Team Summit Alpine skier Camden Palmquist wins Italian slalom races
Team Summit Alpine ski racer Camden Palmquist made the most of his first trip to Europe with the U.S. Ski Team National Development Group in recent weeks, winning two slalom races.
Palmquist, 17, traveled, trained and competed with a U.S. Ski Team development group of five of the best skiers born in 2003. The Italian races presented Palmquist with bigger, deeper racing fields of some of the best young skiers in Italy as well as a grander environment with more intensity than what Palmquist had experienced in the States.
After landing in Munich on Feb. 28, Palmquist won the slalom competition just a week later on March 5 at the Italian national junior racing events at Monte Pora in Lombardy, Italy. Racing against some of the best American and Italian U-18 skiers, Palmquist entered the day with an open mindset “to just go ski.” The approach helped him to third place after his first slalom run, falling behind first place by three-tenths of a second.
Palmquist then raced his second and final slalom run with the perspective, “I might as well try to win.” He described his first slalom run as “really grindy,” one where he was throwing his skis out hard once he was parallel to the gate, decreasing his speed. He improved how he was applying pressure to his skis to have a more even run to propel him to the championship.
“I knew what I had to do in that second run and that was to just build the pressure more evenly at the top of the turn and make it clean,” Palmquist said. “Clean, even pressure all the way through. Other than that, I just skied.”
After the slalom victory, the Eagan, Minnesota, native finished in 10th and 14th places in giant slalom races at Monte Pora. Palmquist then got the chance to race in Italian Grand Prix races at Folgaria Ski Resort, races that included World Cup-level Italians attempting to clinch a spot on the national team. In Folgaria, Palmquist raced to 66th and 49th in a pair if Grand Prix races March 11-12 before finishing 12th in another Italian junior giant slalom race March 13.
Palmquist then capped his trip with the Italian U-18 nationals at Pila Ski Resort, where he finished 20th in downhill, 29th in giant slalom, 10th in Alpine combined, 42nd in super-G and first in slalom.
Palmquist said the focus of his trip centered on getting better at the top of his turns, establishing a new platform and getting over to his outside ski, what his coaches refer to as “going deep.” Palmquist put that on display in his slalom victory at the Italian U-18 nationals March 21, when he followed up fellow American Benny Brown’s win in the giant slalom with an Italian championship of his own.
“I wanted to show we can ski tech here in America,” Palmquist said. “It was just kind of that night before it started I kind of realized, ‘I can win this.’ I think I had adjusted to the racing up there really well.”
Palmquist led by a tenth of a second after his first run before winning the combined results by a half-second. He credited the win to his ability to stay confident that he could race clean through the slalom gates.
For Palmquist, the trip to Europe was a big step toward his goal of following in the ski tracks of his American role models Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Daron Rahlves. Palmquist is doing so in slalom and giant slalom after pursuing the racing disciplines back home at the Buck Hill ski area outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul because the mountain was so small that slalom was one of the only disciplines he could train.
Despite only 300 feet of vertical at Buck Hill, Palmquist was one of several of his siblings who turned that Minnesota ski racing dream into a high-level pursuit of the sport in Summit County. Palmquist’s sister, Sophia, and brothers Jevin and Trevor are also talented, hard-working racers for Team Summit’s Alpine program.
“We do push each other a little bit, especially Jevin and I,” Camden Palmquist said. “He’s been skiing really well this season. … I’ve been like, ‘Oh, he’s skiing well. I need to ski faster, so he doesn’t overtake me.’ We push each other, and it’s become a part of who we are as a family. We are a ski racing family.”
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