Utes Win 2022 RMISA Invitational Despite Cold Temperatures


(Courtesy Utah Athletics)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer


The Utah Nordic team competed in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Invitational this past weekend. The Utes braved the cold as the tournament was held in Fairbanks, Alaska known for its brutal February temperatures. In fact the weather was so cold it led to the cancelation of Sunday’s Classical ski events. The temperature Sunday reached -5 degrees Fahrenheit but due to the wind chill, it felt like -11 which was cold enough to lead the tournament officials to call off the event.

According to RMISA rules the results of Saturday’s Freestyle events were doubled to calculate the final tally of the canceled events, which resulted in the Utes being named the winner of the 2022 RMISA Invitational. The final point total had Utah scoring 707 points with second place Colorado 123 points behind with 584 points.

Although Sunday’s events were canceled the Utes performed extremely well on Saturday. Sydney Palmer-Leger picked up another win, which marked her third win of the week. Her time recorded for the Women’s 5k Freestyle was 14:35:1, a full sixteen seconds faster than second-place finisher Hanna Abrahamsson from Colorado.

It was another great race for Sydney today, and she is clearly dominating the women’s field,” said skiing director Fredrik Landstedt to Utah Athletics.

Palmer-Leger wasn’t the only Lady Ute who recorded a top-ten finish. Abby Jarzin (fourth), Julia Richter (fifth) and Karianne Dengerud (eighth), all contributed to the 100 points put up by the women’s team; something that proved to be even more important as Sunday’s events were canceled.

“Abby and Julia had great races, as did Karianne even in spite of fell in a fast downhill and lost some time,” an impressed Landstedt observed.

The men’s ski team also performed well with four Utes recording top four finishes. Sam Hendry (fourth), Brian Bushey (fifth), Bjørn Riksaasen (sixth) and Walker Hall (ninth) all did their part to carry the men’s side despite missing six members of the team due to the Olympics. The success of the men’s team was a much needed bounce-back performance after struggling in the UAF Invitational earlier in the week. 

Landstedt spoke on the men’s team. “The men also had a great day. Sam was fighting for the podium the entire way, and Brian came on really fast in the end. Bjorn had his best race of the season. Walker Hall fell hard on the second lap but recovered well.”

The ski team will say goodbye to Alaska as this was their last time competing there for the season. The team will take a week and a half break before their next event as all eyes shift to the Olympics. Twelve Utah Skiers will be representing their countries this upcoming week in Beijing and former Ute Nick Hendrickson will be coaching the U.S. Nordic Combined team. Make sure to tune in to support Utah Athletics. 


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