The women took on a new hill for the NorAm slaloms the past two days. They switched from Georgian Peaks, Canada to a mountain nearby called Osler Bluff. The different hill brought new challenges for the field. Nevertheless, the athletes found their quick feet and ignited the slopes with some awe-inspiring slalom with university and Canadian Alpine Team athletes Ali Nullmeyer and Roni Remme skiing away with the top spots.
“With the whole Canadian women’s National Team here, it’s definitely a challenge … It is intimidating knowing that the top 30 World Cup finishers are right behind you,” Hensien said about the stacked field at this NorAm series.
Katie Hensien of the U.S. Ski Team and the University of Denver Alpine Team swung the start gate open, wearing bib-3. On the first run, Hensien did not hold anything back. Her fluid, straight-line approach put her across the finish line 0.36 ahead of the field. Losing a little bit of time on the second run, she was still able to come through with a bronze-medal finish.
“The course sets were definitely different from each other today. The first course was an all-out sender, while the second run had some more swing and tricky combos.” Hensien explained.
For Hensien, this podium finish was a feel-good success. At the last NorAm series in Burke, Hensien had a pretty good crash that left her concussed and a crash in Austria that left injuries as well, so she spent her trip in Europe before this series getting back onto her feet.
Hensien reflected, “I definitely learned a lot about myself during my trip to Europe that definitely made me step back and re-center myself for these NorAm races in Collingwood! I had some rough days during the GS, but I knew that I’ve been skiing some solid SL in Europe and knew I just had to ski my best.”
Bib-21 Roni Remme (CAN; Utah) hit the two courses with intensity and some quick feet. Her two solid runs put her into second-place position, 0.49 in front of Hensien’s third-place time.
“Coming back to the college races and the NorAm races from the World Cup Tour, I have been trying to remind myself to focus on the process and the skiing, it feels better, and I’m happier with that progression. We’ve been trying a new setup on my boots and it seems to be working better.” Remme told Ski Racing Media.
Striking gold, Ali Nullmeyer of the Canadian Alpine Team and Middlebury Ski Team crushed the runs wearing bib-17, which moved her up into the first-place position. This was Nullmeyer’s (CAN; Middlebury) seventh NorAm win for her career.
“I’ve had the same focus in slalom for the last few weeks. I figured something out in my skiing that has been working well for me, so I have been trying to build on that over the last few races!” Nullmeyer excitedly proclaimed.
Nullmeyer further described her winning day, saying, “The course conditions were awesome today! There was a little bit of a groove for the first run, but the second run held up super well! It was an awesome race thanks to all the volunteers and workers prepping the hill!”
Directly after the races and the award ceremony, Nullmeyer focused on another slalom day ahead of her.
“I had some really good feelings from some turns today, so I am just going to try to build on that and keep focusing on my skiing!” Nullmeyer stated.
The second day came down to an extremely tight race, which was exciting and nerve-wracking. The snow held up nicely into the second day of races. The course sets had a lot of distance in-between gates in order to stay inside the parameter rules of gate count, which made the runs open and fast.
Ali Nullmeyer sent it down the hill with a screaming, first-run time of 53.48, which put her just 0.23 in front of the field. This fired up her Canadian opponent, Roni Remme (CAN; Utah) for the second run. Remme’s aggression and a straight line down the second course, accelerated her across the finish line and into the gold medal position.
The battle between these two athletes, Nullmeyer and Remme for the first medal position in the slaloms ended on a very close mark, just a 0.13-time difference!
Remme stated, “I just wanted to keep building on the new confidence I have found from this different boot setup, so I can start pushing a little bit more.”
The third-place finisher, Paula Moltzan of the U.S. Alpine B Team and University of Vermont Ski Team was not far off the leading time either. Moltzan (USA; Vermont) came down just 0.31 behind Remme’s leading time.
Moltzan reflected on her podium finish, “Today I worked on just sending it down the hill… Going as straight as possible.”
This marked Moltzan’s twenty-third podium finish for the NorAm series in her ski racing career. She will not be doing the parallel slaloms that conclude this NorAm series. Instead, Moltzan will be heading back to Europe to prep for the Maribor World Cups.
The podium finishes for these past two days of slalom racing were dominated by the female athletes who are racing on both a University team and a national team. Although this strategy of higher-level racing might not be the preferred option for some, these results could demonstrate the improvement of competing in both entities as an athlete.
Stay tuned for the parallel slaloms taking place on Feb. 8.