GEORGETOWN, Colo. — It was four days in the making, but the U.S. Ski Team finally grabbed a NorAm podium on the final day of women’s racing at Loveland Ski Area on Thursday (Nov. 5), as development team junior Paula Moltzan, fresh off some challenging World Cup and Europa Cup races in Levi, Finland, produced a head-turning second run to launch from tenth place all the way into third.
“I was a little boggled coming back from Levi, it was a pretty tough trip mentally for me, but I’m definitely excited after this race and ready for the season now,” said Moltzan. “Mitch is an incredible skier. I watch her video all the time and look up to her so much, so it’s great to be getting closer to her everyday.”
It was the third victory in a row for Canada’s Marie-Michele “Mitch” Gagnon, who won every NorAm race of the series that she entered, solidifying the hatrick on a particularly chilly day. Switzerland’s Denise Feireband was second.
“I think I’ve become weak after seven winters in Europe because it’s so warm there. Where I grew up, it was cold like this almost every day,” noted Gagnon. “But this morning in the first run, we had a delayed start and I started first. My legs felt like icicles, but I warmed up as I skied down. Luckily it’s good practice, if it ever happens in a World Cup I know even if my legs feel frozen I can still ski,” a reassuring revelation for Gagnon who now heads to frigid Lake Louise for the World Cup super G this weekend.
Canada continued its dominance in the series, placing four skiers — including Elli Terwiel, Brittany Phelan, and Madison Irwin — inside the top 7. The top collegiate racer in the mix was the University of Vermont’s Kristina Riis-Johannessen who finished eighth. Independent American Megan McJames squeaked inside the top 10 in ninth.
The Austrian team that frequented the previous three races departed one day early after failing to note a change in the NorAm schedule before making their travel arrangements home. Still, the Swiss and Canadian teams remained along with a number of other top level athletes from Finland and Japan.
The University of Denver’s Kristine Haugen, who sat third after first run, was in the midst of a podium finish on the second run when she straddled the final gate and injured her knee in the finish area. Haugen’s time, which would have placed her in third, was disqualified. Her coach Andy LeRoy has confirmed that the school’s athletic trainer does not suspect a serious injury.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|25||34||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||53.69||50.73||1:44.42||66.98|
|29||53||35177||SIMARI BIRKNER Angelica||1994||ARG||54.62||51.66||1:46.28||79.11|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|4||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|35||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|30||425889||MYKLEBUST Karoline Soevik||1991||NOR|
|27||425916||FAUSA Chloe Margrethe||1992||NOR|
|25||435210||GASIENICA- GLADCZAN Agnieszka||1987||POL|