The University of Colorado alpine ski team traveled to Alaska to compete in a weekend jam-packed with racing.
Racing began on Wednesday with the Seawolf Invitational, where the men’s and women’s giant slalom races took place.
The Buffs recorded two top-ten finishes. On the women’s side, sophomore Tonje Trulsrud finished in sixth place, the top spot for Colorado. This was her a seventh straight top ten finish this year.
CUs other top women’s finishers in giant slalom were sophomore Nora Christensen and senior Katie Hostetler, who finished in 20th and 29th place, respectively.
The men were led by sophomore Max Luukko, who placed fifth. This was Luukko’s fifth top-five finish of the season and fourth in the giant slalom. CUs men’s giant slalom team finished fifth overall at the end of day one, while the women’s team sat in sixth.
As a team, the Buffs finished in sixth place behind Montana State, Utah, Denver, New Mexico and Alaska Anchorage, heading into day two of competition.
After bad weather forced Thursday’s slalom race to be cancelled, the team pulled back-to-back slalom races on Friday. Despite the demands of the day, Colorado preformed well under the conditions.
Freshman David Ketterer flew from Austria to Alaska, where he had been competing in his first World Cup event. He rejoined his fellow Buffs on the slopes in a big way, finishing second overall in slalom.
Luukko also had a top performance for CU, finishing fourth. Sophomore Ola Johansen, who had not raced since the beginning of the month, made a strong return to the slopes, finishing in a solid seventh place.
The women’s team also began their day with top performances. Sophomore Nora Christensen recorded her first career podium, placing third. She has managed two other top-five finishes this season but was unable to break into the top three. Hostetler finished in 17th, followed by Trulsrud in 18th.
The performance from the CU men helped boost the Buffs in the overall team rankings. Colorado now sits in fourth place behind Montana State, Utah and Denver heading into the nordic portion of the invitational set to begin later this week.
As the first round of slalom rapped up at the Seawolf Invitational, the Buffs prepared for a second round of slalom racing to kickoff the UAA Invitational Friday afternoon.
Ketterer dominated in the men’s slalom, winning the event by half a minute over New Mexico’s Vegard Busnegdal. Ketterer’s win is his fourth slalom victory this season. He is currently tied for the most slalom race victories in a season by a men’s alpine skier at CU. The record had been previously set by John Skajem in 1986 and 1987.
Luukko had another strong finish, skiing into fifth place for the Buffs. Senior Roger Carry place 21st.
The women’s team struggled in the final slalom of the weekend, only managing to post a 16th place with with Hostetler. Freshman Megan McGrew was the Buffs’ only other finisher, ranking 21st.
Colorado finished out day one of the UAA invitational in fifth behind New Mexico, Denver, Utah and Montana State.
Saturday kicked off day two of UAA competition with Luukko placing third, the top finisher for the men’s team. Ketterer found his ski legs once again, finishing in fifth. Johansen slid into thirteenth to cap off the top men’s skiers.
Trulsrud skied his way into a sixth place finish for the women. Colorado’s other finishers were Hostetler and McGrew, who finished in 22nd and 24th place, respectively.
CU sits in fifth overall moving towards the nordic portion of the UAA invitational. Denver currently holds the top spot, followed by Utah, New Mexico and Montana State.
The second half of the Seawolf Invitational will continue on Tuesday Feb. 7 with freestyle sprints and Wednesday Feb. 8 with the 4-by-5k mixed-gender relay. The second half of the UAA invitational will begin on Saturday Feb. 11 with the 5k and 10k classic races. It will end on Sunday Feb. 12 with the freestyle 15/20k races.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Olivia Butrymovich at firstname.lastname@example.org