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Radamus 14th in World Cup giant slalom

This may be a picture of River Radamus competing at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, where he finished 11th in giant slalom, but the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail racer isn’t skipping a beat after worlds. Radamus finished 14th in Saturday’s World Cup GS in Bulgaria. (AP File Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

River Radamus appears to be picking up right where he left off at the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in Cortina, Italy.

After finishing 11th worlds GS — a brilliant debut on one of the sport’s largest stages — last week, the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail racer took 14th in Saturday’s World Cup giant slalom in Bansko, Bulgaria.

This is why we don’t understand how worlds don’t count toward World Cup statistics — finishing 11th at worlds means a whole lot more than finishing three spots higher in 14th during a World Cup — but that’s a column for another day.

Croatia’s Filip Zubcic emerged victorious with France’s Mathieu Faivre and Austria’s Stefan Brennsteiner rounding out the podium.

Fourteenth place is a new career-best for Radamus in World Cup giant slalom. For the trivially-inclined, Radamus also finished 14th in a parallel event in Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 23, 2019.

“Yew! fun one out there today!,” Radamus wrote on Instagram. “Psyched with the top 15, and we get another go tomorrow.”

Radamus is correct. More GS is on tap on Sunday in Bansko, and it’s another opportunity for Edwards resident to keep his successful season rolling.

The biggest thing Radamus, who turned 23 earlier this month; belated happy returns,kid, has done this year is a huge step for any up-and-coming racer — achieving consistency.

With the exception of a bad weekend in Santa Catarina, Italy, in early December — two DNFs and everyone is entitled to a small bad stretch — Radamus has been a regular in punching in good GS results during the 2020-21 season.

Radamus got his first GS start here at Birds of Prey in 2017 and didn’t make the flip. That was the first of his 16 starts on tour before the current season. Radamus was 1-for 16 in making the second run and finishing in the points (top 30) in those races.

He’s 5-for-7 this year or 6-for-8, if one counts worlds. Something has clicked. While one never wants to incur the wrath of the Alpine gods, Radamus is not only keeping his spot on the team, but likely earning more opportunities next year.

Two giant slaloms remain during the World Cup regular season — Sunday’s event in Bansko and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on March 13. Radamus’ task in these two racers is to move up in the GS World Cup standings.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s River Radamus is 26th in the World Cup giant slalom standings and needs to be 25th or better to qualify for the World Cup finals in March.

Only the top 25 in the points of a discipline qualify for the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and Radamus is in 26th after Saturday’s race. Radamus (57) is 8 points behind Austria’ Manny Feller for 25th, so with a total of 200 points up for grabs in these comps, Radamus essentially controls his destiny with regard to making finals.

 

Ski & Ski Snowboard Club Vail devos shine at Colorado Cup

Cleo Braun goes for gold in Monday's Colorado Ski Cup devo race on Vail Mountain. She got it. (Special to the Daily)

Team scores 17 top 10s

Devo FIS skiers looking to make their mark flocked to Vail Mountain Monday and Tuesday to take part in another Colorado Ski Cup series event.

With FIS points on the line and the season winding closer to its inevitable end, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes locked down two wins and 17 of the top 10 times at the end of four giant-slalom races.

SSCV women kicked off the week with impressive speed and technique in their turns. Leading a field of more than 50 athletes in the morning race, SSCV’s Cleo Braun secured the fastest time and a gold medal.

Joining her in the top 10 in the first race of the day were teammates Zoie Palmer, who fell just outside the podium in fourth, and Josephine Trueblood in sixth. With something to prove in the second race of the day, SSCV women surged up the standings to claim six of the ten fastest times. Helenka Ostaszewski, Palmer, and Samantha Trudeau closed ranks, taking third, fourth, and fifth respectively.

They were followed by teammates Avery Shaffler in eighth, Josephine Trueblood in ninth, and Anna Zurabay taking tenth.

On Tuesday, more than 70 male athletes competed for the best times overall as the winds buffeted the course.

In the first race of the day, SSCV put on an outstanding performance, sweeping the podium with quick edges and great lines. Trent Pennington, an SSCV athlete and member of the U.S. Ski Team, blazed down the course to secure the win followed by teammates Nicholas Unkovskoy in second place and Fletcher Holm in third place.

