This past weekend, the Bears divided their impressive array of deeply talented forces to compete in USSA races across the region. Individual athletes were competing in races across the region—from Wachussett, MA through New Hampshire and all the way to Killington, VT. Considering the distance they travelled and the strength of competition, we are very proud of the effort demonstrated by these dedicated, talented young skiers.
Also on Sunday, a number of Berkshire Bears in the U16 division ventured south to Ski Sundown, in New Hartford, CT (for some of our athletes, it was the second race there in three days!) for a Slalom start. Even with the repeated commute and the 5:45 am departure time, our athletes did very well indeed on a demanding, tactically challenging track. Fourth Form Phenom and “Flying Frenchwoman” Elise Chauvel ’15 led the girls by posting two solid runs and landing on the podium, in second place overall. Congratulations, Elise! Next for the Bears came steady and reliable Annette Key ’16, who took 10th place, and then Caroline Slyer ’16, who moved from a bib position of 49th to finish in 18th overall. Also making a move, Samantha Reagan ’16—who started with bib 52--moved up to a 22nd place finish, far and away her best skiing this season, as she continues to improve with each race start.
On the boys’ side, we encountered a bit of controversy. The course was fair and yet very challenging to the more than four score boys attempting it, claiming 40 of them who either fell and couldn’t continue or fell and had to hike back into the course. Bryce Schuler ’15 started his first run with speed and confidence before he, too, fell victim to the course and fell. Due to a discrepancy between race officials—who gave conflicting directions to Bryce while he was recovering from his fall—Bryce’s coaches argued for and were awarded a provisional 2nd attempt at the first run, and although this caused him to start last in the order, Bryce skied to an incredible 4th place finish. However, during the race jury meeting afterward the officials decided, despite the protests of his coaches, to disqualify Bryce—according to USSA regulations, the onus is always on the athlete, even if the officials give him incorrect information. Still, we are very proud of his strong, focused performance—throughout the ordeal, Bryce never lost his characteristic cool. Our other boy competing, the stealthy and crafty Ben Lang ’15, began the race with bib 107. After his second run, however, Ben had finished in 30th overall!
Not too shabby, Bears… a strong USSA race weekend! In true ski racing form, we witnessed the highs and lows of a sport dictated by athleticism, preparation, and the occasional moment of drama. We are very proud of all our racers, for their mettle, focus, and grit.