By Ben Easton,
The final giant slalom race for the Davis High snowboard team, held on Friday, Feb. 12 at Alpine Meadows, was the most difficult course of the season. The turns were wide, the slope was steep and the surface was uneven. To make matters worse, it had been almost two weeks since the last snowfall, making the course icy.
The turns were wide to keep racers from careening too fast down the icy course, and knolls on either side of the course were slanted against the racers’ desired path.
It was a combination that would inevitably yield a lot of crashes. And indeed, top racers from all teams fell due to the difficult conditions. Junior Zach Dante, one of the Devils’ top giant slalom racers, was one such casualty.
“It was a little icy, so it was hard and almost every gate had a little knoll in it,” Dante said.
Coach Marsha Heller thinks the pressure of qualifying for states may have been a factor for many crashes.
“A lot of the guys were going for speed,” Heller said. “They knew that the state meet was on the line for some of them so it was a do-or-die situation.”
The rough course also caused some racers to be overly cautious; junior Hallie Lassiter was afraid of slipping out due to lack of traction.
“I held myself back too much,” Lassiter said. “I didn’t have a good race because I was being way too over-cautious. I felt like it was hard to dig my [ski] edges in because of how bad the snow was.”
Some racers anticipated the conditions, like junior Abbie DeWitt, who had sharpened her ski edges the night before.
“It was really easy to dig in my edges even though it was really icy,” said DeWitt, who placed fourth overalll. “My board really helped me out a lot.”
Senior David Marciel also had good performance and finished sixth. Despite a small fall, senior Ellen Olsson took 16th and also qualified for the state meet.
We’re looking good for the state meet,” Heller said. “We have 11 racers that are guaranteed a spot at the state meet and may possibly qualify a 12th.”