Vail Instructor series wraps up season |

Vail Instructor series wraps up season

Daily Staff Report

For Vail Instructors Pro Series organizer Barb Smith, the remodeled race series, which included halfpipe, mogul and snowshoe events and a synchronized ski competition, was a dream come true. “I got my wish,” Smith said at the end-of-season party, “I saw a telemarker compete in the halfpipe.”The Austrians ruled in the alpine division of the series with Gabi Fischer and Franz Fuchsberger taking the women’s and men’s titles, respectively.”This season I raced like I would go to the next Olympic Games,” Fischer joked. “Growing up, I raced until I was 15 in Austria for a racing club.”A shoulder injury sidelined Fischer’s career. She then turned to teaching and has been an instructor for 23 years.It is her fifth season in Vail. Her reason for returning is simple. “I like the people and the snow here,” she said.For the energetic Fuchsberger, the wrap party was a chance for him to promote his new merchandise – the very stylish Schneider-Rooly sunglasses and goggles.”We have now all the racing clothes from top to bottom, from goggles down to Bode Miller DeFeet socks,” Fuchsberger said. “If you want to beat Franzi next season, you’ve got to wear the Rooly goggles, Schneider race gear and DeFeet socks.”Four-time Olympian Martin Bell made his series debut this season. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, Bell could only compete in four of the 14 events. He earned 7th place overall, despite his absences.Ironman Alan Braunholtz was the only instructor to compete in all of the 14 events. Female instructor Kelley McCafferty competed in 13 of the 14 events. They each easily won their respective divisions.Also, the Lionshead POD (point of departure) beat the combined Vail-Golden Peak POD with Lionshead earning a total of 12,253 points to Vail-Golden Peak’s 11,727 points.For the top-10 finishers in each category, see results at left.Sonnenalp Golf Club opensMonday marked the opening day of the Sonnenalp Golf Club at Singletree. All 18 holes of this championship course are now open. Spring conditions apply. “The golf course is in great condition for this time of year,” club manager George Kahrhoff said. “We’re excited to be able to open the course during ski season again. Spring skiing conditions are good and so are the golf course conditions. You can take a few runs in the morning, then come out to the Sonnenalp Golf Club and play nine or 18 holes before dark.”Greens fees through May 31 are $82 for 9 holes and $90 for 18 holes. Twilight rates are $70 after 1 pm. “We’ve welcomed quite a few new members to the Club over the winter and I’m sure they are excited to get out on their new home course,” Kahrhoff said. “We have fewer than eight memberships remaining, then we’ll start taking names for a waiting list.”The snack bar is also open, serving a limited menu. Balata restaurant remains open for dinner until April 17. The restaurant will re-open on Friday, April 22 for its popular Friday afternoon Decks and Decadence party which features live entertainment on the deck. For tee time reservations call 477-5371. For dinner reservations call 477-5353.Vail, Colorado

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