The Western Regional Ski Championships on Saturday ended up with some surprising finishes and even more surprising skiers.
Most of the surprises, it turned out, came on the slalom hill at Park City. In the women's slalom, for example, two of the three leaders fell on the second run.Then, who shows up to forerun the men's course, but almost the entire U.S. women's ski team, including Tamara McKinney, Diann Roffe and Eva Twardokens. Even at that, BYU's Alf Wold let the skis run, beat the entire U.S. field and earned the fastest time on the first run. He, in turn, ended up making some very untypical errors and gave up the title.
Then, because of the mistakes and spills in the slalom, the regional men's alpine title was tossed into a tie breaker. It was, said one coach, a long and difficult day.
Four schools won regional titles and 10 others received invitations to the National Collegiate Ski Association season finale in Lake Tahoe, Calif., in two weeks.
Claiming regional titles on Saturday were Western State College in the women's nordic, Central Oregon Community College in men's nordic, and College of Idaho in women's alpine. BYU won the men's apline in a tie breaker figured on individual standings. COCC and CI were pushed back to second and third, respectively.
Championship invitations went to the top five schools in both the men's and women's alpine, and the top eight schools in both the men's and women's nordic. BYU will send both its men's and women's alpine teams. Also, its one and only nordic skier, Keith Erickson, received a special invitation in the individual cross country.
In the women's slalom, two of the three leaders fell on their second runs. Karen Nall, of the College of Idaho, was only seven-hundredths of a second behind leader Maegan Carney of Colorado Mountain College, after the first run. On the second run, Nall skied a solid run while Carney hooked a tip near the top of the course, fell and had to hike to pick up a gate she missed.
Nall's two-run time was 1 minute, 31.49 seconds. Carney ended up in 41st. Second was Raquel Weldon of Brigham Young University, with a time of 1:31.79, and third was Elke Socher of Simon-Fraser University, in 1:31.83. Other BYU finishers were Anneta Harildstad in 6th, Melisa Sneddon in 9th and Janalee Jones in 21st.
Nall said after the race that the second course was one that could cause skiers to make mistakes.
In the men's race, Wold, winner of the men's giant slalom on Thursday, posted the fastest time on the first run of the slalom. On the second run, however, he made a few wide turns near the top of the course and gave up a second to Troy Panrucker of COCC.
Panrucker won the race with a combined time of 1:22.36, Brent LaBounty of CI, was second with a 1:22.63, and Wold was third in 1:23.23. Other BYU finishers were Hans Gundleiksrud in 6th And Jouni Kijaned in 14th.
Panrucker said after the race that he also made mistakes on the second run.
"Mine," he added, "were not as bad. I think I was just a little tentative at the start. It had cooled down a little and there were spots where the course was a little icy."
BYU Coach Ford Stevenson said he was pleased with the way his team skied, "especially in the slalom. We didn't ski as well as I'd hoped in the GS, but they made up for it today."