Despite a having a bad cold and needing to redo a run because of a timing error, ski and snowboard team captain senior Luca Procida placed first in the giant slalom (GS) at Northstar California on Jan. 28.
Two skiers and a snowboarder were unable to attend. Senior Nate Jakobs couldn’t go for personal reasons, it was sophomore Bri Davies’ first full day of classes this school year, and sophomore Ming Zhou lacked transportation to Northstar.
In both of Procida’s timed runs, he placed first of 29 skiers by over two seconds, with times of one minute and 16.17 seconds and 1:19.93.
“He skied very well for being sick!” coach Jason Kreps exclaimed.
Even though Procida had to repeat a run because it wasn’t timed, he “stayed super positive,” according to freshman Hailey Fesai.
Sophomore Colin Usrey finished 13th with times of 1:33.02 and 1:38.14.
In his first race ever, freshman Miles Morrow placed 28th, finishing in 2:20.93 and 2:19.37. Morrow said he was proud of not finishing last.
“I got second to last by one second, but it wasn’t last,” he said.
Morrow, who has skied recreationally for about six years, said he plans to work on his confidence when racing.
“It was nerve-wracking going up to the start, but when I got going, it was much better than I expected,” Morrow said.
Jumping up seven places from her first race to her second, Fesai placed 12th of 25 skiers overall. She finished in 1:40.07 in her first run, placing 18th, but earned 11th place in her second run when she finished in 1:37.03.
While she said she is happy with her result, Fesai said she has a few techniques to work on.
“I could have generated more speed going onto the flat part of the course and leaned into my turn a bit smoother and quicker,” Fesai said. “I could have also dug my edge deeper on the icy parts of the course.”
With only one race under her belt, senior Tori Van Vleck placed last, finishing in 2:04.06 and 2:03.48. Van Vleck added that she hasn’t skied much in the past few years.
“I didn’t wipe out or disqualify, so that’s always good!” Van Vleck said. “Once I get used to racing through gates, I’d like to work on speed and efficiency.”
While Van Vleck said the course was more straightforward than the team’s last GS route, she said it was about three times longer and consisted of two black diamond runs.
For one racer, this course wasn’t new. Fesai said she used to race on it when she was on the Squaw Valley Ski Team, which she left about four years ago.
“It was so great to be back on it again after so many years,” Fesai said. “The terrain had lots of hills and was more designed for a super giant slalom, but we made it work. The challenging part for me, however, was that I hadn’t raced that course in so long, and it took me some time to get my racing groove back on. But once I got it, the course was pretty easy.”
Kreps said the course was created much longer than some racers were used to due to the good snow.
“It was what a giant slalom is supposed to be, so that made it really fun,” Kreps said.
The freshman skiers agreed the snow was soft and smooth but got icier near the end of the race.
“The course was so much better than the one at Boreal (Mountain Resort),” Fesai said. “It was a little icy at some parts, but we managed to keep our edge and run through the course smoothly.”
Fesai added that everyone is improving with each race.
“I’m so proud that even though we are the smallest team, we are one of the strongest and are all there for each other,” Fesai said.
The team’s next race is Friday, Feb. 1, at Alpine Meadows.
—By Larkin Barnard-Bahn