VanHee sparkles in opening GS |

VanHee sparkles in opening GS

CVR Kendall VanHee DT 1-6-1

VAIL – Of the constants in the world – death and taxes, Colorado will get snow (maybe) – there’s also the VanHee family.

Kelly and Kate VanHee have starred for the Huskies on the slopes and on the soccer pitch, and here comes Kendall. The junior mopped the field Friday at Golden Peak in the season-opening giant slalom, topping the ladies with a time of 1 minute, 11.12 seconds, a very comfortable 1.7 seconds ahead of Nederland’s Dayna Larsen.

What’s more, young VanHee topped the guys. There’s no shame in that, gents. She’s pretty good.

“It was one of those good days,” VanHee said.

Good on many levels. VanHee injured her sacroiliac joint, better known as the S.I. joint, while training for International Ski Federation (FIS) races last winter. She missed a good chunk of the year, and decided to return to compete at the high-school level this season.

The S.I. joint is in the hip area and affects back strength, so VanHee did lots of physical therapy, as well as hiking to get back in shape. It seems to have worked.

“It was super-fun,” VanHee said. “It was so much fun to get back on the course. The courses were set really nice all day.”

VanHee took care of qualifying for state in GS, and she also helped the Huskies to a team win in their first race of the season over Nederland and Evergreen.

Nicole Affleck took sixth, followed by Meghan DesRochers (eighth) and Danielle Barry (13th) – the cut was 15th place. Battle Mountain has a trio of skiers in Carsyn Bock, Isabelle Courtois, and Annie Todd just on the outside, but there are two more GS races this season as well as three slaloms.

The Battle Mountain boys had a tough day on their home hill. The Aubel brothers – Bryan and Kevan – were DNFs. As mentioned, they’ll have plenty of chances to come with the season just starting.

Freshman Victor Guilmineau impressed with a sixth-place finish, and aspiring Skimeister candidate Brett Murbach punched his ticket for state in 19th.

The state meet will be in Beaver Creek in February, providing some extra incentive for the local ski teams.

“We’re a smaller team than usual,” Huskies alpine coach Simon Marsh said. “We have a roster of almost 20. But everyone’s very committed to doing well.”

The Vail Mountain School squad, as usual, is small, but that did stop Billy Mitchell from finishing 11th. Youngsters Henry Minervini and Harrison Alonzo were DNFs, but that doesn’t worry Gore Rangers coach Francois Nanin.

“We have a very young team and we ski aggressively,” he said. “We have a very promising bunch.”

Battle Mountain and VMS head to the first slalom of the season next Friday up in Steamboat Springs.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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