Fellow athlete Tucker Strauch bracketed the podium with a fourth-place finish and Sebastian Kolhofer breached the top 10 as well, taking 10th in the first race. The second race of the day saw Pennington grab another podium finish in second, with SSCV teammates Jack Reich and Kohlhofer landing in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

For a full list of results, please go to https://www.fis-ski.com/.

 

Mogul skiers soar at RMF Divisional Championships

Ski & Snowboard mogul skiers celebrate at Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Championships last week at Copper Mountain. (Special to the Daily)

Copper Mountain’s Ore Deal moguls course saw some major action at the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Championships that took place this week.

Featuring regional freestyle skiers as young as U13s , Ski & Snowboard Club Vail men and women showed up and showed out, taking a total of seven of the top 10 spots overall and stepping up to the podiums for their respective age divisions, including a podium sweep for the U15 men and women between two days of competition.

The SSCV boys kicked off the first day with great results across the board. U17 Mylo Ornowski led the pack and stayed consistent with big air and quick edges, taking the top times and the best scores between two runs to secure himself the win.

Ornowski was followed shortly by teammate Garrett Marley in third, and U15 Jiah Cohen rounded out the top ten to take home first for his age division. Cohen was joined atop the U15 podium by teammates Ryan Stockton in second and Caden McCormick in third.

On the second day of competition, SSCV women flew down the bumps with grace and gusto. When the snow settled, U15 Elizabeth Lemley emerged as the victor overall after unveiling a back full with clean execution in both runs.

Lemley was joined at the podium by teammates Kaiya Torres and Lemon Walker who grabbed second and third for the U15s, and seventh and ninth overall. SSCV’s Reese Chapdelaine also had a great showing, with strong turns in the middle section of the course skiing into second place for the U17 age division and just outside the podium in fourth overall.

Mahlia Torres, one of only two U13s to compete, went home with a gold medal for the U13’s around her neck and showed great promise when she finished among the top 15 for the day.

“The sweeps for our U15 men and women speak to the hard training and progression our skiers have been doing throughout the season,” said SSCV’s Mogul Program Director John Dowling. “We have another week before our home RMF mogul events and then it’s on to junior nationals at the Utah Olympic Park where these athletes are looking to make a mark.”

For a list of complete results, please go to https://rockymountainfreestyle.com/.

Rockies’ Ian Desmond opts out for second straight season

The Rockies' Ian Desmond awaits a pitch during the first inning of a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs on Feb. 25, 2020, in Mesa, Ariz.
Matt York/AP

DENVER — Ian Desmond provided a calming voice to help the Colorado Rockies stick together soon after losing star third baseman Nolan Arenado in a blockbuster trade.

That just may be the veteran outfielder’s biggest contribution this season.

Desmond decided Sunday to opt out for a second straight season. He announced on his Instagram account that his “desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances.”

No amount of lobbying by Rockies manager Bud Black could persuade the 35-year-old Desmond, who was scheduled to make $8 million this season after walking away from a pro-rated salary of $5,555,556 last season.

“This was a decision not about money,” said Black, whose team will begin full-squad workouts Tuesday in Arizona. “This was from the heart, and from the stomach. This was hard. This was agonizing for him.”

Desmond did leave the door open for a possible return by adding “for now” in his post. He vowed to “continue to train and watch how things unfold.”

His leadership was on display soon after the Rockies traded eight-time Gold Glove winner Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals. Desmond along with shortstop Trevor Story, outfield Charlie Blackmon, reliever Scott Oberg and others preached the same message over and over — stick together.

“That goes to show who he is and his commitment to the team,” Black said. “Again, he’s going to follow us. He’s going to continue to train. He’s going to assess what’s going on and maybe his feelings in a month, two months, two weeks, two days … I don’t know, but he’s engaged. He’s not, from those conversations with his teammates, checked out.”

Desmond is in the final year of a five-year, $70 million deal he signed in December 2016. Colorado has a $15 million option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.

In opting out last summer during the coronavirus-shortened season, Desmond cited a desire to spend more time with his family and to help grow youth baseball in his Florida hometown. He also added the COVID-19 pandemic made the baseball season one that “is a risk I am not comfortable taking.”

On Sunday, Desmond wrote of his decision: “This impacts a lot of people, some positively and some negatively, and I own that. At the end of the day, this weighs on me more than anyone but I’m following my heart and I feel good about my decision.”

