Grace Staberg wins bronze in individual race at ski mountaineering World Cup
Grace Staberg of Silverthorne won bronze in Sunday’s U-20 women’s individual race at the final International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Cup of the season in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
Staberg completed the course in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 29 seconds, behind champion Samantha Bertolina (59:11) and Lisa Moreschini (59:25) of Italy. The third-place finish in the 12-athlete individual race was Staberg’s first podium performance in the individual — a discipline that features multiple ascents, descents and transitions — of the winter season. Staberg’s bronze in the race, which featured a total of 900 meters of climbing, was her second of the World Cup weekend after she won bronze in Friday’s vertical. Staberg also won silver in the vertical at the World Championships a few weeks ago in Andorra.
“Today was a great way to end the season,” Staberg said. “I think I tend to be a better climber, so getting third in the vertical isn’t maybe quite as surprising. … I felt really strong on the climbs. And I think that I was able to stay close enough to the leaders that I didn’t lose too, too much time on downhills. I felt like I did my best to hold my own on the descents. I did a good job of trying to push as hard as I could and stay as close to the Italians as possible.”
Staberg said her improvement in the more technical parts of the individual discipline, namely kick turns, helped her to the podium. Staberg raced out to second place at the top of the first climb before she was overtaken by Bertolina and remained in third place the remainder of the race.
The victory was Staberg’s final race during a four-month stay in Europe where she was the lone American to compete at World Cup stops across the continent. Staberg competed in races while living and training with Italian ski-mountaineering legend Laetitia Roux in France. Staberg also took remote college classes through the University of London School of Economics, something she intends to continue next year when she returns to Europe for World Cup competition. Though Staberg said she was happy with how she ended her season, the 2020 Summit High graduate thinks she can come into next season more prepared and with better fitness.
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m completely satisfied with it, so it’s motivating me to get better and strive for more,” Staberg said.
Staberg said she plans on racing at the Cosmic Race Series event in Telluride this weekend before taking on the Imperial Challenge April 12 and 13. The Imperial Challenge is a race that combines cycling with ascending and descending snow at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Staberg also hopes to do a personal ski-mountaineering challenge later this month. When Staberg returns to the county she’s excited to have breakfast with her family at Amazing Grace and ski up for sunrises at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
“I always love racing the Imperial, I think it’s just a fun contest,” Staberg said. “It’s fun to get out with people you see in the community. It feels like a fun day out skiing at Breck more than a race, even.”
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