Americans strike gold on Golden Peak
As far as the Americans are concerned, let Day 1 of the U.S. Disabled Alpine Skiing Championships be a portent of things to come this week on Golden Peak.
Between the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and other American racers skiing for their respective clubs, the red, white and blue picked up 10 of the 12 medals up for grabs in the Championships’ opening downhill Wednesday.
It was a fantastic day for the local trio U.S. Teamers – Csilla Kristof, Allison Jones and Sandy Dukat. The trio that trains in Vail went 1-2-3 in the Women’s Standing division, respectively.
Kristof won in a factored time of 53.1 seconds, followed by Jones (53.60) and Dukat (53.90).
“I was a little surprised,” Kristof said. “I’m a little more tentative in downhill, but since we train here, I was confident on this course.
“Coming up onto the pitch at the top of the run called Afterthought, you have to make a really strong turn. It’s really steep. It’s the scariest part. You have to make sure you’re forward and aggressive. You just think about skiing clean and not scrubbing any of your speed to your finish.”
“We’re extremely excited,” U.S. Disabled Ski Team assistant coach John Cole said. “It’s always good that when the ladies train at home that they do well at home. They were very comfortable with the hill and carrying their speed. They stepped it up and skied great.”
There was plenty of great skiing on display Wednesday. In the Women’s Monoskiing division, the Americans had another sweep of the podium. Laurie Stephens of the U.S. Disabled Team topped the podium in 49.75, followed by teammate Lacey Heward in 51.78.0
“That was really incredible,” Cole said. “Laurie skied a very clean, good line. She was impressive to watch. Lacey came back from a crash during the first day of (downhill) training. It was pretty severe. For her to step it up like that, she really dug deep.”
Tracy Pavlicek of Winter Park took bronze, completing the American sweep.
On the men’s side, Kevin Bramble of Lake Tahoe, Calif., captured top honors in the Men’s Monoski. He punched in at 46.06. Christopher Devlin-Young from Waterville Valley, N.H., flew to second, followed by Carl Burnett in bronze. That finish was particularly big for Burnett, who attends Dartmouth College. A former member of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, Burnett likely skied his way back onto the team, according to Cole, with that performance.
In the Men’s Standing competition, “Advance, Australia Fair” was the order of the day. From Down Under, Bart Bunting took gold over teammate Michael Milton by 0.56 seconds. George Sansonetis took bronze for the U.S. Disabled Team.
“The Standing class is extremely competitive. It’s probably one of the more competitive classes in the competition,” Cole said. “We’re very pleased to see George ski as well as he did. He tucked the whole pitch and skied very aggressively.”
The U.S. Disabled Alpine Skiing Championships continue today at 10:30 a.m. at Golden Peak with men’s and women’s super-G.