Desmond added that he’s informed teammates, the coaching staff and front office and they’ve all been “extremely understanding and supportive.”

“I wish nothing but the best for the entire Rockies organization and have let them know I am willing to do whatever I can to help them from afar,” Desmond wrote. “Thank you.”

Desmond’s departure paves the way for more playing time in the outfield for the likes of Garrett Hampson, Yonathan Daza, Sam Hilliard and Raimel Tapia. It could also possibly open a spot for Bret Boswell, an eighth-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft, or veteran Chris Owings.

No doubt: Desmond’s combination of big bat, booming voice in the clubhouse and versatility will be difficult to replace.

“We have some options to work through the next 5 1/2 weeks to supplement Desi,” Black said.

Desmond is a career .263 hitter with 181 homers and 711 RBIs in 1,478 games with Washington, Texas and Colorado. He batted .255 with 20 homers in 140 games with Colorado in 2019.

His time with Colorado got off to a painful start after breaking his left hand when he was hit by a pitch during spring training in 2017. He didn’t have his customary power but still helped the Rockies clinch a postseason spot that year and again in ’18, when he hit 22 homers. Colorado has missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

“Desi and I had great conversations over the years, probably more so about other things besides just the nuts and bolts of baseball,” Black said. “He had a creative mind when it came to baseball. But I understood right away where Desi was coming from on the personal side, the baseball side and the life side. He was always open and very honest. You always knew where Desi stood, which is a great trait.”

Mostly a shortstop to start his career, he’s become a skilled outfielder and first baseman.

“In my mind, I’ll view Desi as a complete player, a consummate professional, a great teammate,” Black said. “Did a lot of great things.

“But again, I think that in his statement he’s opting out for now. We’ll see how this all transpires moving forward.”

Owens leads U.S. sweep in Utah; Johnson third

Kai Owens celebrates after winning Friday’s World Cup dual-moguls competition in Deer Valley, Utah. This is the first World Cup win for Owens, 16. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

U-S-A. U-S-A.

Ea-gle Coun-ty. Ea-gle Coun-ty.

Not only did the Americans sweep the podium during Friday night’s World Cup dual moguls competition in Deer Valley, Utah, but the podium had a very local flavor.

Avon’s Kai Owens won the first World Cup of her career with Hannah Soar, of Vermont, in second. West Vail’s Tess Johnson was third, giving Eagle County bookend podium finishes.

That made for a pretty nice night of racing.

Kai

“It’s unreal, I’m feeling like I’m on cloud nine right now,” said Owens via a U.S. Ski Team press release. “I’m so lucky to share it with my teammates. I put everything I had in today, so I’m just really feeling honored and excited to be here.”

This is a life-changer for Owens. Were there any doubts about Owens making the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, after her fourth-place finish on Friday, the’re gone. While Owens cannot incur the wrath of the ski gods by saying that she’s going, her invitation most likely is in the mail or the Internet.

Owens, 16, is also on a meteoric rise within the U.S. Freestyle Team. She made her World Cup debut a little more than a year ago. Her first World Cup points were on Jan. 25, 2020 in Tremblant, Quebec, with an 11th place finish in singles. One week later, she had her first top 10 in Calgary, Alberta.

Owens opened 2020-21 with a sixth-place finish in singles in Finland, was fourth on Thursday and took the top step on Friday.

Tess

Johnson, 20, was probably not thinking her Friday would end on the podium. Johnson broke one of her skis in Friday’s pre-race training, and, according to the U.S. Team, did think about pulling out of Friday’s comp.

Tess Johnson is styling during Friday’s World Cup women’s dual-moguls competition, in Deer Valley, Utah, where she finished third as a part of an American sweep. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Johnson kept with it and got on a roll until the semifinals when she met up with Owens. Reaction No. 1: Darn kids, these days. Reaction No. 2: If these two meet in a World Cup bracket, could the race be moved to Cookshack or Grouse Mountain?

All kidding aside, Owens said, according to the release. “Tess is like my best friend and older sister. We’ve been training together for the past month, so I was just ready to put on a show and give it everything I had and show everyone here and at home what we could do.”

Owens, indeed pulled the upset over her teammate — and former roommate; they bunked together last year.

