The Octagon

Soft snow at state competition handicaps skiers (slideshow included)

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Photo by Christy Procida
Team captain junior Luca Procida, coach Jason Kreps and freshman Colin Usrey at the summit of Mammoth Mountain, at an elevation of 11,053 feet.

When team captain junior Luca Procida and freshman Colin Usrey arrived at Mammoth Mountain on March 3 to ski and train, the mountain was closed due to an avalanche. And because of the soft snow, the training scheduled for the next day was cancelled too.

“I knew that under these conditions, with the reported new snow of up to 7 feet, that the (course) snow was going to be soft,” Procida said.

Since a training course was unable to be set on March 4, Procida and Usrey skied and trained on their own for the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation’s state championships at Mammoth Mountain on March 5-6, according to Procida.

But problems with the snow conditions didn’t stop there.

During the races, the snow was soft and not packed down well, which Usrey said significantly influenced his skiing.

In his slalom race, Usrey finished his first run in 1 minute and 10.60 seconds and his second run in 1 minute and 16.40 seconds, placing 64 of 68 skiers.

Usrey improved in his giant slalom (GS) race, completing his first run in 49.82 seconds and his second run in 47.59 seconds, finishing 63 of 71.

Both courses contained numerous ruts according to Usrey, who ran into some of them.

Usrey said he wants to improve his aggressiveness.

“(Making sharper turns and) getting closer and knocking (the) gate out – that’s being aggressive,” he said.

Procida also attributed his slower time in the second slalom run to the soft snow conditions.

I finished the first run in 15th place, just a few tenths (of seconds) behind the leaders, and I felt confident going into the second run,” Procida said.

“Unfortunately, about a third of the way on the course, I had an issue with a gate that was buried in the snow and had to hike back to the gate and lost considerable time.”

Although the gate hindered his race time, Procida didn’t let it get in the way of his finish.

“He could have skied off to a referee and would have been granted a rerun,” coach Jason Kreps said, “but he continued and finished.”

Procida finished his slalom race 31 of 68 skiers with times of 45.11 seconds and 1 minute and 3.90 seconds. In his GS race, he placed 23 of 71 with times of 37.50 seconds and 36.73 seconds.

Although he was disappointed with his results, Procida said he was proud of earning second place for boys’ skiing in Central Division I.

Procida attended the awards ceremony on March 6 with approximately 200 other Californian students.  

The team placed 15 of 24 for men’s ski teams.

By Larkin Barnard-Bahn

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