Snowell snatches back Beaver Creek lead
After four weeks of biting their respective tongues, the Snowell team members can finally do what they does best in the Beaver Creek Race Series, aside from skiing fast.
After a 1-2-3 sweep in Monday’s GS – the fourth race of the season – the Snowell team jumped past three-week leader Mill Creek Sports for the lead in the team points competition, assuring that there would be no shortage of makeup trash-talking at the post-race party Monday night.
“We’ve always been good at GS and we’re real confident. We knew that they were in trouble this week,” said Snowell’s Eric Archer, who won the individual race with the fastest time, 31.19 seconds. “It’s fun to have the competition, because the last couple of years it has just been kind of an inter-team competition. I like coming to the party and talking trash with the other peeps. We’re all good friends, but I don’t think that Mill Creek is going to be able to be able to pull it out.”
Archer shared the Snowell sweep with his teammates Franz Fuchsberger (31.51) and Jon Meckem (31.74), who finished second and third, respectively. The team also picked up key win points from its snowboarding stalwart Anton Pogue and its telemarking master Tory Hauser, each winning their respective divisions and giving Snowell an extra 40 points (20 each).
“Obviously Mill Creek has a phenomenal team,” said Fuchsberger. “It’s just that we are the most balanced team out there and the win has to go to us in the end again. It’s really the versatility.”
While the two top heavyweights are still neck-and-neck at the top of the team standings, they have put distance between themselves and the rest of the field, with third-place team Coyote Cafe six points behind Mill Creek and Marko’s Pizza eight points behind.
There were a number of great individual performances, though, from all the teams that participated in Monday’s race.
Sarah Sampson of the Grimaldi Real Estate/B.C. Ski School team won the women’s alpine division with a time of 31.73 seconds, while Sari Chwalk of the Mountain Quest Sports team took the women’s telemarking division at 45.88 seconds.
Mill Creek’s Bob Bartels as usual was Mr. Consistent on Monday, coming in at 31.88 seconds to give him a fifth-place finish and keep him atop the individual alpine standings for another week.
But in the end it’s the team trophy that really matters, and Fuchsberger and Archer don’t plan on giving it up this year with three more races to go, after winning the last five.
“It sounded like we were the big losers last week, but we all skied great,” said Fuchsberger, referring to Mill Creek’s 1-2-3 finish in last week’s slalom. “All of us skied great, the other guys skied better, but we knew this was the week to make the move. The pressure is on those guys now, and I think we are going to sustain the momentum.”
Said Archer, “It was awesome today. They finally set some real turns up there and you had to think a little bit. It separates the field a little more when it’s a little more difficult to ski.”
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at 970-949-0555 ext. 608 or via e-mail at email@example.com