Fresh snow slows race times, spawns smiles.

Andrew Harley

Led by top men’s alpine racer Tony Larese, the titans of the Beaver Creek Town Race Series, Team Snowell, increased their already healthy lead in the series to 10.5 points. Larese, having just returned from a disappointing performance at the X Games tore through the new snow with a best time of 33.92 seconds.

Aalta Sports made the biggest move Monday, led by alpine racer Annelies Zirknitzer. She came in with a time of 34.85 seconds, the fifth-best time of all racers, men and women.

“Everyone was wearing their (racing) suit except Annelies, and she still won,” said Jon Meckem, the second place men’s alpine racer from Snowell.

Zirknitzer’s sister Christa added a top finish in the women’s snowboarding division.

“It was luck. I’m just doing it. I’m probably the least serious on the race course.” Christa Zirknitzer said.

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The chief of the race, Ron Rupert, was pleased with the state of Monday’s course.

“We had a lot of soft snow, but we got the course down to a good racing surface,” he said

Rupert, also a member of the Aalta Sports team, won the men’s snowboarding division. Rupert used to race professionally on the snowboard, but it has been three or four years since those days and he’s been spending his mountain time on skis.

“The only time I snowboard now is when I’m racing.” Rupert said, “I pretty much retired. I’m pretty old (35). Get scared going that fast sometimes, so I just do this for fun.”

Warren Souther of Mountain Quest Sports took the top spot among men’s telemarkers by nearly five seconds on his Fischer Alpine GS skis, mounted for tele-skiing, of course.

“I got the best handicap, but I didn’t feel good. I don’t think anybody felt like they had good runs, but I could be wrong.” Souther said.

Start time for the races was delayed to prepare the course and many of the racers felt their times were slower, but this did not dampen the spirits of snowboarder Melanie O’Halloran: “The fresh snow was tough, but man I got fresh tracks down Golden Eagle today, so I don’t give a (crap).”

The Beaver Creek Resort Company Race Series is held on Bear Trap on Mondays. For more information, call 845-6207.

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