This weekend was action packed as New Hampshire’s Waterville Valley Resort hosted the fastest pro ski racer racers for their second stop on World Pro Ski Tour (WPST) this season. The events were held February 9-10, 2019, on the World Cup trail.
On Saturday, mother nature brought in severe weather with 65 mile-per-hour winds bringing the temperatures well below zero. A decision was made to move the qualifier to Sunday prior to the Super Slalom event.
Sunday, under clear, warmer skies, 30 racers competed for prize money and points towards the year-ends overall title. 27-year-old Phil Brown of Toronto, Canada, took first place honors, claiming an $8,500 check. Second-place finisher was Michael Ankeny of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Robert Cone from Killington, Vermont, finishing third and Kei Kullberg from Cornwall, New York, finished in fourth.
Brown, a silver medalist at the 2015 World Championships in the team event Vail, Colorado, and a Canadian ski team member was challenged a few times by his competitors but his consistency set a fast pace as he raced to victory.
“I am super stoked to leave Waterville Valley with my first Pro Tour victory,” Brown said. “The race yesterday was wild with three big jumps, icy conditions and a challenging set. There was a lot of action especially in the early rounds, anything could happen and you needed to stay focused right to the finish.”
“Unfortunately I wasn’t selected by the Canadian team to compete at the FIS World Championships in Sweden so being able to come back to North America and compete in the WPST has been an amazing opportunity,” he added. “I am having so much fun skiing this format and competing against these athletes. WPST definitely does a great job making ski racing fun – which is most important!”
The WPST format is different. A dual format of racing, head-to-head, not against the clock, horse style start gates, identical race courses, and at this event three pro jumps made racing even more exciting.
With a field of Olympians, national champions, and NCAA champions this excited more than 100 spectators while watching the face off on the dual slalom course. Olympian and overall 2018 World Pro Ski Tour Champion, Nolan Kasper, of Warren, Vermont, finished in the round of eight. Gabriel Coulet from Chamonix, France, Jack Schibli of Charlotte, Vermont, and Alex Tarberry from North Conway, New Hampshire, rounded out the field. Burke Mountain Academy and Dartmouth Ski Team had a strong showing with a number of their ski team members entering the event. A well-rounded field, the countries represented stretched from the USA, France, Canada, Russia and Sweden.
The WPST is currently a men’s professional ski racing tour, yet it is open for all racers. This event highlighted three ladies who came to test their skills. Mardy Haskell from East Burke, Vermont, Laura Halupowski of North Conway, New Hampshire, and Lisa Wedsjo from Sweden also decided to give pro ski racing a shot. They finished the event in the round of 32 and 16, respectively.
The excitement from fans is a motivating factor for the athletes. Spectators are encouraged and welcome to participate in the pro tour events. Sponsors include Tito’s Vodka, Raymond James, Michelob Ultra, Greenhead Lobster, Leki, RXBAR, and Booster Strap to name a few. Tito’s hosted the Après and After Dark parties where the fans met the racers.
This event will be televised in March on CBS Sports Network, check your local listings and times. For more information visit www.worldproskitour.com
Release courtesy of the World Pro Ski Tour.