Because of weekend storm forecasts, the ski and snowboard team raced in two competitions at Alpine Meadows on Feb. 8: the scheduled giant slalom (GS) and the slalom previously programmed for Feb. 11. The added race elongated the competition by about 2 1/2 hours, according to freshman Hailey Fesai.
“Everyone was ready for a great race day!” coach Jason Kreps said. “It was snowing lightly all day.”
In fact, Fesai said the cold was the biggest challenge.
“It was absolutely freezing, and even with five layers on, our toes were still frozen, and most of our faces were very numb,” Fesai said. “But we survived, thankfully, with the help of extra jackets, hand warmers, team huddles and hugs.”
In the frosty morning’s GS, team captain senior Luca Procida placed first of 33 skiers, finishing his runs in 29.51 seconds and 29.19.
In his first run of the afternoon’s slalom, Procida finished in 43.22, placing second of 33 skiers. However, in his second run, Procida hit a rut, skidding past a gate, and had to hike around the gate, finishing the run in sixth place in 53.47.
“The snow got really firm at the end of the day because it got a lot colder, (which made) a rut in the course,” Procida said.
“There were a lot of disqualifications because of that part, and there were a few parts of the slalom run that kids were affected by, too, because of the snow or because they were being really aggressive.”
In fact, nine male skiers were disqualified in that GS, according to Christy Procida, Luca’s mother.
Despite the setback in his second run, Procida finished third overall.
Senior Nate Jakobs finished his GS runs in 35.08 and 34.45, placing 15th. In the slalom, Jakobs finished 12th in 53.18 and 53.55. Jakobs said that while the GS course was “fun but very easy,” the slalom course was “tough.”
Sophomore Ming Zhu placed 25th of 26 snowboarders in GS, finishing in 53.44 and one minute, 0.13 seconds. Zhu then placed 24th with times of 1:08:97 and 1:10:75.
“I felt a little uncertain going into the race, and that feeling didn’t change since I’m still unfamiliar with racing,” Zhu said. “I didn’t perform as well as I could. I slid out on my edge at the beginning of the first race, and I could’ve avoided that by keeping my center of gravity low. I need to work on continuous carving and timing my turns right.”
He added that the firm, icy snow and his stance caused him to occasionally lose control.
Sophomore Bri Davies finished ninth of 29 skiers with times of 35.40 and 34.45. She kept the same placement in her slalom, finishing in 52.40 and 52.66.
“The courses were flatter than others, so it was harder for me to get my speed up and keep my speed throughout,” Davies said.
Placing 14th in both races, Fesai finished her GS runs in 36.36 and 36.38 and her slalom in 54.64 and 56.83. Fesai said she needs to work on gaining momentum quickly.
“My legs were getting tired from all the back-to-back racing, and I was also very cold, which made it harder to function,” Fesai said.
Senior Tori Van Vleck didn’t compete because she was moving, Colin Usrey had the sophomore moratorium, and freshman Miles Morrow didn’t go for family reasons.
The team travels to Boreal Mountain Resort on Friday, Feb. 15, for the final Central Division I league race.