Local trio of skiers strong in Lower 48

Tompkins, Fischer, Beedle record best finishes of season

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2002

It was a good weekend for two local skiers, while another local skier had a good start but bad finish to his weekend as the Juneau trio competed in meets in the Lower 48.

U.S. Paralympic Ski Team member Joe Tompkins found the podium three times as he competed in the Eastern Championships disabled ski meet in Waterville Valley, N.H. Meanwhile, Sarah Fischer posted her best finish ever in the Nor-Am Cup Super Series, posting three top-20 finishes in four downhill and Super G races in Aspen, Colo.

And U.S. Telemark Ski Team member Matt Beedle posted a 15th place in the sprint classic race in a series of World Cup races in Big Mountain/Whitefish, Mont. Unfortunately, Beedle crashed and broke his left thumb later in the series and had to have surgery over the weekend.

For Tompkins, the weekend saw his best results of the season as he posted one third- and two second-place finishes among monoskiers. In the overall standings, which included several able-bodied skiers with handicapped time adjustments for the disabled skiers, Tompkins posted two fourth- and an eighth-place finish.

Tompkins opened the series on Jan. 30 by finishing fourth overall and third among monoskiers in a foggy giant slalom race, which was changed from the scheduled Super G race because of a lack of snow. Tompkins posted a two-run raw time of 2 minutes, 59.66 seconds, which was adjusted to 2:29.05. Christopher Devlin-Young, a U.S. Paralympic Ski Team member from Maine, won the race with a total time of 2:29.73 and an adjusted time of 2:04.37. Tompkins said the course was so foggy racers couldn't see more than three gates ahead of where they were.

In another giant slalom the next day, after a foot of snow fell overnight, Tompkins took fourth overall and second among monoskiers with a two-run raw time of 2:43.84, which was adjusted to 2:15.92. Devlin-Young also won this race, posting a raw time of 2:21.77 and an adjusted time of 1:57.75. Tompkins said the new snow wasn't the usual dry powder common to the Northeast, but was the wet, sticky powder common to Southeast Alaska.

In Friday's slalom race, held when the weather changed to ice storm conditions, Tompkins finished eighth overall and second among monoskiers in a two-run raw time of 2:36.42 and an adjusted time of 1:57.80. The winner was able-bodied skier Timothy Paul Mitchell, who had a raw and adjusted time of 1:23.55. Devlin-Young was the top disabled skier, taking fourth overall with a raw time of 2:07.39 and an adjusted time of 1:36.26. Tompkins said the resort had to close the lifts just after the race ended because the cables would have slipped loose due to the ice if they'd stayed running.

"I could have done a little better," Tompkins said. "But I think I could have done better at every race. I was three-for-three on podiums, so I can't complain. It was fun, and I always try to have fun. I've been going there for five years now."

Tompkins said he plans to continue training in Winter Park, Colo., then will race again in two weeks at the Columbia Crest races in Winter Park. After that he heads to a U.S. Paralympic Team training camp in Park City, Utah. Then he heads to Kimberly, British Columbia, for a series of Disabled World Cup races before the Winter Paralympics take place in March in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In Aspen, Fischer opened the Nor-Am Cup Super Series with an 18th place in Friday's downhill race. Fischer, who trains with the Park City Developmental Team, posted a time of 1:23.42. Kelly Vanderbeek of Canada clocked a 1:20.98 to win the race, which is part of an international series for developing racers who are a level below the World Cup.

On Saturday, Fischer posted her best downhill finish as she took 12th place in 1:22.49. Sophie Splawinski of Canada won the race in 1:21.70. The two finishes put Fischer in 14th place in the overall downhill standings with 34 points, but Vanderbeek won the title with 59 points.

On Sunday, the races changed to Super G and Fischer didn't finish the first run. Fischer's Park City teammate, Lauren Van Ness, won the race in 1:22.46. On Monday, the series concluded with another Super G and Fischer took 16th place with a time of 1:29.20. Vanderbeek won the race in 1:24.96.

Hilary McCloy of Bethel, Maine, claimed the overall points title in the 12-race series with 265 points. Fischer's point total wasn't available, but she wasn't listed among the top-15 finishers in the overall standings.

According to Fischer's mother, Betsy, Fischer will take a three-week break in Park City before hitting the road again. Fischer's next major races should be the U.S. Nationals in Squaw Valley, Calif.

At Big Mountain/Whitefish, Beedle opened the week-long World Cup Telemark race series with his best World Cup finish of the season. Beedle, who is a graduate student at the University of Colorado, took 15th place in Thursday's sprint classic race with a two-run time of 2:51.07. The sprint classic is a shorter version of the Telemark classic race that features giant slalom sections, banked turns, rollers, some skate sprints and a Nordic distance jump where competitors catch air for about 75 feet. Reid Sabin of Kalispell, Mont., won the sprint classic in 2:43.14.

But luck wasn't with Beedle in Friday's giant slalom race, which is a speed event that includes a mandatory jumping section. Beedle crashed during the race, which was won by Mans Aberg of Sweden, and broke his thumb. Big Mountain Resort spokesman Brian Schott said Beedle had to have surgery and now has a cast on his hand.

Beedle wasn't able to race in Sunday's and Monday's classic races, which were won by Eirik Rykus. But today is an off day and Beedle's mother, Margie, said Beedle plans to try and race in Wednesday's giant slalom and Thursday's sprint classic events.

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