A slippery slope

By By Matthew Piper

By Matthew Piper

The U ski team finished fourth overall at the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last week.

Cold weather on the final two days of competition spelled disaster for the Ute Nordic team.

The University of Denver won the invitational with 541 total points during the two-day event, followed by New Mexico and Colorado.

The combined scores from each school’s Nordic (cross-country) and alpine teams were used to determine the winner.

Alpine

Both of the U alpine teams finished in first place during the team competition.

“I’m very impressed with [the alpine team’s] performance,” U head coach Kevin Sweeney said. “They came out charging this weekend and skied exceptionally well.”

Seniors Ben Thornhill and Mark Heinrich-Wallace placed 4th and 7th respectively in the giant slalom competition. Junior Will McDonald took 5th in the slalom.

All-Americans April Mancuso and Lina Johansson secured top 10 finishes for the women in both slalom events.

“I’m really proud of all our skiers. This is only the start of what this team is capable of,” alpine coach Aaron Atkins said.

Nordic

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams finished in fifth place in both the classical and freestyle events, as they slowly whittled away at the alpine team’s big first day score.

The lone bright spot for the men’s nordic team was found in the performance of junior newcomer Magnus Carlsson. He made an impressive debut for the Utes. The Sweden native adjusted well to the high altitude, finishing 8th and 7th in his first two events.

Senior All-American Barbro Hatlevik paced the women’s Nordic team with a fifth-place finish in the 10/5-kilometer classical.

The Ute skiers will try to overcome their disappointing showing next weekend, when they head to Winter Park, Colo., for the Denver Invitational.

“There is no question this was a tough weekend,” Sweeney said. “We might have been too tired this weekend, but we are going to regroup and prepare for Colorado.”

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