The alpine portion of the University of Utah invite was moved to Loveland, CO due to a scheduling conflict that overlapped with a Snowboard Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort. The race crew at Loveland did a phenomenal job preparing the hill, and the RMISA racers enjoyed the best snow conditions they have had in any race so far this season.
The DU alpine team took advantage of their early season training at Loveland to come out as top alpine team. They were lead by Kristine Haugen, who came fresh off a NorAm GS victory in Vail to win both the slalom and GS, collecting 100 valuable points. Her performances were joined by a slew of other DU podiums from Tianda Carroll, Espen Lysdahl, Max Marno, and Grant Jampolsky. They collectively earned top alpine team, 36 points ahead of CU.
The CU alpine team exercised their consistency, putting in the most top-10 performances of any team. Their highlight of the meet came in the women’s GS, where Brooke Whales and Shane McLean both hit the podium with a 2nd and 3rd. Good conditions in the slalom race made for higher finish rates, making it that much more competitive and Jessica Honkonen and Max Lamb both hung in with the top, gathering top-5’s to help the Buffaloes stay ahead of Utah.
Known for being a strong GS team, the University of Utah lead after the GS portion of their own meet. Jeremy Elliot won the men’s race, while teammates Tim Hribar and Ryan Wilson tied for 3rd. After a few mistakes on her first run, Kristiina Rove put in a fast second run and landed a solid fourth with Jamie DuPratt in 10th. Ana Kobal gave Kristine Haugen a run for her money in the slalom and finished 2nd. She was the only Utah girl to finish two clean runs though, and with some struggles on the men’s side too, the Utes lost their first day advantage, dropping to third.
New Mexico, Montana State, and Alaska Anchorage were in a close three-way battle after the GS races, with Montana ahead of New Mexico by 15, who were only 3 ahead of Alaska. The UNM Lobos came charging in the slalom, and claimed fourth overall alpine team. Juho-Pekka Penttinen led the men with an impressive 3rd place in the most competitive slalom race in RMISA so far this year. Chris Acosta posted a solid 6th, and Joonas Rasanen overcame first run problems, winning the second run by a healthy margin and moving up to 9th. The Lobo ladies put in three top-10 performances in the slalom as well, with Mateja Robnik in 5th, Courtney Altringer in 8th, and Mary Rachel Hostettler in 9th. The Lobos hope to carry that momentum over to their home meet where two slaloms will be held at Red River, NM starting on Feb. 9th.