“I was extremely happy with how the week of competition went. I fulfilled my goals for the week of staying in the top three across all events.”
The US ski team won 20 gold, 22 silver and 22 bronze medals in the first NorAm Cup event of the season, with athletes like Alana Nichols, Laurie Stephens, Tyler Walker and Allison Jones all leading the way for their country.
The competition took place from 10-14 December 2012 in Copper Mountain, Colorado, USA, and included super G, giant slalom and slalom races.
In the men’s sit-ski competition, USA’s Tyler Walker was the dominant force, picking up five golds and one silver.
The super-G belonged to Walker, as he picked up two golds. Teammates Andrew Earl Kurka won two silvers and Jasmin Bambur two bronze medals.
Walker again dominated the giant slalom, winning gold in the first race. His teammate Heath Calhoun took silver and Canada’s Josh Dueck won bronze.
“Impressed with the quality & quantity of this year’s field of racers. Big ups to the slayers for slaying it!” Dueck tweeted from @justdueck.
In the second giant slalom race, though, Walker had a slightly slower run, finishing second. Calhoun pushed up to pole position and their teammate Kurka took bronze.
In the slalom, Walker picked up gold, Bambur silver and Gerald Hayden bronze, just pushing out Canada’s Josh Dueck, who finished fourth. Walker picked up gold in the second race too. Hayden took silver and Australia’s Shannon Dallas picked up bronze.
New Zealand’s Adam Hall shone in the men’s standing competition, picking up two silvers on the first day in the super G.
“I was extremely happy with how I performed considering it was my first day in super G gates due to lack of snow early on in the season here in Colorado,” said Adam. “It was a challenging day as a brutal storm came in providing us with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. Some of the most challenging conditions I have raced in super G.”
Australia’s Toby Kane won the first super G race and his teammate Mitch Gourley took gold in the second.
“I guess winter had to start some time... Rough day to be in spandex. First #NorAm Super G of the year at #CopperMountain. #cooold,” Gourley tweeted from @mitchgourley.
Adam Hall does not race giant slalom so was able to take Tuesday and Wednesday as rest days but unfortunately found himself battling a cold. “This made things a little more difficult than I would have liked going into Thursday and Friday’s races in the slalom events,” he explained.
In spite of his health issues Hall picked up two golds in the slalom beating off Kane and USA’s Ralph Green, who took silver and bronze respectively in the first race. Green and Japan’s Masahiko Tokai finished second and third in the subsequent race.
“I was extremely happy with how the week of competition went. I fulfilled my goals for the week of staying in the top three across all events,” Hall said.
“This first race of the season is always a good opportunity to benchmark where we are at, how our equipment is working and how we prepare tactically for a race athletically and as a team,” commented Jon Turnbull, Snow Sports NZ Performance Manager and Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.
“This shows us that Adam is on track and identifies our direction for training over the next few weeks leading into the La Molina World Championships, World Cup Finals and Sochi Winter Paralympics Test Event in February 2013.”
The giant slalom provided an opportunity for Australia to shine as the team took all three spots on the podium in the first race. Gourley won gold, Kane silver and Cameron Rahles-Rahbula bronze. The following day Rahles-Rahbula pushed ahead to first place after Gourley and Kane did not compete. Canada’s Morgan Perrin took silver and his teammate Braydon Luscombe bronze.
Men’s visually impaired
The men’s visually impaired competition saw Canada’s Mac Marcoux, guided by Bj Marcoux, dominating the competition, winning the slalom, giant slalom and super G competitions.
The giant slalom and super-G saw a battle between USA’s Alana Nichols and Laurie Stephens
In the super-G, Stephens won gold in the first race with Nichols and teammate Stephani Victor coming second and third respectively. In the second event Victor kept her bronze, but Nichols pushed ahead of Stephens to take gold.
“Got a 2nd and 1st in the two super G races today at Copper Mtn!!!!” Nichols tweeted excitedly from @alananichols21.
In the giant slalom, Nichols won the first race, but placed third in the subsequent race, allowing Stephens to move from silver to gold. Teammate Stephani Victor pushed up from bronze to silver in the second race.
USA and Japan battled for the podium in the slalom. Japan’s Yoshiko Tanaka won the first race, but did not finish the second, allowing Victor, who placed second in the first race, to move up to the top spot the following day. Her teammate Laurie Stephens also moved up from third to second in the two races, allowing Japan’s Tatsuko Aoki to win bronze in the last event.
Canada’s Alexandra Starker and Vanessa Knight, as well as USA’s Allison Jones fought for the top three spots in the super G. Starker won gold in the first race with Knight and Jones taking silver and bronze respectively. In the second event Starker was slower allowing Jones to take gold. Starker took silver and Knight bronze.
In the giant slalom, Jones was the dominant force, picking up gold in both races. Starker and USA’s Stephanie Jallen crashed out of the first race allowing Canada’s Erin Latimer to take silver and USA’s Melanie Schwartz bronze. Starker fought back in the second race to take silver and her teammate Knight won bronze.
Starker topped the podium in the women’s standing slalom. Jones and Jallen came second and third respectively. In the second race, however, Starker was much slower, allowing Jones and Jallen to move up to the top two spots. Starker had to settle for bronze.
Women’s visually impaired
The US team dominated the women’s super G visually impaired, winning all three podium spots. USA’s Danelle Umstead (guided by husband Robert) and Staci Mannella (guided by Kim Seevers) won two golds and two silvers respectively. Teammates Caitlin Sarubbi with guide James Lawrence came third in the first race and Lindsay Ball guided by Diane Barras took that spot in the second race after Sarubbi crashed out.
Canada’s Viviane Forest and guide Chloe Lauzon-Gauthier made a strong comeback in the giant slalom and slalom, after Forest sat out last season due to injury.
She won gold in both giant slalom races. Umstead and Mannella won silver and bronze in the first race, but crashed out of the second, allowing their Sarubbi and Ball to take those spots respectively.
Forest won gold in the first slalom race, but crashed out in the second. Ball won silver and Sarubbi bronze. Ball and Sarubbi kept their positions in the second race, but their teammate Mannella pushed ahead to take gold.
To view full results, have a look at the results section at http://www.paralympic.org/AlpineSkiing/Calendar/HistoricalResults.
The next NorAm Cup race takes place in Winter Park, Colorado, USA from 1-3 January 2013.