Powderhorn preps CMU skiers for regionals
Mesa bound for Red Lodge this weekend for Western Regional
One skier at the United States Collegiate Ski Association meet hosted by Colorado Mesa University at Powderhorn Mountain Resort on Sunday commented that the Wonderbump run felt like a war zone.
During the first flight of the men’s division on the second day of the meet, six skiers fell at least once and one skier fell twice. A couple of poles snapped and a few skiers lost shin guards. The course was rutted, icy, tight and unforgiving. It was exactly the preparation the Colorado Mesa Alpine skiers needed for the USCSA Western Regional race in Red Lodge, Mont., this weekend.
“It’s a little rough today,” CMU skier Alex Forsett said. “It was definitely bumpy. But it is collegiate skiing, so I guess it’s supposed to be tough. It wasn’t groomed last night so it’s a little rough from yesterday. The bumps make for tricky combos and tricky setup.”
During its third year of existence, the CMU Alpine ski team has traveled to four Colorado meets. Junior Sarah Gregory finished second during Day 1 at Telluride last week and won the Day 2 race. Gregory is a Montana State transfer who is returning to skiing after nursing an ankle and foot injury.
“This has definitely been one of our more successful years so far,” Forsett said. “Girls have been taking second place fairly consistently. We have some real good skiers this year, and we’ve had a lot of community support getting us to these races.
“It’s different having an actual team this year. We have nine people this year, and having people to share this with really helped us get better, especially against better skiers.”
The women’s team placed second on both days of the meet despite only having three skiers. Coach Jack Harbottle said his skiers have used strong finishes despite being significantly outnumbered by bigger schools. Sunday, Gregory finished second in the slalom, Mattie Wells finished seventh and Kathleen More sealed the team score with 15th place.
After a second-place finish Saturday, the snow threw men’s skiers into wrecks, but also provided them a distinct advantage when they travel to regionals.
“Pretty much all the surfaces we’ve raced on have been man-made snow,” Harbottle said. “This forced them to get back to the technical stuff and bouncing up and down.”
CMU is in one of the toughest regions, Harbottle said, and he’s unsure how the team will finish during its first trip to a regional meet.
“It’s really a tough region,” Harbottle said. “You have Montana, all the northwestern schools, University of British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. They’re long-established programs with budgets to bring in really fast European skiers. We’re just an American pack with one Canadian, and it’ll be fun to see how we stack up.”