It was another intense day of racing at the Whiteface NorAms, with the men kicking out in super G and alpine combined, while the women threw down in a standalone SG.
For women, Patricia Mangan of the Dartmouth alpine team and Isabella Wright of the USA, CLIF Bar team stood on the super G podium. They were joined by Sam Mulligan of the Alpine Canada who took home gold for the men. And in the afternoon, the men cranked up their ‘dancing feet’ for the slalom that concluded the alpine combined. In that race, Bridger Gile earned a NorAm alpine combined win by successfully putting together two opposing events.
The day kicked off with the women taking another crack at the Whiteface super G hill. In comparison to the first day of racing, the weather let up and the temperatures got colder overnight, which firmed up the surface.
Patricia Mangan described the hill, “The surface today was firmer and (the course) felt more like a super G with a bit faster speeds, but overall it was still pretty soft.”
Isabella Wright concurred, saying, “The snow was definitely more compact, still not super, super hard, but much more consistent and a better surface than yesterday.”
With the firmer snow, the female athletes were ready to attack the super G course and take on some risks they might not have been able to do the day prior. It was another nail-biting, tight race for the field. Mangan had another exceptional day, where she found her arc and sent it from panel-to-panel for the win. Mangan, running bib-13 found the fastest track, ending with a speedy time of 54.69. This was Mangan’s fifth podium finish for the NorAm circuit this season.
Mangan was very happy with her third win in the past two days. Nevertheless, the determined athlete wants to find more speed. She wants to keep “trying to send” for the GS races coming up.
“When I first came down my first thought was that I felt like I over-skied the course. But it worked out and was another really close race today,” Wright said.
It was another close race between these two ladies. Wright came down, only 0.12 behind Mangan’s winning run. This finish marks Wright’s seventh podium finish for the NorAm circuit this season.
Wright was satisfied with her rewarding run. She continued to iterate, “Today’s SG was really fun. The snow was much better than yesterday, and it was a nice rhythm all the way down.”
The bronze medal for the SG was an exciting finish today when it was awarded to a young, eighteen-year-old athlete that we have not seen on the podium thus far for the NorAm circuit. Sarah Bennett skiing out of Stoneham Mountain Resort, Quebec, Canada excitingly earned herself her first NorAm podium finish, just 0.37 behind Mangan’s lead. This Canadian athlete has also earned herself two, second-place finishes in the FIS races this season but has made a showing for herself up at Whiteface this week.
“Today felt surreal! At first, I couldn’t really believe it, I knew that I skied well but was shocked when I saw my time. I’m very happy that I have a great result to build on,” Bennett (Stoneham) said. “After yesterday’s race, I had a few technical aspects I wanted to focus on. I wanted to attack the outside ski and have a better tuck position. My overall focus was to leave nothing behind and take some risks.”
Bennett took some risks on this super G hill and was able to reign in the award for doing so. Wednesday, the female athletes will move back into tech with some GS racing. After these three ladies achieved the top medals today, their excitement continues into the day of giant-slalom.
“I am excited to race GS. The only race I’ve done this year in that event is one race in Nakiska in December, and I got a PB result. So, I am really excited for tomorrow. I really have no expectations just got to send it,” Wright said.
Bennett agreed, “My main focus for the GS will be to leave everything on the hill and have no regrets. I want to use today as something to build on, not to think of it as pressure to perform. Just do my skiing and have a good time.”
Men’s Super G and Alpine Combined
The exciting morning continued into the men’s super G race, which began the fight for the overall, alpine combined title. For the super G, the men took on a straighter course than the SG set the day before. They still had to deal with a surface that was on the wetter side, which made the speed challenging.
“Today’s SG was a little straighter and more open than yesterday’s, I liked yesterday’s more because there was slightly more turning involved,” Bridger Gile of the U.S. Ski Team explained. “The snow was pretty soft and wet, so the top flats grooved up pretty good. The pitch stayed pretty smooth in the turn but was bumpy in the transition.”
