Utah Ski Team Returns After Weeklong Break


(Courtesy Utah Athletics)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer


After taking a break for Winter Olympic action, the Utah Ski team traveled to Colorado this past week to compete in RMISA alpine races. This will be the first alpine action in almost a month as the last event took place on Jan. 25 for the Utah Invitational, in which the Utes won the meet in dominating fashion.

Copper Mountain Resort played host for Thursday’s giant slalom race which served as an extra RMISA qualifier, meaning no team scores were kept as it was not part of any meet. 

As expected the alpine team did not disappoint. Utah’s Joachim Lien placed first for the men with a combined time of 1:42.78, three-hundredths of a second faster than Denver’s Tobias Kogler. Lien’s victory was the first of the 2022 season and his seventh as a Ute with his previous six wins all coming in 2020. Also noteworthy, Wilheim Normannseth and Gustav Vøllo tied for seventh place with a combined time of 1:43.55.

The women’s side also performed well Thursday, with Kaja Norbye leading the way for the Lady Utes with a combined time of 1:45.27 which was good enough to earn a third-place finish. In their first action back from the Olympics, Katie Parker (12th) and Katie Vesterstein (17th) recorded top-20 finishes. Other Ute finishers include Sona Moravcikova (18th) and Michelle Kerven (23th). 

The Utah ski team remained on Copper Mountain as Friday marked the second straight day the Utes participated in a giant slalom event this time as part of the DU Invitational. Using the day before as extra motivation, the Utes put up 159 combined points, and are currently leading the DU Invitational by nine points over Colorado and Westminster who are currently tied for second place with a score of 150.

Utah alpine coach JJ Johnson spoke on the significance of having the team back after the long break.

It’s been nice to have the team coming back,” he told Utah Athletics, “Katie Parker and Katie Vesterstein are back from the Olympics. The skiing has been good and training has been good. Katie Parker is getting more and more energy back after her travel from the Olympics. It’s kind of the same old adage with our depth. You’re never quite sure who the top three are going to be every day. It was another solid team effort all around to start off the DU Invite.”

On the men’s side, the Utes recorded back-to-back finishes for the GS as we saw Gustav Vøllo come in at sixth place with a score of 1:39.39 and Joachim Lien finish right behind him in seventh with a score of 1:39.42. This continues a highly impressive streak as Vøllo has recorded a top-10 finish in all but one of his 14 career giant slalom finishes. Wilhelm Normannseth recorded a ninth-place finish with a time of 1:39.79, which put three Utes in the top ten for the men.

For the women, Norbye hit the podium for the second straight day with another third-place finish, showcasing her talent with a time of 1:41.89. Moravcikova (5th) and Vesterstein (9th) also recorded top-ten performances which helped propel the Lady Utes to a score of 85, the most out of any school in the invitational. 

It was good to see the alpine team back in action and we will continue to see them, as they continue the DU Invitational with the slalom event at the Keystone Resort this upcoming Monday.


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