Thorson leads Ute skiers into Colorado

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

The U ski team is off to the Denver Invitational at Winter Park, Colo., this weekend, and there is no better person to lead the charge than freshman phenomenon Tague (rhymes with flag) Thorson.

Thorson, a 22-year-old native of Mahtomedi, Minnesota, is back with the team after spending all of last week at the World University Games in Torino, Italy. Thorson made both his college and his country proud, finishing second overall and becoming the only American to finish in the top 10 in all three downhill events.

“It was a great experience,” Thorson said. “Competing on an international stage like that is pretty amazing. I was a little disappointed with how I did in the Super GS, but overall I skied alright.”

In the eyes of most people, a word like “alright” wouldn’t do justice in describing the kind of strong showing that Thorson had in Italy. But for a skier whose ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Ski Team, personal expectations are never far below perfection.

Were it not for Thorson’s desire to be part of the national team, he might never have ended up in Utah at all. He originally left his hometown in search of better snow and steeper hills, a quest that ultimately led him to Park City.

“Skiing is popular there, but Minnesota isn’t exactly a skiing wonderland,”? Thorson said. “I needed a place where I could really train, so I started looking for a program out West.”

Although he wouldn’t sign with Utah for several more years, Thorson fell in love with Salt Lake City’s snow and terrain. In fact, his ties to the local scene were what kept the blue-chip recruit from signing elsewhere.

“A lot of schools have good skiing programs, but all of my friends were here,” Thorson said. “I love it here in Utah. I love the weather and I love the skiing.”

Beginning this afternoon, Thorson will be back with Utah’s alpine team at the Denver Invitational, where the Utes will meet such rivals as Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The Buffaloes have proven to be especially problematic for Utah-Thorson and company are 0-3 against them so far this season.

With athletes like Snorri Einarrson and Sara Schweiger on a roll of sorts,?both the men’s and women’s Nordic teams hope to place well this weekend. ?Einarsson is coming off a second-place finish in the men’s 20K at the Montana State Invitational, while Schweiger finished fifth for the Ute women’s team.

“It was awesome to see Snorri fighting for the win again,” said coach Eli?Brown of Einarrson’s performance in Montana. “I’m really looking forward to see what we can do in Denver.”