Utah’s Cohee, meanwhile, carried his momentum from the RMISA
circuit to the Stowe NorAm and skied to a second place result, most
likely awarding him an invite to a U.S. Ski Team camp this spring.
“At Stowe, the snow held up great, I felt confident, and then I had an
awesome race,” said Cohee. “The end goal is to make the [national]
team. I’m taking steps in the right direction, but I don’t want to leave
it to a decision. College races are more stacked than ever, and it’s
becoming a route to national teams with people like Leif [Haugen]
and Gabi Rivas who set the example.”
Vermont’s Kristina Riis-Johannessen and Jonathan Nordbotten as
well as Denver’s Espen Lysdahl also made numerous NorAm podium appearances this winter. Nordbotten finished second in the
NorAm slalom hunt while Lysdahl was fourth.
Vermont’s head coach, Bill Reichelt, reflected on the home-carni-val sacrifice he made by sending his top alpine athletes to the Vail
NorAm series that conflicted with the UVM races. “Sometimes we
have to give up a little for the athletes to gain a lot on the back end,”
he said. “It was a bit of a gamble, but obviously it paid off.” His skiers
gained critical experience racing against the top RMISA athletes in
Vail, and that midseason exposure also prepared the Catamounts
for their successful run at the NCAA Championships.
But it came at the expense of a home win for Vermont. “I would love
for the NorAm organizing committee to look at our schedule,” said
Reichelt, “but I realize we’re not a priority for them. So I think as a
league we could try to be more flexible with our own schedule so
that athletes looking to succeed at that level have the opportunities
to do so without detriment to their teams.”
The schedule in the West seemed to have worked out easier for
those collegiate teams, but Denver’s head alpine coach Andy LeRoy
indicated that it was not foolproof. “RMISA does all of our scheduling in May,” he said, “after seeing the NorAm calendar — at least we
try to — but it doesn’t always work out if the NorAm folks decide to
change their dates when the snow starts to fall.”
As a program, Denver does what they can to accommodate the
potential of athletes who may even still harbor national team intentions. “We do everything possible,” said LeRoy, “to help our student-athletes be successful in the classroom and on the slopes.”
C. J. FEEHAN
Trevor Philp juggles NorAm awards as well as he did academics and racing all season.
Terwiel with the overall title
Nick Cohee on his way
to a NorAm podium.