Ski Club Vail has top finishes |

Ski Club Vail has top finishes

Ian CroppVail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyTaylor Wettlaufer of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail pushes his way out of the starthouse during a Smartwool race in Vail earlier this year.

VAIL – Any of the girls who raced in a FIS giant slaloms in Lutsen, Minn. this week have to be familiar with Ski & Snwoboard Club Vail. In two days, the SSCV racers took five of six podium spots.Georgia Wettlaufer won Thursday’s giant slalom, with teammates Ashley Babcock and Alyssa Cartmill in second and third, respectively.After laying down the fastest first run, Wettlaufer extended her lead, and won by almost one-and-a-half seconds.Jenny Banner’s 10th-place finish gave SSCV four in the top 10, while Delainey Ackerman was 11th, tops among first-year J2’s.In the second giant slalom race, Babcock moved up from fourth after her first run to take her second silver in as many days. Carmill had two solid runs for third, again, while Wettlaufer took fifth. Banner was 17th and Ackerman was 20th, giving SSCV five in the top 20 for both giant slalom races.For by boys, Rett Smith was the only SSCV top 10 finisher in Thursday or Friday’s giant slalom, taking ninth in the second race. Smith, who finished in 1 minute, 58.74 seconds, was less than one second off the winning mark. Bobby Poehling and Ross Herr were 18th and 19th, respectively, in Friday’s giant slalom. Thursday, Herr was 17th and Smith was 18th.

Erika Ghent found just what she was looking for heading into next week’s U.S. National – a solid finish at the Canadian Nationals. Ghent and U.S. Team Member and former SSCV skier Julia Littman are up at Canadian Nationals in Whistler, British Columbia until today, when they head off to the Alyeska Resort in Alaska.Ghent had two great runs in Friday’s giant slalom, and took eighth, and fourth among junior racers. Littman finished 33rd. In a slalom earlier in the week, Littman was 11th and Ghent was 23rd.”I’m feeling really confident going into U.S. Nationals,” Ghent said. “Speed events have been my better events so far this year. I have been looking for a good tech result.”Today, there is a super-G scheduled, weather pending.Starting next week, six SSCV athletes will be competing at U.S. Nationals at the Alyeska Resort from March 27-April 3. The four SSCV girls who qualified are Ghent, Ackerman, Cartmill and Wettlaufer, with Ackerman as the only J2 skier. For the boys, Bobby Poehling and J2 Will Gregorak will be heading to Alaska, while both Smith and Herr qualified, but will be going to technical races in Canada instead. “Things went well for the group as a whole this year,” said SSCV coach Craig Daniels. “That’s gotta be the most out of any of the ski clubs (going to nationals). We’ve been having good training, and it’s a lot of work to get training going.”Because of higher temperatures, the courses have to be coated with salt, which penetrates deep into the snow, and refreezes the surface.Herr, who is looking to race in college next year, is better suited going to races where he can help his points, Daniels said.”Racing against the best guys in the country won’t improve his profile a lot, and it’ll cost him a lot of money,” Daniels said.Poehling, who had three top-10 finishes last week in Steamboat, may crack into the top 15 for all disciplines in Alaska.Ghent, who had two top-30 finishes at last year’s nationals, should be in the running for top finishes again this year when she makes her four appearance.”I’m trying to qualify for the U.S. Ski Team,” said Ghent, who could do so if she wins a race in the junior category, and finishes top three overall in juniors.After downhill training on Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be a FIS downhill on Thursday and the nationals’ downhill on Friday. Following Saturday’s super-G, there is a day off, then slalom races, a women’s giant slalom and the men’s giant slalom.Alyeska’s downhill is one of the nicer one’s in the nation, with big jumps and a view of the ocean.

For those not old enough yet to go to nationals, there is the Whistler Cup, a series of races in Canada for the top J3 and J4 competitors from around the globe.Local skier Cooper Cartmill, who had a stellar performance at the J3 Olympics (a win and second-place finishes), qualified for the Whistler Cup again this year. “I was nervous, and now I know what to expect,” Cartmill said. “I’m definitely ready for it.”Along with Cartmill, Kieffer Christenson, who skis with Cartmill and local coach Bruce Knoepful, will be heading to the Whistler Cup. Christenson won the J3 Western Region Junior Olympic giant slalom on Saturday by 1.8 seconds at Mammoth Mountain.Hunter Schleper, who skis with Knoepful, picked up three top-10 finishes at J2 Junior Nationals last week at Mt. Bachelor, Ore.

Last weekend, Poehling lead the way for SSCV skiers at technical Rocky Mountain Trophy Series races in Steamboat.Poehling was fourth one giant slalom and 10th in another, along with a ninth-place finish in a slalom. Gregorak was 16th in giant slalom. Taylor Wettlaufer, starting with the 77 bib, moved up 36 places, and finished sixth among J2’s.The girls also had trophy series races in Winter Park and Steamboat, with Babcock and Cartmill taking fifth and sixth, respectively in a giant slalom. Six SSCV skiers were in the top 25, including Wettlaufer (11th), Whitney Setterberg (14th) Ackerman (18th) and Banner (23rd).In a giant slalom the next day, Cartmill (11th), Ackerman (13th), Banner (15th) and Setterberg (16th) all raced well.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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