A waterfall of a win at Ski Classic
VAIL – Chris Anthony knows what a good skier when he sees one. Anthony, the extreme skiing champion and Vail resident, got a glimpse of Mel Holson at last year’s American Ski Classic.”I had to race Mel a bunch, and he was the secret weapon,” Anthony said. “So when he was on my team this year, I was very happy. I knew we were off to a good start.”Holson, 81, was instrumental in team Vail Cascade Resort’s win in Saturday’s Ford Cup at this year’s Ski Classic.Vail Cascade edged Snake River Sporting Club in the best-of-five, head-to-head finals. After Holson won the opening race, the teams traded wins and the gold came down to a matchup between Anthony and Germany’s Michaela Gerg-Leitner.The two racers were deadlocked through the second half of the course, until Anthony pulled away before the finish line.”I’ve always watched from the sidelines the whole finals, so I was glad to be a part of it,” Anthony said.Holson, who may have been clocked at just under Austrian Franz Weber’s speed skiing record, finally got to sip on some victory champagne.”It’s the first time in 23 years (of competing),” he said. “It feels very good.”For the powder hound Anthony, the race was his first time in gates since last year’s event.”This is my only time, right here,” Anthony said. “And this is the first time I’ve done it without powder skis.”Other members of the winning team were Gary Doane, Frank Lynch, Jr. and Paul Orszag.
Nobody can say Saturday’s race was fixed. Team Vail Resorts, despite hard training and sharp skiing, made an exit in the quarterfinals.”Last year we had bronze, so we slipped a little this year,” said Rob Katz, Vail Resorts CEO. “We need to do better next year.”We’re going to start (training) tomorrow. The season begins again.”
Jeff Jones, Vail Resorts CFO, gave his team a win in the quarters to bring things back to 1-1 before their opponents, Countrywide Security Corporation, pulled away.”It doesn’t matter how my race was – it matters what the team did,” Jones said. “We’re not going to be satisfied until we get gold.”Talks of summer training in Chile for the team alongside the U.S. Ski Team are in early stages.”It could be in order,” Jones said.Vail Resorts team captain Pam Fletcher credits the heart of the skiing order with the team’s trip to the quaters.”They were the one’s who did it,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t have to work hard to make it to the finals.”Rumors that the entire team, which also includes Bill Jensen, Co-President of the Mountain Division of Vail Resorts, and actor Giancarlo Esposito, hiked up to the NASTAR course for training runs after the race could neither be confirmed or denied.
Countrywide Securities Corporation, led by former Vail skier Chad Fleischer, brought home bronze and knocked out some heavyweights along the way.”It’s funny because Bill Jensen was running against one of my guys, and I said, ‘Hey listen, no pressure, this guy runs the whole show, so make sure you beat him,'” Fleischer said.Then in the semifinals, Countrywide Security Corporation took on team Countrywide.”When we entered the semis, these guys had to beat their own bosses, and they were wondering whether or not that was such a good idea,” Fleischer said. “That’s why this event was so much fun, you’re always out there to challenge yourself, and not afraid to beat your boss.”Countrywide Deepak Peruvemba enjoyed a bronze medal in his first Ski Classic appearance, although doesn’t know if there will be any repercussions from his boss.”We’ll see next year when my bonus comes around next year,” he said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.