Utah Ski Team Wins 2022 RMISA Championship


(Courtesy Utah Athletics)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer


This past week the Utah ski team headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships. The Utes showed up to compete as they took home first place by a large margin, 120 more points than second-place Denver. What’s remarkable is that Utah came in first all four days of the tournament, something that definitely helps the momentum of the team who will be competing in the NCAA Championships early next month.

Wednesday and Thursday featured the alpine half of the tournament, with the giant slalom (GS) event occurring on Wednesday and the slalom on Thursday. 

For the GS event, the Utes put up a combined 164 points between the men and the women — enough to achieve a first-place finish. Kaja Norbeye helped contribute as she made the podium with a third-place finish for the women with a combined time of 1:57:27. For the men’s GS, there was also a podium finish with Oliver Parazette coming in second with a combined time of 1:52:69. Joachim Lein (4th) and Wilheim Normannseth (5th) also finished in the top five for the men, which helped contribute to the 97 points the men’s side put up for the giant slalom event.

Thursday’s slalom event marked another day where the Utes achieved multiple podium finishes. Katie Vesterstein, for the women, and Gustav Vøllo, for the men, both achieved third-place finishes which played a large factor in the Utes’ success. Vestestein’s time of 1:26:23 barely edged out Denver’s Eleri Smart but was just enough to earn her first podium finish of the year and fourth all-time. It was also Vøllo’s first podium finish of the year as his time of 1:18:79 guided him to the sixth podium finish of his career. The combined 170 points by both the men and the women was a great finish to a very impressive two-day stretch in which the alpine team put up a combined 334 points, 6 more than second-place Westminster.

The Nordic team competed in the 5/10k classical (Friday) and the 15/20k freestyle (Saturday) this weekend at Howelston Hill. Coming off the alpine half with a lead, the nordic team did not miss their opportunity to capitalize on their situation and helped the Utes bring home the RMISA 2022 Championship after putting up 356 points.

For Friday’s classical event the Utes swept the podium for the women’s side. Led by Olympian Novie McCabe’s first-place finish, the women’s side put up a whopping 111 points. Sophie Laulki (2nd) and Julia Richter (3rd)  helped keep the podium all Utes, as their performance played a huge factor in the success that Utah had this weekend.

Director of Skiing Fredrik Landstedt spoke on the success that the women’s side saw as he told Utah Athletics: “It was super nice to have Novie and Sophia back from the Olympics. Even though they just returned, they both skied an amazing race. Julia once again showed that she is one of the best classical college skiers in the country. It was amazing to get another sweep for the women.”

Olympian Luke Jager also had a podium finish for classical events as his time of 27:50.8 was enough to propel him to a third-place finish for the men.

Saturday’s freestyle event was the last event of the tournament and per usual ended in a Utes win. Olympians Novie McCabe and Luke Jager kept up their hot streak, as they both finished in first place. McCabe picked up her second straight win, with this being the second time in her career that she had secured wins in both Nordic events in the same meet. For Jager, it was his first win in his collegiate career and his second podium of the weekend. Olympian Sophia Laulki also hit the podium as she achieved her second straight second-place finish with a time of 43:17.9. 

The overall Utah performance was remarkable as they accumulated a total of 690 across the four days. Landstedt touched on this as he told Utah Athletics that “It was an awesome race by the entire group today, Novie and Sophia are just in a class of their own. Julia had her best long skate race of her collegiate career and Ezra Smith had her best race as a Ute. Karianne Dengerud also came back well after feeling a little down yesterday. Luke and Bjørn both skied really smart, and had their best collegiate races.”

The ski team’s focus now turns to the 2022 NCAA Championships which will be hosted by the Utes and will take place between March 9-12 at Park City and Soldier Hollow. And after winning the 2022 RMISA Championship it is safe to say that momentum is definitely on the Utes’ side. 


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