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Saturday, January 22, 2000 -- Canaan Valley Resort, WV
USSA Junior Slalom
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]

Eric Cline
Eric Cline slices down the mountain
Saturday morning, January 22nd, the weather in Canaan Valley was nothing but cold. A recent storm had brought some welcome snow, but this morning's temperatures were struggling to get above zero. At least the wind had calmed and the sun was starting to make an appearance as over 100 skiers prepared for the USSA Canaan Slalom race at Canaan Valley Resort.

With just some short delays while timing adjustments were being made the anxious racers began their first runs down Canaan's Ramble slope. The combined time of two runs down the mountain would decide the champions.

The course was a bit "wide open" with some gates actually being a little less technical than might be expected. This caused a number of racers to misjudge the gates on their first run resulting in quite a few disqualifications.

Alec Thomson
It's all down hill from here
Trey Simmerman was one of the victims as he had a strong first run that counted for nothing because of a missed gate. However, without having to worry about his finishing position, he took advantage of the situation and "let loose" on his second run and put on an impressive display.

The afternoon course saw the gates changed to present a slightly different challenge for the second run. Things didn't seem all that different from the time keeper's point of view when Seth Williams flew through the gates. Williams put together consistent runs of 44.68 and 44.48 seconds to total a winning time of 1:29.16.

The racer in the best position to take the overall win after the first run was Spencer Reed who clocked a clean 43.80 seconds from top to bottom. However, his second run didn't go as well and a quick crash, or "hip-check", made all the difference. Reed was slowed but still put together a good run in 46.47 and took home second overall in 1:30.27.

Victoria Long
Victoria Long finds a good line on her second run
After the race Williams commented, "The course really made me think." His "thinking" earned him his first ever overall win in six years of racing. Some of his fellow competitors thought maybe it wasn't all cerebral. Brett Friedrichsen, who finished third overall in a combined time of 1:30.67, added "[Williams] is being modest, he was kickin' butt out there."

Another racer who put on a great show was the overall fastest female, Victoria Long. After surviving with a solid time of 55.39 on her first run, Long came back strong on her second. She recorded the fastest female time of the day in 50.58 for a combined winning time of 1:45.97. This was several seconds faster than the consistent Nicole Thie who took second place with a time of 1:49.21.

Many more winners crossed the finish as awards were earned within a number of different age groups. Luckily the ceremony took place in the warm confines of the ski lodge. Everyone had survived the brutal cold and had challenged the mountain terrain. The abundant smiles told the real winning story as everyone was soon thinking about the next race and how they'd be getting faster. WVOutside can only hope to keep up.