Heidi Denton won her third race of the week on Saturday, leading 14 Juneau Ski Club members who qualified for the Junior Olympics Western Regionals based on a week-long ski meet at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood.
Denton, who competes in the J-1 age group (born in 1984-85), was the top female skier in Saturday's second Super G race. The Juneau-Douglas High School senior posted a single-run time of 1 minute, 3.36 seconds to beat a pair of J-3 (born 1988-89) skiers from Alyeska Ski Club, Erica Durtschi in 1:04.08 and Brittany Mumma in 1:04.58.
Saturday's second Super G race was part of the Alaska Marine Lines Ski Series that was moved from Juneau's Eaglecrest Ski Area to Alyeska when there wasn't enough snow in Juneau to handle the races. The first Super G of the day was part of the Alyeska Cup Ski Series originally scheduled for Girdwood this week.
Denton had Juneau's best performance in the first Super G, too, finishing third overall with a time of 1:08.67. She finished behind Mumma in 1:06.94 and Durtschi in 1:07.19. Juneau Ski Club member Kristen Brandner, a J-2 skier (born in 1986-87), took fifth place overall in 1:10.53 and was the only other Juneau skier to crack the top-five finishers.
Elliot Daniels, an adult skier from Alyeska Ski Club, was the top male skier in both Super G runs, posting a time of 1:01.72 for the first Super G and a 58.81 for the second race. No Juneau skiers finished in the top five of either race.
The two race series are used to select Team Alaska for the Junior Olympics Western Regionals, so when the AML Series couldn't be held in Juneau the events were combined to give skiers as many races as possible to use for qualifying. With the combined events, the skiers were able to salvage eight of their 10 scheduled races. Each skier's best five performances scored points for team selection, with the other three races serving as tie-breakers.
Even though Juneau had minimal snow, JSC head coach Jayme Johns said he was pleasantly surprised by his team being able to qualify 14 of its 28 skiers for the Junior Olympics. Alyeska Ski Club of Girdwood qualified 19 skiers and Moose Mountain Alpine Sports of Fairbanks had two make the Junior Olympics. Juneau Ski Club had no J-4 skiers (born in 1990-91) qualify for the Junior Olympics since most of the younger JSC skiers returned to Juneau for school commitments.
"I knew we'd take a couple of spots, but not that many," said Johns, who coaches the team with his twin brother Jeffrey. "It makes me wonder what we could have done if we'd had some snow to train on. We tried to take as much as we could, and it was a huge eye-opener for the coaches to see us take that many spots."
With a limited amount of snow, the Juneau Ski Club had to be innovative in its training.
Johns said the team spent a lot of time hiking to the top of Eaglecrest Ski Area looking for usable patches of snow. When Juneau's temperatures dropped well below freezing last month, Eaglecrest workers created some manmade snow near the bottom of the Platter Pull and Ptarmigan ski runs. The ski club was able to fashion a short slalom training run at the base of the ski hill.
"We've been hiking a lot, and we had all the kids up looking (for snow)," Johns said. "We trained a lot right at the bottom. We used that (the slalom run) as much as we could."
Johns said it helped that the courses set at Alyeska for the races were new ones the Girdwood and Fairbanks clubs hadn't been able to train on before the Juneau skiers arrived. Also, the Juneau skiers arrived two days before the start of the two-race series so they could become familiar with the mountain.
Denton, who was the top point scorer, led a group of four Juneau J-1 or J-2 skiers into the five Team Alaska spots - with Brandner, Julia Nave and Elise Wahto also making the cut. The only non-JSC female skier to qualify in the J-1/J-2 age group was Annie Studer of Moose Mountain.
Juneau had five of the nine J-1 or J-2 male skiers on Team Alaska, with J.C. Grochow, Richard Isett, Nick Yankee, Mark Harmon and Joshua Young all making the cut. They were joined by Alyeska's Casey (the age group's top point scorer), John Love, Cody Rice and Nick Therrien.
Three of the nine male J-3 skiers on Team Alaska are from Juneau Ski Club, led by high-point scorer Christopher Hinkley, runner-up Zachary Young and Donny Peterson.
Two of the six female J-3 skiers to make Team Alaska were from Juneau - Gabrielle Wahto and Kayla Harmon. The other J-3 skiers to make the team were from Alyeska. The three J-4 female skiers to make the cut were all from Alyeska.
The J-1 and J-2 skiers from Team Alaska will compete March 17-24 at Mammoth Mountain, Calif. The J-3 and J-4 skiers will compete March 20-23 at Big Sky, Mont.
Complete results of all the Alyeska Cup and AML Series races can be found at http://alyeskaskiclub.org (scroll down to the results drop menu, then look for the eight races).
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALYESKA CUP/AML SERIES
Results from the final two races of the Alyeska Cup and Alaska Marine Lines Series, a pair of Super G races held Saturday at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood. The two races were part of a week-long series used to determine Team Alaska for the Junior Olympics Western Regionals that will take place in late March at Mammoth Mountain in California (J-1 and J-2 age groups) and at Big Sky Resort in Montana (J-3 and J-4 age groups). The skiers were scored on a points system, with their best five results out of eight races being used to determine which skiers qualified for the Junior Olympics.
