Alpine skiing Holiday Classic closes with a tough day on Howelsen | SteamboatToday.com

Alpine skiing Holiday Classic closes with a tough day on Howelsen

Finland’s Joonas Rasanen races in the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic on Saturday, Dec. 22 at Howelsen Hill. Rasanen finished fourth Friday and first Saturday. (Photo by: Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The men proved that anything can happen on Howelsen Hill.

On the final day of the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic, the men took their first runs down the steepest course on the far left side. The forerunners had carved it with ease and Dartmouth College’s Jimmy Krupka cruised to the fastest single run time seen on the course in the past few days at 38.59 seconds.

The day before, the University of New Mexico’s Tommy Anderson had the fastest single-run time at 38.91 seconds on his second run, taking eighth overall after moving up from the 18th spot on his first run. But it was Jacob Dilling’s combined first and second run time consistency that had earned him the top spot.

Cash Prize Winners

1. Joonas Rasanen, FIN, $2,000
2. Alex Leever, USA, $1,000
3. Jack Keane, USA, $500
4. Joseph Young, CAN, $125
5. Kyle Negomir, USA, $125

But Saturday’s competition got interesting when both Dilling and second-place Jett Seymour from Friday’s competition lost their balance on the steepest part of the front face.

It was anyone’s race.

Finland’s Joonas Rasanen held the second-fastest time on the first run and cruised to the third fastest on his second for a combined time of 1:20.32. He awaited his fate at the bottom, watching top-competitor Krupka chase down the hill.

Krupka caught an edge at the top of his second run, but finished the course anyway in 54.99 seconds, dropping him down to 47th place, securing Rasanen the top spot.

“The snow didn’t really hold up as well as yesterday, and the light wasn’t as good as yesterday,” Rasanen said. “You just have to go. There’s no thinking involved. Keep your head down and do your thing.”

Rasanen came off a fourth-place finish on Friday. Rasanen has won the race before while skiing for the University of New Mexico. He just hasn’t been back in four years. The Finland-native has spent most of his time racing in Europe but decided to get a race in while visiting his girlfriend in Colorado.

“It’s a nice venue. It’s in town, and skiing under the lights is really cool,” Rasanen said. “It’s usually a really good atmosphere to be here.”

Rasanen has goals to do well at the World Championships in Sweden this year, and for him, the best training is racing as much as possible.

The prize money is a plus, too. Rasanen has some shopping to do.

“I’m probably buying some last-minute Christmas presents,” Rasanen said.

Women

The women saw fewer hiccups.

The top 10, with the exception of a few new additions, stayed consistent. The top three spots after the first run were claimed by the same from the night before: University New Mexico’s Rebecca Fiegl, University of Colorado Boulder’s Nora Grieg Christensen and University of Denver’s Tuva Norbye.

Cash Prize Winners

1. Nora Grieg Christensen, NOR
2. Rebecca Fiegl, AUT
3. Tuva Norbye, NOR
4. Emma Hall, USA
5. Carissa Cassidy, USA

Christensen was second-to-last of the top 30 group to race. Her narrow turns carved her into the finish with a combined time of 1:28.30 then waited at the bottom with her teammates for Fiegl.

Fiegl, who won the night before, had a 0.19 second lead over Christensen in the first run, but was unable to stay consistent and fell to second place on her second run with a combined time of 1:28.38.

“It’s always exciting when you’re second and you see if you can make up your time,” Christensen. “It was really cool that it actually held.”

After the previous day’s second-placing, Christensen was taking home a total of $3,000 from the two days of races.

The CU senior from Norway also matched her performance at last year’s Holiday Classic, where she also took home first and second placings. The steepness of Howelsen seems to work to her advantage.

“It’s mostly just being forward going into those steep parts and being in balance and attacking it,” Christensen said. “Leaning in and following your ski, being in your ski and being in a good position.”

Christensen’s said that her next goal is to win the NCAA National Championship with her team, but she’s not sure what she’ll do with all the prize money.

But as an architectural engineering major, there’s always one thing she needs money for.

“School supplies,” she laughs. “I don’t know yet.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.


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