“It was a close one, I wanted to get her, but it was so much fun and I love dueling teammates in the round of four,” Johnson said. “I got pretty emotional earlier. Ever since I’ve made the team I’ve wanted (to see a podium sweep) almost more than individual success. Sweeping the podium with these girls, its a dream come true, it really is. They’re my sisters, they’re my best friends, it feels unreal. It’s an honor to be on such a progressive, hardworking women’s team.”

Yes, she wanted the win, but Johnson bounced back to take third and should take a ton of confidence into worlds in Almaty come March.

Kai Owens takes fourth in Utah World Cup

Avon’s Kai Owens flies over a jump during the World Cup women's moguls event Thursday in Deer Valley, Utah. Owens, 16, finished a career-best fourth. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

They don’t seem to get many shots at this, but when they do, they’re making the most of it.

In the start-and-stop — mostly stop — season that is World Cup moguls 2020-21, Avon’s Kai Owens made waves with a career-best fourth-place finish, while West Vail‘s Tess Johnson was eighth on Thursday in Deer Valley, Utah. Not surprisingly, France’s Perrine Laffont won the event.

“Being on World Cup last year, I gained a lot of experience,” said Owens through a U.S. Ski Team news release. “I learned a lot last year in the struggle of Deer Valley, so I came out today. I overcame a lot this morning since last year I didn’t do that well here, so I’m really proud to come out and get redemption. This course is a real beast, it’s really tough, but I really like the challenge.”

Last year at Deer Valley, Owens finished 25th at Deer Valley in her third career World Cup start as a 15-year-old. A lot has changed for the now-grizzled 16-year-old.

We’re joking, but things are happening pretty fast for Owens. Before Deer Valley last year, Owens made her World Cup debut with two events in Canada — 11th and 10th place — before the tour came to Utah.

Despite the abrupt ending to 2020-21 and the scattershot nature of this season with COVID — two stops in Scandinavia in early December and then Deer Valley for singles Thursday and duals late Friday night — Owens is making a case for herself to be a mainstay of the national team as well as qualifying for worlds in March.

“I’m really happy with the performance from Kai Owens today, she really stepped up,” said head moguls coach Matt Gnoza in the same release. “She was amazingly nervous this morning and corralled it and skied like Kai Owens. She trusted her skills and her ability and took it all the way to fourth place. A podium is in her future for sure.”

Almaty-bound?

Johnson finished eighth, ahead of teammate Hannah Soar ninth and Jaelin Kauf, a disappointing 16th for her. The reason we turn a World Cup event into an intramural American moguls comp is that, with the exception of Friday night’s dual moguls, the FIS Freestyle World Skiing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on March 13-14 are the next event on the calendar.

Tess Johnson says hello in the finish area after World Cup competition in Deer Valley, Utah. West Vail’s Johnson took eighth in Thursday’s comp. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

In theory, one expects more than three tour stops — Ruka, Finland; Idre Fjall, Sweden; and Deer Valley — before worlds, and we’ll see if FIS throws something together, but wins, finishes and point totals are getting very important.

The Americans can enter four racers each in singles and duals. Kauf, out of Steamboat Springs and best buds with Johnson, is pretty much a mortal lock for Almaty, as is Soar. The two are ranked nos. 3 and 4 in the world on points.

Johnson is sixth in the World Cup points and third on the American team. Given the breadth of her experience — Tess joined the team at 14 years old — her appearance in the 2018 Olympics (12th place), three career World Cup podiums, including a win in in 2018, and her bronze medal in duals from worlds in 2019, Johnson, knock on wood, should be on the squad.

And the fourth member, in theory, seems to be Owens. She moved into No. 8 in the world in the points on Thursday. She’s been in four singles events this season, placed no worse than 12th and has finished 6-6-12-4 in 2020-21. And, for the record, her 12th-place finish in dual moguls on Dec. 13 in Finland was also a career-best in the discipline.

If Thursday’s singles were the last competition in the discipline before Almaty in March — and that’s what the FIS schedule says for now; everything is up in the air — Owens certainly did not leave a bad impression for the coaching staff and its decision.

Local Nordic skiers skate to multiple top ten finishes in Junior Invitational Race

Local U16 Reiner Schmidt pushes himself up a climb at a Nordic Junior Invitational Race hosted by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail at Maloit Park last weekend. (Special to the Daily)

Rocky Mountain Nordic athletes flocked to Minturn on Saturday to participate in a Junior Invitational Race hosted by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail at Maloit Park.

