Megan McJames stands atop the podium in the Panorama NorAm slalom, with Anna Marno in third. (Ski Racing)
ALBERTA, Canada (Dec. 16, 2015) – Americans put on a strong showing during NorAms at Lake Louise and Panorama, with B, C and D Team members grabbing podiums in tech and speed events.
Following snowfall that forced some creative schedule changes at the opening NorAm speed series in Lake Louise, Alberta, racing got underway with the first downhill of the season on Dec. 10, with NYSEF athlete and current Eastern Regional Team skier Cecily Decker making her career-first NorAm podium a victory in the women’s downhill and Tommy Biesemeyer taking second in the men’s race.
The following day, Croatian World Cup regular Natko Zrncic Dim took the men’s victory. In a close second was the B Team’s Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, NY), fresh off his runner-up finish the previous day and career-best 11th place finish in the Beaver Creek super G, a scant 0.17 seconds behind the Croatian. Making his second third-place appearance of the week was Finland’s Andreas Romar, 0.20 seconds back. The top junior on the day was the C Team’s Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA) who narrowly missed the podium in fourth.
On the women’s side, the D Team’s Breezy Johnson upgraded her fourth place from the day before to first place, taking the win by 0.29 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Valerie Grenier of Canada. Joining Johnson and Grenier on the podium was Slovenian Marusa Ferk, who ended the day 0.77 seconds back in third place.
After the weather forced rescheduling in Lake Louise and unfortunately led to the cancellation of the super G races, action moved over to Panorama, British Columbia, for tech races, as well as a super G and alpine combined race Dec. 12-17.
Day one saw men’s super G and combined action, with Canadian NorAm powerhouse Tyler Werry taking the speed portion of the day. Coming 0.49 seconds back in second was young Arvidsson, who, interestingly enough, has had each of his four NorAm podium results come in Panorama. Adding another piece of hardware to his luggage was Biesemeyer, who was third, 0.68 seconds back.
In the afternoon’s slalom run, Canadian Erik Read of the University of Denver scorched the field, clocking in the fastest run and leaping from a 1.5-second deficit after the super G to take the win by 0.22 seconds over Arvidsson. Werry had to settle for third, 0.37 seconds back.
On the following day, C Teamer Anna Marno (Steamboat Springs, CO) took the super G win with a time of 1:24.85, followed by another familiar American racer Megan McJames (Park City, UT – Intermountain), 0.32 seconds back. Third place went to Canadian junior Stefanie Fleckenstein, 1.11 seconds back.
In the afternoon’s slalom run, McJames put forth a veteran effort and claimed the combined win by 1.18 seconds over Canadian national team athlete Candace Crawford in second, with Marno in third at 2.37 seconds back.
In Monday’s GS for the men, Read took his second win in a row, 0.26 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Giulio Bosca of Italy. B Team member Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT) captured his first podium since knee surgery forced him to sit out all of last season, finishing 0.79 seconds back and good enough for third place. The top junior on the day was C Teamer Kipling Weisel (San Francisco, CA) in seventh place, 1.41 seconds back.
The C Team’s Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV), also on the return from injury, won Monday’s slalom. Following Lapanja was the Norwegian and University of Denver duo of Kristine Haugen and junior Tuva Norbye in second and third – 0.19 and 0.91 seconds back – respectively.
Racing action continues in Panorama through Dec. 17 before the NorAm circuit heads to Quebec for technical races in February.