mitchell
18. Ben Throm
21. Nick Veth
27. Luke Prosence
28. Sky Kelsey
30. Colby Lane
35. Chapin Newhard
1. Abigail Murer
2. Aspen Sulte
3. Tara Hagerman
4. Lexi Calcagni
5. Jili Jennerjahn
For more, go to http://www.live-timing.com
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