Sunday, March 31, 2013

Norpine Challenge

When I was growing up, the New Hampshire high school sports association (or whatever they called themselves) had a Skimeister competition as part of the high school state skiing championships.  In those days, you skied a slalom on Friday morning, a giant slalom in the afternoon, a cross-country race Saturday morning and ski jumping under the lights in the evening. I remember being real proud that I was pretty good at all four events.  But as the skiing disciplines have become more specialized over the years, it's gotten so the cross-country skiers aren't strong enough or skilled enough to compete with the alpiners, the alpiners aren't fit enough to keep up with the cross-country skiers, and nobody's skinny enough to fly like the ski jumpers. And with the specialization of our sport into its different disciplines, you rarely see a skimeister competition any more.

But for us on the UAA Ski Team it's that time of year again. The college racing season is over, the "spring skiing" season is just beginning, and it's time again to find out who's the best overall skier on the UAA Ski Team - UAA's "Skimeister".  Of course, the biggest challenge of all is for the coaches to figure out the appropriate time penalty from the slalom to determine start times for the pursuit-start cross-country race.  This year the coaches included algebra, trigonometry, and even a little multiple-regression analysis into their calculations to come up with the cross-country start times. And after the event, they were already talking about new and improved math techniques for next year's calculations.

This year, there was all kinds of drama in the snow as Lukas crashed headfirst through the slalom course's final gate during his practice run. Last year's winner, Lasse, didn't know the starting wand didn't work so he waited about five seconds after the starter's "GO" before starting his run.  That didn't help his alpine time any.  Anna found out the hard way that the heels aren't locked down on cross-country skis, which provided a pretty entertaining ragdoll crash. And Cedric started bonking and wondering if he was almost at the finish line when he was just 100 meters into the cross-country race.

Anyway, here are some pictures that Viktor's sister, Elin (visiting from Sweden this week) took during the event.  Thanks, Elin!

Moments earlier, that red panel in Niko's hand was hanging properly on that red slalom gate.  Hey Lukas - you're supposed to go AROUND the gate, not THROUGH it!

Nobody told Etienne that you're allowed to get closer to the gate than that.  Nice high line, though.

Anna Berecz demonstrating how it's done.

Earlier, I had a caption here that said this is Lasse.  This isn't Lasse. It's Viktor.  But Lasse's a good alpiner too.

Sean Alexander trying to squeeze more speed out of a flat course.

Patricia.  All kids in Switzerland need to be able to ski the Lauberhorn downhill course in less than five minutes in order to graduate from high school. Pati's obviously pretty comfortable on any pair of skis.

Niko.  He skated the first half of the slalom course.


Coach Andrew.  The bad thing about twin-tip telemark skis is they don't arc turns like a race ski. The good thing, though, is you can skate any damn time you want.

Davis.  A thin man on fat skis.  Aggressive as always. I love the intensity!

Hey Cedric, that's not really how we do it.

Sean in his element, coming off a downhill with speed.  Yeah, he's right at home here...
He might have been more at home with a couple slalom gates on the downhills.

There are no words...

Here's Coach Andrew passing Lukas on a downhill. Lukas, you had to know this picture was going on the blog...

This is before Vanessa took off her skis and walked.

It was a warm afternoon.  Too hot for Davis.  Or was he trying to go "camo".  He blends in well with the white snowy landscape.

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