Featuring racers with years of birth 2005 to 2010, it was one of the first opportunities for younger Nordic skiers to participate in a regional event this season. Undeterred by the fierce competition, SSCV secured 19 spots among the top 10 in the U16, U14, and U12 age group races.

In the 5-kilometer skate, SSCV boys took home four of the top 10 times with Truett Bennett snagging a spot on the podium in third place. Teammates Reiner Schmidt, Cyrus Creasy, and Connor Wilson landed in seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. Among the girls, SSCV U14 Lucy Perkins stepped up to the U16 level and went home with a silver medal with Cassidy Wright of SSCV rounding out the top 10.

Later in the afternoon, U14 and U12 boys took on a 2.5K course. SSCV’s Will Bentley grabbed the fastest time of the day for the U14 boys while Gracen Kennedy and Claire Chimileski took home first and second for the girls.

Teammates Henry Reynolds and Hank Ogden took fourth and ninth, respectively, for the U14 boys with Keira Sypniewski logging an eighth-place finish for the U14 girls.

It was a battle among the U12 boys, with SSCV’s Peter Kan coming in second, Tyson Boyd in third, and Freedom Bennett in fourth within seconds of each other. Teammates Kolt Sypniewski and Tyler Ciluzzi battled their way into the top 10 with a seventh and ninth-place finish, respectively. In the slightly smaller U12 girls race, Katie Lombardi of SSCV skated into third for her age division with teammate Eliza Pyke finishing seventh.

“It was great to see the kids out there racing,” said SSCV’s Nordic and Cycling Programirector, Dan Weiland on the day’s events. “Especially against so many athletes from other clubs in the area. It really gives them the chance to put themselves out there and see how they’re doing.”

For a complete list of strong performances from athletes throughout the region go to https://skiclubvail.org/junior-invite-results/.

 

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes thrive at Sync Ski Cup slalom series

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's Katie McDonald charges down the slalom course at Golden Peak last week on the first of a four-day slalom SYNC Ski Cup series in Vail. (Special to the Daily)

Yet another event at Golden Peak

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes thrive at Sync Ski Cup slalom series at Golden Peak

Last week at Golden Peak, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosted the SYNC Devo Ski Cup and the SYNC Ski Cup for alpine athletes.

Out of the many racers who qualified to participate over four days of competition, SSCV took home 44 of the top 10 spots overall and SSCV U16s claimed 39 of the top 10 spots for their age division.

SYNC Devo Ski Cup

The first two days of competition saw alpine skiers with years of birth 2005 through 2008 complete two, two-run slalom races in a single day.

The SSCV women started the week with a good showing overall, taking four of the top 10 spots in both races on Monday. SSCV U16 Frankie Marston proved to be a force on the course, taking second in her first race and first in her second.

Teammate and U14 Katie McDonald demonstrated skill beyond her years with an eighth and a ninth-place finish overall in a field largely dominated by older athletes.

On the men’s side, SSCV competitor Kai Ogawa took home third in the first race. In the second race, SSCV made a clean sweep of the top five times with Hunter Salani leading the pack in first, Stewart Bruce in second, Julian Arthur in third, William Zurbay in fourth, and Ogawa in fifth.

SYNC Ski Cup

On Wednesday and Thursday, alpine athletes that met a certain threshold of points in their age division were able to take part in the more competitive SYNC Ski Cup. In a sort of no-holds-barred race format featuring U14s and older, SSCV had some standout performances.

Among the women, SSCV’s Tegan Wold flew into first overall, followed by SSCV’s Samantha Trudeau in second and Kendahl Roufa in third in the first race.

The second race saw Wold and Trudeau once again take home gold and silver. Marston continued the streak from her races earlier in the week, taking first place for the U16 age division in race one, and second place in race two.

Marston was followed shortly by teammate Kyleena Lathram in both races, with Lathram taking home a second and third for their age division. Viktoria Zaytseva, an SSCV U14, also did remarkably well in the stiff competition, finishing 12th overall in her first race and tying for 10th overall with U16 Avery Forstl in her second.

On the final day of competition, SSCV’s Brendan Keane, Jack Reich, and Tanner Grant vied for the top three spots overall between race one and two. In the first race, Keane came out on top in first, Reich in second, and Grant in third.

