Snowell regains form in Vail race series
Now, it’s Johnson’s turn to dominate.
After returning to live in Edwards, Johnson races every Wednesday for Team SnowellUSA.com, which has had a three-year stranglehold on the town race trophy and, last week, lost for the first time since Bill Clinton was introducing the “blue dress” to American folklore.
“I’ve known a lot of these guys I race with for a long time,” Johnson said. “This year, there’s a lot of pressure. The races are getting bigger and faster. Everybody wants to train a little bit more and be a little bit faster.”
Johnson’s already seeing the benefits of racing for Snowell, a team that split into two squads for the first time last season after a rules change. SnowellUSA.com (Johnson’s team) finished first, while Snowell, the sister team, came in second, after the teams were narrowed down to six racers on a side, instead of eight.
Instead of cutting racers, the team expanded and saw equal success.
This year is proving to be a bit tougher. While Johnson’s team won Monday and now leads the series by 10 points over Viele Construction/Mill Creek Sports and 13 points over Black Forest, which upset the favorites last week, SnowellUSA has fallen to the cellar of the open division.
It’s no matter to team organizer Marcus Galehr, an employee of Snowell, a ski-tuning company based in Boulder but founded in Vail. Galehr started the team six years ago and does what he can to lure the top local talent onto his squad.
“We started in third place, then second place, and then Franz Fuchsberger joined us and we started winning,” Galehr said. Fuchsberger runs Schneider Racing and shares his equipment with the squad. He’s also quite a salesman. “Franz will push people and get them excited. I mean, he gets the most excited.”
There’s more incentives than just being in first. Scott, a major ski-racing manufacturer, supplies Team Snowell with shin guards, poles and goggles, while the team also gets racing suits and long underwear free as well. In fact, during Wednesday’s apres party, Fuchsberger plopped a pair of goggles in front of Johnson, causing him to reminisce about his youth.
“The series wasn’t highly publicized then,” he said. “And now it’s grown. I’ve seen the races in Steamboat, which are pretty good, but this is the best.”
Most, if not all, of the 72 racers competing this week would agree, although Team SnowellUSA.com might be smiling a little bit bigger.
“All of the racers want to be on our team,” Galehr said. “We have a good team. I always have people asking to be a part of our team. It’s a fun project.”
On the women’s side, Eileen Shiffrin won the womens’ event with a time of 32.09 seconds, while David Viele won the men’s side in 29.13. For complete results, see page A22.
The series continues Wednesday with a slalom event at Black Forest, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
Beaver Creek race series continues Monday
BEAVER CREEK – Racers come from all over the state and even New Mexico to race in the Beaver crek Resort Company Race Series, which continues Monday at noon at the Bear Trap course.
This week, Dave “Beer Man” Perrigo, the oldest racer at 62 years old, drove from Arvada to test his speed on skis.
“I just came for the free beer,” Perrigo said. “I am trying to be the fastest ski racer in the world over 60.”
It isn’t always just about winning though.
“It’s a fun event,” said Judi Holman, of Edwards. “It’s nice to race along side the people you work with, and it helps build relationships in the valley.”
The apres party will be held Monday at Agave in Avon at 5 p.m.
Matthew Baris contributed to the story
Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.