giant slalom





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Locals Take Firsts in Giant Slalom
Friday, March 6, 1998
Whitefish, MT

photo Cody Thompson
Whitefish local Cody Thompson, in her first ever nationals competition, came out of nowhere to take first place in the women's giant slalom today in the first of three races this weekend. Reid Sabin, also from Whitefish, took first place in the men's race.

photo Reed Sabin
Sabin finished with 121.16 points after two clean runs with no penalty seconds — an awesome accomplishment considering the majority of expert racers sacrifice technique points when going for speed. Jeff Elliot was the only other competitor who skied two clean runs and he placed 16th.

photo Pat Ledger
Chris Rice came in four one-hundredths of a second behind Sabin with a final score of 121.20. Though Rice's raw time was almost five seconds faster than the winner's, Rice was docked five seconds: four one-second penalties in the first run, and a one second penalty in the second run, putting him in second place.

Thompson, a recent convert to telemarking from alpine skiing, ripped it up today earning top honors in the women's race. Other women who rocked on this GS course were Lori Stahler, who took second and Carole Hill, who finished third. Chery Vanderhorn (CDVH) from Steven's Pass, Washington placed fourth.

More of Whitefish's posse of locals fared well, with homeboys Glenn Gustafson and Neil Persons placing 7th and 8th, respectively.

Today's GS course included a nordic-style jump in the top portion of the run, followed by a few more gates, then a cat track roller and two delay gates en route to a shallower section before the finish line.

The sketchiest part of the course was right after the jump, where racers had two or three gates to recover from a telemark landing before going over the cat track roller. Many skiers who hit the jump too fast were penalized for flat-tracking, or pausing briefly in a parallel turn on the way to the next telemark turn, which is illegal in competition. Many were smooth, but, according to United States Telemark Skiing Association (USTSA) rules, feet must be at least a boot length apart. Loosing your balance through this section meant a penalty point for bad transition, which socked many of the competitors (with the exceptions of Sabin and Elliot in the expert class).

The course was reset after the first run for round two, in which there were barely any turns after the jump, turning it into more of a super G speed course than a giant slalom. Halsey Hewson said the person with the biggest kahunas (non-biased expression meaning nerve) would win as he slid down during course inspection. Hewson placed third after taking a break from the racing circuit last year.

Telemark racing scores are based on raw times, minus one second penalties for gate, boot and/or jump deductions if skiers do not adhere to the USTSA style guidelines. Listen to course-side commentary on judging criteria by gatekeeper and style patroller Steve French.

Tomorrow, the classic race will separate the men from the boyz and women from the grrls. Some have mentioned they hope they don't cough up a lung — those who don't stand a good chance of winning.

Michelle Quigley, Mountain Zone Staff

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