Far West athletes dominate New Zealand FIS races | SierraSun.com

Far West athletes dominate New Zealand FIS races

Special to the Sun
Courtesy of Guenther BirgmannSugar Bowl Academy skier Dylan Brooks races to a third-place finish recently in New Zealand, where he and a number of other Far West skiers are competing with the Treble Cone Race Academy.
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WANAKA, New Zealand and#8212; Several Far West ski racers who are attending the Treble Cone Race Academy programs dominated the front page of the opening FIS races of the 2010-11 season.

With racers from Austria, Norway, Italy, Japan, Spain, Korea, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, it was the first taste of real international competition for many of the young athletes.

Kicking things off at Cardrona for the opening slalom of the year, Sugar Bowl Academy athletes Dylan Brooks finished eighth, Scott Cooper was 10th James Clifford 11th, Brent Talbott 12th, Charlie Klein 14th and Dylan Murtha rounded out the front page in 15th.

Of the total race field, Treble Cone Race Academy male athletes took eight of the top 15 spots. For the women, locals Kelley Naomi finished 14th and Ellie Patterson was 15th in the opening slaloms, which gave Treble Cone Race Academy women six of the top 15 spots.

Under perfect racing conditions, the front page of the second dayand#8217;s giant slalom races at Cardrona were again dominated by Treble Cone Race Academy athletes.

International exchange racer Adam Barwood, who stayed with the Engel family of Truckee last winter and raced with the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, led the charge, winning his first FIS race on his birthday. Brooks stepped it up in a big way to take third, while Cooper finished seventh and Murtha cracked the top 10. Treble Cone Race Academy men finished the day with 10 of the top 15 places. For the women, Squaw Valley Ski Team athlete Gabbi Hall took fifth and Sugar Bowl Academy racer Grace Hutton took the eighth spot, with the academyand#8217;s women taking seven of the top 15 spots.

Racing action moved from Cardrona to Treble Cone on the South Island of New Zealand for the next pairing of slalom and giant slalom races.

On Day 3, Barwood earned his second win in the GS, Brooks took third, Nico Monforte broke into the pack with a seventh-place finish and Murtha took 12th. Again, Treble Cone Race Academy males earned 10 of the top 15 places. In womenand#8217;s racing, Hall once again finished second and Hutton placed 11th. Kelly was 13th, while the academyand#8217;s girls earned six of the top 15 spots.

As ominous gale force winds stirred the air in the Southern Alps, it was questionable whether the Wanaka Ski and Snow Sports Club and Treble Cone Race Department could pull the race in time. An outstanding team effort prevailed and the club and race crew did an outstanding job of pulling off the final slalom before the onslaught of a major storm.

Barwood finished runner-up, Brooks was fifth, Cooper ninth, Monforte 10th and Murtha 13th. And this time, Treble Cone Race Academy males captured 12 of the 15 top spots. For the women, it was Ellie Patterson cracking the top 10 in ninth, Kelley in 11th and Hutton in 14th. The academy women took eight of the top 15 spots.

Guenther Birgmann, a Treble Cone Race Academy program director and Sugar Bowl Academy head coach, was ecstatic with the results.

and#8220;We couldnand#8217;t have asked our kids to have performed any better,and#8221; he said. and#8220;Treble Cone Race Academy dominated the opening FIS races of the year and two-thirds of the TCRA athletes were scoring their best career results ever. Weand#8217;ve been working with a number of these athletes in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere for several years now, and their commitment and hard work is really starting to pay off.and#8221;

Training for a number of Far West athletes continues as they prepare for the Japanese FIS races later this month with the Treble Cone Race Academy Elite FIS program.

and#8212; This article was e-mailed to Sports Editor Sylas Wright at swright@sierrasun.com.