Team Alaska Junior Olympics qualifiers
J-1/J-2 boys - Rory Casey (Alyeska Ski Club/ASC); John Love (ASC); Cody Rice (ASC); J.C. Grochow (Juneau Ski Club/JSC); Richard Isett Jr. (JSC); Nick Yankee (JSC); Mark Harmon (JSC); Nick Therrien (ASC); Joshua Young (JSC).
J-1/J-2 girls - Heidi Denton (JSC); Annie Studer (Moose Mountain Alpine Sports/MMAS); Kristen Brandner (JSC); Julia Nave (JSC); Elise Wahto (JSC).
J-3 boys - Christoper Hinkley (JSC); Zachary Young (JSC); Lucas Tanaka (ASC); Shaun Poirot (ASC); Donny Peterson (JSC); David Bacon (ASC); Nathan Oliver (ASC); Desi Sherwood (ASC); Chris French (ASC).
J-3 girls - Brittany Mumma (ASC); Melinda Bartel (ASC); Gabrielle Wahto (JSC); Erica Durtschi (ASC); Kayla Harmon (JSC); Jessica Stewart (ASC).
J-4 boys - Eric Hauer (MMAS); Curtis Kelly (ASC); Kevin Jensen (ASC).
J-4 girls - Alannah Rice (ASC); Dana Tower (ASC); Kirsten Swanson (ASC).
Alyeska Cup Super G No. 1
Top-five female finishers overall - 1. Brittany Mumma (ASC), J-3, 1 minute, 6.94 seconds; 2. Erica Durtschi (ASC), J-3, 1:07.19; 3. Heidi Denton (JSC), J-1, 1:08.67; 4. Melinda Bartel (ASC), J-3, 1:09.20; 5. Kristen M. Brandner (JSC), J-2, 1:10.53. Other JSC skiers: 6. Julia Nave, J-2, 1:10.62; 9. Kayla Harmon, J-3, 1:10.77; 11. Elise Wahto, J-2, 1:11.47; 12. Akemi Kunibe, J-1, 1:13.45; 21. Gabrielle Vance, J-3, 1:18.09; 23. Sara Cohen, J-3, 1:19.99. DNF: Gabrielle Wahto, J-3.
Top-five male finishers - 1. Elliot G. Daniels (ASC), MID, 1:01.72; 2. Mark Bergstedt (ASC), MAS, 1:04.03; 3. Rory C. Casey (ASC), J-2, 1:05.06; 4. Cody C. Rice (ASC), J-1, 1:06.06; 5. Nick N. Therrien (ASC), J-2, 1:06.36. JSC skiers: 8. Christopher Hinkley, J-3, 1:07.48; 11. Richard Isett Jr., J-1, 1:09.54; 12. Nick Yankee, J-1, 1:09.59; 13. J.C. Grochow, J-1, 1:09.66; 14. Kyle White, J-1, 1:10.37; 15. Zachary Young, J-3, 1:10.45; 16. Don Meiners, J-2, 1:10.89; 18. Joshua Young, J-2, 1:12.12; 20. Gerrad Craig, J-2, 1:12.60; 25. Pat Shanley, J-2, 1:13.50; 27. Donny Peterson, J-3, 1:13.77; 30. Mark Harmon, J-1, 1:14.88; 35. Tom Meiners, J-3, 1:17.54.
AML Series Super G No. 2
Top-five female finishers - 1. Heidi Denton (JSC), J-1, 1:03.36; 2. Erica Durtschi (ASC), J-3, 1:04.08; 3. Brittany Mumma (ASC), J-3, 1:04.58; 4. Melinda Bartel (ASC), J-3, 1:05.49; 5. Annie Studer (MMAS), J-1, 1:06.55. Other JSC skiers: 6. Gabrielle Wahto, J-3, 1:06.64; 7. Kristen M. Brandner, J-2, 1:06.85; 9. Akemi Kunibe, J-1, 1:07.55; 10. Kayla Harmon, J-3, 1:07.60; 13. Julia Nave, J-2, 1:09.17; 14. Elise Wahto, J-2, 1:10.02; 22. Gabrielle Vance, J-3, 1;15.94; 25. Sara Cohen, J-3, 1:18.57.
Top-five male finishers - 1. Elliot G. Daniels (ASC), MID, 58.81; 2. Eric Heil (ASC), MAS, 59.89; 3. Rory C. Casey (ASC), J-2, 1:00.99; 4. Mack Bergstedt (ASC), MAS, 1:01.13; 5. Cody C. Rice (ASC), 1:01.16. JSC skiers: 7. Richard Isett Jr., J-1, 1:02.34; 9. Mark Harmon, J-1, 1:03.37; 11. J.C. Grochow, J-1, 1:04.11; 12. Don Meiners, J-2, 1:04.74; 14. Nick Yankee, J-1, 1:05.33; 15. Zachary Young, J-3, 1:05.79; 19. Pat Shanley, J-2, 1:07.19; 20. Kyle White, J-1, 1:07.39; 21. Joshua Young, J-2, 1:08.05; 22. Gerrad Craig, J-2, 1:08.24; 28. Donny Peterson, J-3, 1:10.12; 35. Tom Meiners, J-3, 1:14.09. DNF: Christopher Hinkley, J-3.