Teammate Hunter Salani trailed close behind in times and came away with a third-place finish for the U16 age division. Later in the afternoon, Reich edged out Keane to score first overall in the second race while Grant held onto another third-place podium spot.

Radamus, Leever and, yes, Shiffrin make world champs team

River Radamus is going to the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships for the first time, the U.S. Ski Team announced on Wednesday,

The U.S. Ski Team selected its crew Wednesday for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina, Italy, starting on Feb. 8, and the locals who were on the bubble for the squad saw no bursting of their bubbles.

In the least controversial sentence ever written, Mikaela Shiffrin made the team. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, if she keeps at this racing thing, she might make something of herself.

While there was no drama in that selection — Shiffrin will make the team, if she wants, at the age of 72 — locals River Radamus and Alex Leever got their first invites to the championships, and that is a milestone.

It’s been a while (Jan. 9) since giant slalom, Radamus’ specialty at the moment, has been contested on the men’s World Cup. Nonetheless, Radamus has had a breakthrough this season.

In his first 16 starts in World Cup GS until the beginning of the 2020-21 season, Radamus had only made the flip once. This year, he’s 4-for-6 and has three top 20 finishes. The 22-year-old from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is tied for most World Cup GS points on the American team among active racers — Tommy Ford made the team, but will not compete — with teammate Ryan Cochran-Siegle.

Radamus has earned it.

Alex Leever is a bit of surprise, but he just might have clinched his spot with his first World Cup points by finishing 24th in Tuesday’s World Cup night slalom in Schladming, Austria.

Leever, 25, has taken the long way around to get here, but it’s worth it. Now racing for Team America, Leever was with SSCV in his early years. He eventually skied for Denver University as well as the World Pro Ski Tour.

Other skiers with SSCV or general Vail ties are Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien.

As for the rest of the team, round up the usual suspects. Shiffrin and Breezy Johnson headline the women’s team with Laurenne Ross, who is one of the feel-good stories of the tour for just getting back to the World Cup after a plethora of injuries.

Ted Ligety, Travis Ganong, Bryce Bennett, Jared Goldberg and Cochran-Siegle are the familiar faces for the gents. The bigger question is if Cochran-Siegle will be healthy enough to go in Cortina after a crash in Kitzbuehel, Austria, last weekend.

Noticeably absent from the men’s team is Steven Nyman, 38, who has been injured all year.

Leever conquers last two gates, earns first WC points

Alex Lever, right, is officially on the World Cup table after recording his first points in Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday. (Chris Cohen Images
Special to the Daily)

Don’t try this at home, kids.

Austria’s Marco Schwarz emerged the winner from Tuesday’s World Cup night slalom in Schladming, Austria. France’s Clement Noel and Alexis Pinturault rounded out the podium.

But the real fight was at the back of the flip, where youngsters have horribly high bib numbers and are trying to charge into the points.

Thus, we present you bib No. 66, aka Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Alex Leever, who earned his first World Cup points of his career by finishing 24th. Heck making the second run from No. 66 on a cold, snowy, miserable night is an accomplishment, That, normally, would be enough to get you into the newspaper.

But it was how Leever did it.

Seemingly,on his way to finishing his second run, Lever nearly bonked on the second-to-last gate, appearing to lose his way and those precious points. Leever fell going around the second -to-last gate. landed on his derriere across the finish line and, somehow in the process, managed to clear the final gate.

Prone in the snow on skier’s left, Lever lifted his upper body and fist in triumph after finishing and was heard on the broadcast, saying “I made it.” We’re pretty sure the East German judge only gave him a score of 2.4.

The jury had to have reviewed it. Official results are out from FIS. He did get around the gates in question. These are his first points, all wonderful seven of them.

Alex Leever is official. He earned his first seven World Cup points with a 24th-place finish during Tuesday. (Screen grab)

Well done. Just please don’t try that again in your next race.

At 25, this was only Lever’s third start on the white circus. His two previous starts had resulted in DNFs in Flachau, Austria, last weekend.

Ford out for year

It’s not a huge surprise but the U.S. Ski Team announced on Tuesday that Tommy Ford will be out for the season after having surgery last week at some place called the Steadman Philippon Research Institute.

Yes, we’ve heard of it.

Ford, who won the 2019 Birds of Prey giant slalom, had a nasty crash in Adelboden, Switzerland, on Jan. 10. He will rehab in Bend, Oregon.

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