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River Radamus Streaks to Men's National Title in the Super-G
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Those in the VIP section got to curl up in fur wraps as they watched Thursday’s Men’s super-G race.
   
Friday, March 22, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Olympic medalist River Radamus threw down the gauntlet Thursday morning in the quest to become national super-G champion.

Radamus kicked started the 2024 Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships competition being held through Sunday at Sun Valley Resort. And he burst out of the starting gate on Upper Warm Springs, negotiated a traverse onto Upper Greyhawk where he cooly jumped onto the headwall, making some smooth sweeping arcs before heading onto Hemingway and bursting back onto Lower Greyhawk bound for the finish line.

He set the pace for the others to follow with a time of 1:15.24 minutes, skied out of the race arena and never looked back.

 
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River Radamus made a difficult technical course look easy as he swooshed down Lower Greyhawk.
 

And no one came close to touching the 26-year-old son of a former U.S. Ski Team and Vail Ski Club coach, who had his first World Cup podium finish--a bronze medal in Men's Giant Slalom--at Palisades Tahoe in February.

Radamus, who narrowly missed a medal at the 2020 Olympics and has been praised by Mikaela Shiffrin for his "beautiful skiing," is a three-time national champion, having also won the super-G in 2021 and the giant slalom title in 2020.

Kyle Negomir, the third skier in the starting gate, tried to defend his 2023 super-G national championship title against his former Vail ski mate. But he finished second with a time of 1:15.38, or 0.14 behind Radamus. Issiah Nelson, originally from Wayzata, Minn., crossed the finish line in 1:15.45, or 0.21 seconds behind.

Jay Poulter who won the FIS Men's Super G Race on Wednesday, crossed the finish line in 1:15.83. And Sun Valley's Jack Smith, who finished second on Wednesday posted a time of 1:16.83.

 
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River Radamus, who came into his own during the 2016 U.S. Alpine Championships at Sun Valley Resort, knew he’d had a good run immediately following his super-G race.
 

"They changed the course a little--made it a little easier," said Poulter. "It's definitely one of the more challenging courses--the gates are a little tighter than usual, the terrain challenging."

Indeed 27 of 53 male racers did not finish Wednesday's Super G, many of them unable to navigate the first gate after coming off the headwall. On Thursday, eight male racers of 62 did not finish and one was disqualified.

"The guys come here and don't realize how steep it is so they let themselves go too fast," said Kathleen Eder, one of the dozens of Sun Valley employees and volunteers putting the race on. "The women tend to rein themselves in a bit more."

Sun Valley's Sacha Stern-Pre raced next to last, clearly enjoying his run as he twirled his ski pole above his head immediately crossing the finish line.

 
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Jesse Foster, who served as a forerunner along with Josie Sarchett, watched Jack Smith’s race, along with Heather Foster.
 

Another of the many Sun Valley skiers was Colin Hanna, who did not finish on Wednesday but made a clean run on Thursday.

"It was fun. I wish I had gone a little faster. But it was fun skiing at home on a hill I know, my flriends and family watching," he said.

Among those watching the race was Michel Rudigoz, who coached a stellar women's U.S. Ski Team that included Sun Valley Christin Cooper and Maria Maricich in the 1980s. Jim Davis, who recently retired to Sun Valley and Boise from Seattle, drank it in.

"The only thing that kept me out of ski racing was playing safety for Washington State football team. I love looking at the way they carve their turns, the high speed," he said.

 
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Sun Valley’s Colin Hanna catches his breath following his super-G race.
 

Jesse Foster, a National Masters Champion ski racer and a physical therapist with St. Luke's Wood River, served as the forerunner, skiing the course before the racers as he'd done during the 2023 U.S. Alpine Championships.

"What these guys are  able to do is so far above how the rest of us ski," he marveled. Foster added that one of the race officials had told him that the Sun Valley course could mirror a World Cup course.

"So it's legit--insane," he said. "The top...beautiful turns. Then the traverse. I couldn't see anything below so you have to know where you're going. Then nice sweeping turns down the face...With that much speed you really have to power down to keep in control."

With a temperature of 32 at the start and with passing clouds holding the temperature to 50 degrees--five or six degrees below the previous day's high--the course stayed firmer. Still, skiers sent up a plethora of rooster tails behind their skis, with one even spraying the crowd watching the race at the finish line.

Happily, Sun Valley was in no risk of losing its race course, as was Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, where warm temperatures and rain forced race officials to cancel FIS Ski World Cup downhill training runs to preserve the course for the rest of the week.

Even so, race officials moved the Women's super-G up a half-hour to noon to avoid slushy conditions. Thirty-nine women hit the starting gate, including one from Norway and two from Great Britain and two from Canada.

Elisabeth Bocock, a two-year member of the U.S. Ski Team who got her start skiing Snowbird in Utah, won the women's super-G. Allison Mollin, a new U.S. Ski Team member from Truckee, Calif., took second, and Wenatchee, Wash.'s Tatum Grosdidier, who won the FIS super-G race the day before, came in third.

Cooper Puckett was the top junior man, followed by Camden Palmquist and Jay Poulter.

TODAY'S RACES

The Men's Giant Slalom begins on Hemingway and Greyhawk at 9:30 a.m. followed by a second race at 12:30 p.m. Times are subject to change, dictated by the weather.

An Awards Ceremony is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Warm Springs Plaza followed by music by the Aaron Golay Band from 2 to 5 p.m. A Sponsor Village featuring race merchandise and more will be ongoing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

~  Today's Topics ~


Community Cookie Baking at Its Finest

Wood River Photographer Reimagines Winter Sports Culture

Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Members to Demonstrate Traditional Root Digging and More
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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