Nonetheless, the men persevered, and two Alpine Canadian Team athletes stepped on top of the podium to claim first and second position. Sam Mulligan (CAN) tucked his way down, sporting bib-15, coming through the finish line with the fastest time of 52.86. This was the nineteen-point SG skier’s fifth win for his career on the NorAm circuit.
Mulligan reflected on the SG, “I’m happy to have been on the right side in the super G. The weather has made the snow a bit of a challenge and unfortunately only a few bibs really had a chance of winning. We decided to run a bit later after a slip, and thankfully that paid off! Both days (of super G), my focus has been skiing to the conditions and keeping it simple. The conditions weren’t going to reward a huge risk, so I tried to nail the key turns in transition and not get too greedy.”
It became a tight race for the men’s SG. Coming into silver medal position, just 0.19 behind Mulligan, was teammate Riley Seger. Seger (CAN) has been revealing his strengths in this event, earning three podium victories this season on the NorAm circuit in the SG. He will be an athlete to look forward to in the GS races coming up. GS is the discipline Seger has been competing on the World Cup Circuit in this season.
Following Seger, U.S. Ski Team athlete River Radamus tucked his way across the finish line, just .0.12 behind Seger. Dartmouth athlete, Jimmy Krupka barely missed the podium, by 0.01. Krupka won the super G the day before with the same focus he brought into today: “Just enjoy and shred.”
The super G had an extremely tight top-five finish, which made for an exciting fight in the slalom for the alpine combined title. Thereby, the liveliness grew while the men quickly switched equipment and mindsets for the afternoon slalom race.
“The slalom set was super straightforward, so I kept my inspection and focus very simple because I didn’t want to complicate it and ski mechanical. It was a pretty straight course, but that meant the tempo was going to be very quick, so you had to be on top of it down the pitch and coming off the pitch,” Isaiah Nelson of the Alpine D, U.S. Ski Team described.
Teammate, Gile (USA) agreed, “the SL course like the SG was pretty straight and super open.”
Due to the openness and straight set of this slalom course, the men were able to let the skis run, flow with the hill, and send it straight for the win. Gile was able to do just that and end both runs with two solid standing times. Although he was in eight-place coming out of the SG he was determined to make up time and execute the slalom with strength. This determined execution awarded him the gold for the alpine combined title. Gile won with an overall time of 1:33.43, which was 0.22 ahead of his teammate, River Radamus.
Yesterday Gile said it, “Ultimately, I think I will gain speed by just attacking the straighter line.” This predominant focus allowed for Gile to take the straighter risk and attack the fall line.
Claiming the bronze medal, Nelson (USA) made an ‘attack from the back,’ racing from bib-30 into third-place position. His overall time was a mere 0.03 off of Radamus’s silver place finish. This was an exhilarating victory for the athlete, as it was his third top-ten finish and first podium finish on the NorAm circuit.
“Today I was really happy with my mental approach. I focused on what I needed to do technically to be fast. As for my execution, there are still areas that need improvement, but it was a really good step in the right direction.” Nelson stated with gratification.
The men will be changing their focus, once again, onto GS for tomorrow’s races.
Mulligan told Ski Racing Media, “My focus will be simple, like the super G and hopefully I can stay clean as well as carry speed through the flats!”
Nelson also concluded, “I will be focusing on the same thing as super g, which is staying with the ski as well as being in a strong position over the outside ski.”
This winning day for Gile will not slow down his determination, “my main focus will be on attacking the course and coming to the bottom knowing I went as straight as I could and committed to every turn as much as I could have.” He further accessed his competitors, “For the GS tomorrow, it is tough to say who my biggest competitor will be…It could probably be River, but George has been racing fast lately and training with all these guys like Kyle, Jimmy, and Jett. I know if they put two runs together they could also easily win.”
The GS will be another competitive and exciting day for both the men and women’s fields. Stay tuned for the excitement.