Far West U12 and U10 athletes gathered at Squaw Valley from March 28-30 for end-of-the-season championship ski races.
Alpine ski athletes from the North, South and Central Series in California and Nevada competed in a series of races, which included the super G, giant slalom (GS) and slalom for the U12s (10- and 11-year-olds), with the U10s (8- and 9-year-olds) skiing the parallel, slalom and GS. Sunday’s fun race was cancelled due to the weather.
On the first day of races, the weather was unsettled, moving between sunshine to overcast, rain, snow and back to sunny throughout the day. The snow was firm and hard for the U12 super G, which started on the lower mountain of KT-22 and finished on Exhibition, where the U.S. Nationals were held the prior weekend.
Due to the weather, the normal training run was cancelled for the day but that didn’t stop the Diamond Peak girls from charging down the hill with Rachel Delaney landing her first-ever podium finish of third place and her teammate, Julia Holm, right on her heels with a fourth-place finish. For the boys, Matthew Smallhouse just missed the podium, securing a fast fourth-place finish in super G.
For the U10 racers on the parallel where two racers ski side-by-side, Aidan Pretti made a comeback from a five-week knee injury and secured an eighth-place finish. Teammates Otto Albrecht and Bodhi Kuzyk finished 19th and 53rd, respectively. The only U10 girl on the team, Shaine Hirsch, finished a respectable 38th.
On the second day of races, it was warm with clear blue skies and the U12 competitors skied giant slalom down Exhibition. With the course salted, the conditions were firm and fast with Holm snatching a first-place finish (1:47.28) and Delaney flying to fourth, just missing the podium by 1/3 of a second where she had the fastest time on the first run of the day. For the boys, Smallhouse soared to a sixth-place medal finish for the U12s, and for the U10 boys, Pretti skied to a fast fifth-place finish in the slalom.
On the third day of races, the weather again changed to cooler temperatures with cloudy skies. The U12s were on slalom this day with Holm charging to take a third-place podium and Delaney taking the last medal slot at 15th. For the U12 boys, Brent Wolf peaked at the championships and earned his first medal of the year with a 13th-place finish in slalom.
At the awards ceremony, the hard work and commitment of the racers over the season paid off. For the U12 girls, Holm earned second overall and Delaney took home 14th. For the boys, Smallhouse garnered a 12th place. At the conclusion of the three-day championship races, Holm won the Allan Cup, awarded to the best overall performance by a U12 girl or boy at the Far West Championships in completing the super G, GS and slalom races.
Other racers included Megan Smallhouse, Katherine Johnson, Ella Kuzyk, Julia Capaldi, Ainsley Hickenbottom, Kaci Meyer, Lucy Donahue, Zoe Lacasse-Kirstine, Marek Hlubucek, Satchel Hirsh and Ethan Chan for U12s.
“The results of our athletes show how hard they have worked all year long,” said head coach Josee Lacasse. “The continuous progress was amazing and to have the athletes perform that way at the championship was an amazing treat for us all and well deserved by our kids. The technical strength of our Diamond Peak Ski Team athletes demonstrate the quality of this program.”