Emma Resnick of Vail gets a win at world’s top U16 race
Swiss race Opa Cup is most competitive giant slalom for skiers ages 14-15
Vail ski racer Emma Resnick can add her name to the growing list of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes to win the prestigious Opa Cup, formerly known as the Seven Nations Cup. The Opa Cup is considered to be the most competitive event in the world for ski racers ages 14 and 15, and took place in Meiringen, Switzerland, this year.
The event includes a slalom and a giant slalom. Emma Resnick, 15, spent part of the first day of competition thinking she had taken third in the slalom.
A review of the tape showed she had straddled a gate, unbeknownst to her, and she was disqualified.
While many would feel dejected after being asked to leave the podium, Emma Resnick was motivated.
“It didn’t really count, but I still knew where I stood against those girls,” Emma Resnick said. “I think it helped my confidence a lot for the second day.”
While the Opa Cup wrapped up Feb. 14-15, the competition element of the event was the culmination of more than a week of time spent enjoying Meiringen and the ski racing culture of Switzerland.
Emma Resnick was joined by Bayli McSpadden, also of Vail and a member of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, and Dasha Romanov, a former Colorado resident now living in Idaho. The athletes qualified because of their results in the National Performance Series in January. Emma Resnick said the time spent with her teammates and her coach Dan Stripp helped her perform well in Switzerland.
“I think we were all pretty excited going into the whole race series in general after spending a week and a half with each other, we were all really close and we were super pumped to actually compare ourselves against others,”Emma Resnick said.
The athletes are all competitive, and viewed a good performance by one as validation for the whole group. In their most recent race against each other, the second giant slalom of the National Performance Series in January, Romanov finished second and Emma Resnick finished fourth.
“We’ve all been super close in races,” Emma Resnick said. “Knowing that I won and they can go head to head against me is comforting for them to know.”
So it was all of the athletes celebrating Emma Resnick after the first run of the giant slalom at the Opa Cup.
“After coming down second in the first run, I was really surprised,” Emma Resnick said. “I know I could have gone safe to finish, had a great run but not really pushed myself and maybe end up top 5 or hopefully on the podium … but if I go hard the worst that can happen is I fall, and the best that can happen is what came out of it.”
Resnick’s sister, 17-year-old Allie Resnick, was also in Switzerland to support the American competitors. Allie Resnick competed in the Seven Nations Cup in 2017, taking fourth in the slalom. She is currently sidelined with a knee injury.
“It’s a big bummer but she decided to come out and support me and my teammates, which was super fun,” Emma Resnick said.
Allie Resnick was also able to help with introductions, having met many of the international athletes before.
“Getting to know the other teammates from the other places is super cool, and it was really nice to have that,” Emma Resnick said.
The Opa Cup was Emma Resnick’s first European ski race.
“The girls that I did get to meet were really nice and super supportive of you, bonding over the same sport was a really cool thing to experience,” Emma Resnick said.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Sebastian Kohlhofer also made it to the Opa Cup this year, notching an 11th place finish in the slalom, the top finish for a U.S. male. Romanov was also the top finishing American in the slalom in 10th, and McSpadden was not far behind her in 12th.
Resnick’s win marked the third year in a row that a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete has won the giant slalom at the event, after Kellen Kinsella won in 2017 and Nicola Rountree-Williams won in 2018.
“Everyone at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail was thrilled to hear that Emma laid it down and won gold at the Opa Cup in Switzerland,” said Geoff Mintz, communications director. “When Kellen won this event two years ago, we were thrilled, and then Nicola made it two in a row last season — that was amazing. Now, with Emma bringing home gold for the U.S. for the third straight year, it’s really been a remarkable run for SSCV athletes at this event.”