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Locals race at national championships

Ian Cropp
AP file photo Former Ski and Snowboard Club Vail skier Julia Littman landed on the podium on the first day of the the U.S. Alpine National Championships downhill two weeks ago in Sugarloaf, Maine.
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SUGARLOAF, Maine- For all the advantages a ski racer has training Vail, there can be a few drawbacks, as several Ski and Snowboard Club skiers learned at nationals this past week.”The conditions there were unbelievably hard,” said SSCV executive director Aldo Radamus. “It was a real eye-opening experience for our athletes, especially coming from here with our snow.” And the competition wasn’t any bit more yielding than the conditions, with the country’s best skiers (as well as several top international skiers) vying for the national crown in all five alpine events.Still, SSCV skiers, current and past, posted good results.Former SSCV skier Julia Littman took third in the FIS women’s downhill, sixth in the national downhill and 13th in the giant slalom. Lindsey Kildow took sixth in the FIS downhill before crashing in the second downhill and sitting out the rest of the championships.”It is Julia’s first year on the national team, and she’s been successful in downhill,” Radamus said.SSCV’s Erika Ghent posted two top-30 finishes in her second appearance at nationals, taking 26th in both the super-G and the downhill.”She had good results among the entire field and juniors,” Radamus said. “And she still has two more years of junior racing left.”

Ghent was also 37th in the FIS downhill, and 35th in the slalom.”I didn’t do what I wanted to do, but it was a really good experience to be there with the best in the country,” Ghent said.And, to be there with family.Christa Ghent, one of four racers born in 1990, took 32nd in the FIS downhill, but tore ligaments in her knee in the second downhill.”It was cool to be there with my sister,” Erika Ghent said. “To be at any race with her is comforting.”First timeChrista Ghent, along with Georgia Wettlaufer and Bobby Poehling all got their first taste of racing at the national championships.”It was one of the biggest events I’ve ever raced at,” said Wettlaufer, who had five top-50 finishes. “I went to Europe earlier in this season, and we got to experience high-paced racing, but this was even more of a step up from that.”

Wettlaufer said she’s had better results in other races, but she was still happy considering what she was going up against.”It wasn’t the results I wanted, but it was in a different arena than I’ve been in, and in conditions I’ve never experienced before.”Poehling, like the other SSCV races, didn’t seem content on just making it to nationals.Despite starting in the No. 97 bib in the slalom, Poehling put together two stellar runs to finish 27th. Poehling jumped up 16 bib spots in the super-G to finish 43rd, while he took 53rd in both downhills.”That’s really respectable for his first time at national championships,” Radamus said.Two other SSCV skiers, Alyssa Cartmill and Laura Littman, qualified for nationals, but suffered injuries weeks prior and were not able to attend.GenerationsEven though they shared the same start gate with members of the U.S. Ski Team, the teenagers competing for their first or second time at nationals still had a bit of butterflies.



“We were all pretty star struck,” Erika Ghent said. “Bode (Miller) would walk by, or Julia (Mancuso) and Lindsey were up there in the start gate.”Radamus enjoyed the juxtaposition of generations of SSCV skiers competing in the same event.”It was great to have veterans from the club and young ones getting their first chances and getting a chance to see what former teammates are doing,” Radamus said.Ghent, who hopes to crack into the top 10 in a race or two next year, was proud to be among the ranks of SSCV skiers.”It goes to show you, living in Vail is the place to be,” Ghent said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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