It was a massive undertaking organizing roughly 600 racers for alpine events at Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain on Saturday. The planned chaos could not have been possible without the help of the community, volunteers, and the coaches. Paul Jenick, more commonly known as PJ, is the Alpine Competition Director for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV). When the number of racers kept pouring in, amounting to more than 400 racers, for the annual GS Spectacular, PJ knew he was in for a full day of detailed organization at Beaver Creek. Meanwhile, over on Golden Peak, some of the best FIS racers in the region came out to compete in the final day of the Surefoot Championships. While PJ was keeping everyone on point, SSCV’s Events Manager Euginnia Manseau made sure all of the appropriate pieces seamlessly fell into place. Manseau has put in tireless hours this season making sure alpine racers in the Vail Valley can focus on what they do best at these competitions. Their incredible organizational tactics were not in vain as dozens of local athletes performed well on the soft spring snow.
The U16 girls kicked things off in Beaver Creek with a SSCV podium sweep. The U16 racers were competing against a huge group in the giant slalom against up and coming U14 racers, as well as athletes from The University of New Mexico and Denver.
Heidi Livran placed first for the U16’s followed by Rachael Desrochers in second, and Abigail Murer in third. Impressively the group skied to fourth, fifth, and sixth overall against much older racers. The trio has undoubtedly had an incredible season. They were recently chosen to compete for the Rocky Mountain Division in Nationals in Utah this past week. SSCV’s Katie Talbot skied well and placed first among the U18 racers followed by Leah Newton in second.
Some of the older male competitors raced in Vail in the morning at the Surefoot Championships, and then quickly grabbed their GS skis to race in the GS Spectacular at Beaver Creek. Szwebel had an impressive day where he finished in second among the U18 racers during the Surefoot slalom race. After the morning competition, Szwebel skied to a fifth place overall at the GS spectacular giving him a win in the U18 age group. Szwebel skied well in both runs and ended up beating numerous collegiate level athletes. In second place for the U18 class was SSCV’s Bryan Bailey.
The U16 racers held their own against a difficult field in the GS Spectacular with Logan Martin in second and Luke Vickerman in third. Just behind Vickerman was Bridger Gile, winning the U14 age class. Colby Lange skied well and ended in third among the U14 racers. Although not racing for points, the younger U12 and younger athletes from the Vail Valley did incredibly well at the GS Spectacular as well.
With the Surefoot Championships wrapped up, Sunday’s GS Spectacular races took place on Golden Peak for the older crew. Taylor Shiffrin skied well throughout the weekend and placed first among the U21 racers in Sunday’s competition. The University of Denver athlete also trains with SSCV throughout the year. Szwebel was at it again on Sunday with another first place finish in the U18 class, making it a fantastic weekend for the aspiring racer. Bailey finished strong on Sunday finishing just behind Szwebel in second. Martin placed second again on Sunday with Paul Cuthbertson nipping at his heels in third for the U16 class. Lange had a fantastic day of racing finishing first for the U14 class even as the snow came in to slow things down. Following Lange was Gile in second.
The SSCV girls had an outstanding performance on Sunday. Erika McCormick skied to a second place overall finish in run one and a third place in run two. McCormick beat University of New Mexico racer Kate Williams by almost a full second, ending in second place overall and first for the U18 girls. Following McCormick was Leah Newton in second and Katie Talbot in third. The U16 trio was at it again on Sunday with Desrochers in first, Livran in second, and Murer in third for the U16 class. Michaela Strizencova skied to a solid second place finish for SSCV followed by Dylan Fiore in third.
It was a huge weekend for many of these racers and none of it would have been possible if it weren’t for the strategic planning put forth by the volunteers and race organizers.