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Last April, Hilary Turner tore the anterior crucial ligament in her left knee during a slalom training run for a race in Mammoth, Calif. The injury kept her from competing with the state champion Juneau-Douglas High School softball team as she spent the next five months in rehabilitation.
This weekend at the Alaska Marine Lines Race Series at Eaglecrest Ski Area, that injury seemed like a faded memory.
Turner didn't lose a race, sweeping the super-G, giant slalom and slalom to win the overall title for the second year in a row. Turner's time in the super-G was a full five seconds faster than JSC's Heidi Denton, who placed second to Turner in every event, and was the second fastest time overall -- male or female.
``She decided to ski like she knows how to ski,'' said Juneau Ski Club assistant coach Jeffrey Johns. ``She knows what she's capable of once she puts her mind to it, and that's exactly what she did.''
Turner said the only time she thinks about the injury is when she's free-skiing in heavy snow. On the race course she just concentrates on going fast.
``I don't even think about it when I'm racing,'' said Turner, who placed fourth in the Junior Olympic giant slalom last year in Mammoth. ``It doesn't bother me too much.''
Former JSC member Wyatt Fournier won the super-G and GS, and was second in the slalom to capture the men's overall title. Fournier is a member of the Oregon State ski team and is taking a semester off to work and save money, Johns said.
JSC member Corey Denton shook off a non-finish in the super-G to win the slalom and was less than a second behind Fournier in the GS.
``He's really been training well in the slalom,'' Johns said of Denton. ``He's got really quick feet and that's what it takes in the slalom. He's going to really concentrate on the slalom and see what he can do.''
For the first time in at least four years, the super-G course ran from the top of the Ptarmigan Chair Lift - nearly twice as long as a super-G course that JSC members raced on last weekend. Skiers reached speeds of up to 50 mph on that course.
Eaglecrest snow cat operators began preparing the course last Monday by digging a platform just below the weather tower above Sailor's Rock. Johns said the added length made for a technically-demanding ride.
``It almost runs the whole length of the Ptarmigan Chair lift,'' Johns said. ``With that type of terrain and that narrow of a run, it's one of the toughest super-G's on the west coast. In a nutshell it's like riding a roller coaster for the first 15 gates.'' The 30 or so racers from Alyeska Ski Club were left with one coach after avalanches on either side of Girdwood closed the Seward highway last week. Johns said the delay meant Alyeska coaches missed the super-G training runs on Thursday.
The AML Series is one of two Junior Olympic qualifying races. Next Sunday JSC members leave for the second race, the week-long Alyeska Cup in Girdwood.