The reincarnated Alpine Ski Team travelled to Winter Park this weekend for its first race of the season. Competing in the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA), the girls skied slalom Saturday and giant slalom Sunday against some of the top schools in the country. University of Colorado, Denver University, and the US Air Force Academy are just some of the colleges that challenged Western’s girls.
Arriving at Winter Park early Saturday morning with the expectations of warming up before their 9:30am slalom start, the ladies were greeted by a few inches of fresh snow. While other racers grumbled about the less than ideal slalom conditions, Western’s Alpine Ski Team had a blast skiing the untracked powder. A great skier might be good in the gates, but a great racer is an all around great skier. The two race runs down Lower Hughes that morning and early afternoon were challenging for Western’s racers, but proved to be a fun learning experience.
With the men running giant slalom before the women Saturday morning, Western’s ladies had extra time to warm up and free ski on the beautiful bluebird day at Winter Park. Racing down Hughes, and through a cut over to Lower Hughes, the girls expected a difficult course but were met with a fairly simple one. Two delays on the cut over provided extra speed and a chance for a clean, aerodynamic tuck. Shelbie Ralston led the ladies with bib number 3 and a 15th place finish.
For most of Western’s Alpine Ski Team, it was their first time ski racing on a collegiate level this weekend. And as a team, we would like to give a special thanks to everyone who made it possible to bring back the Alpine Ski Team this season: Tyler Johnson, Dave Wiens, Duncan Callahan, Jason Holton, Crested Butte, and of course the alumni. We hear from alumni everywhere we go, and I cannot put into words how much it means to all of us to have your support. As Jamie Sitter put it on the van ride to Winter Park Friday afternoon: “Welcome back, princess!” And the comeback queens are here to stay.