Spruce Peak’s notoriously high winds returned with a fury today for the second day of UVM’s alpine carnival. The trail down to the slalom start was low-vis for most of the day as gusts whipped up the sugary top layer of snow, but Main Street itself held mostly steady.
Slalom at Stowe tends to be a difficult endeavor. What already tends to be a long race is made more difficult by consistently aggressive pitch, multiple terrain elements to throw athletes off their rhythm, and a dramatic waterfall drop-off right into the finish. There’s pretty much no place to recover and reset your positioning—you just have to tough things out until the bitter end.
It follows that there would be a shake-up in the athletes who claimed podium positions on such a difficult hill--indeed, some of the best skiers the league has to offer couldn't make it across the finish. Today we saw some fresh blood arc their way onto the top, though we also saw a few familiarly dominant racers take their rightful place upon the icy, unforgiving throne of east coast slalom skiing.
UVM’s deadly Norwegian freshman, Jagge Lindstoel, returned to the slalom podium after a second place finish last week at Waterville. He skied the fastest first run on the circuit (53.99) and ended the day with an eleventh-fastest second run (55.21), but was quick enough overall to grab third place. Mathias Tefre, another UVM racer feeling fast on his home hill, flew into second place after skiing the fourth fastest first run (54.97) and third fastest second run (53.95). Justin Alkier, who skis for Middlebury, just barely missed the podium at last week’s slalom but came back in full force this week with the seventh fastest first run (55.36) and a lightning quick second run (53.33, the fastest) that nabbed him a beautiful first place finish.
Over in the women’s lane, Tricia Mangan of Dartmouth climbed into third place after a second run DNF last weekend. Her first run (56.88) was the fifth fastest overall, and her second run (57.46) was the third fastest overall. Middlebury capped off a successful week with Ali Nullmeyer’s formidable slalom performance—her first run was the quickest by almost 0.9 seconds (54.54) and her second run was the second fastest for the women’s field at 57.25.
Paula Moltzan, formerly of UVM but now skiing for the US of A, managed to fit her old home carnival into her world cup itinerary and subsequently screeched into first place. Her second fastest first run (55.41) and fastest second run (56.34) brought her back to the top step of the podium at Stowe once again.