Column issued March 29, 2021 – It was a busy and exciting week up at Golden Peak with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosting the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Rocky Mountain Division SYNC Cup Championships. As the culmination of a season-long series, it was fantastic to see the level of coordination from Vail Mountain and the SSCV operations and event staff working alongside parent volunteers that made all five days of competition possible. With such a quality venue and surface beneath their skis, SSCV alpine racers showcased the depth of the team, taking five event wins and 17 spots atop the podium for a total of 50 top ten spots across ten races. I often discuss with parents the importance of the process during their child’s progression in ski racing, as evidenced by the outcome for so many of our athletes at this SYNC championship series.
On day one of the series, SSCV women secured nine of the top ten spots between two slalom races. SSCV’s Phoebe Heaydon and Viktoria Zaytseva started the day off strong, slipping their way through the gates into first and second, respectively. In the second race, Zaytseva went home with bronze while Heaydon stood just beyond the podium in fourth.
SSCV women kicked off the giant slalom races of the next day in a big way with a massive podium sweep and a total of twelve top ten finishes between the two giant slalom races. Topping the podium in the first race was Kyleena Lathram followed by Frankie Marston in second and Heaydon in third. With quick edges and a great line, Lathram scored another gold medal in the second race, this time with teammate Nicole Begue taking silver.
The super-G races of the next day marked the final day of competition for the women and the first day of competition for men. With only one run to get it done, SSCV women took all but four of the top ten spots. Begue led the charge down the course in first with Marston coming in close behind to score her second silver medal of the week. SSCV men took to the course in the afternoon hoping to set themselves up for the remainder of the competition. Collectively, they sped into five of the top ten spots and Hunter Salani went home with the overall event win.
The next day, SSCV men locked down 11 of the top ten times and two podium positions between two giant slalom races. In their first race of the day, Trent Pennington chased after Garret Driller to land in second. Salani, with great sweeping speed in his turns, charged up to third in the second race.
In the final races of the week, two SSCV athletes, Carson Hume and Julian Arthur, maneuvered their way into a tie for third place in the first slalom race. The second saw their teammate, Hunter Salani grabbing silver for the day.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort of the entire team,” shared SSCV men’s head U16 coach, Ian Dunlop when asked about the team’s performance. “Our 2006s showed great depth at the top of the results and our 2005s built on their strong performances from RC Champs, especially in the giant slalom.”
The results of this week are not only a testament to the hard work and dedication of these athletes, but they also signal the start of a new progression into the next season. The future is bright for these athletes, and I’m excited to see where they go from here. You can find full results at https://livetiming.usskiandsnowboard.org/