Macdonald takes second in Smartwool downhill twice
KEYSTONE RESORT January is one of Tanner Macdonalds favorite months of the year. The reason, says the Team Summit racer, is that this month marks the beginning of the downhill racing season.Macdonald wrapped up a tremendous week at Keystone on Thursday by finishing second overall in the mens Smartwool downhill for the second straight day. Macdonalds downhill performance came on the heels of his second and third place finishes in super-G races over the weekend.In all four races, Macdonald finished one place behind Thomas Allen of Steamboat Springs.I wish I could have beat him once, but hes fast, Macdonald said of Allen.Tanner is getting better and better, Team Summit alpine director Sean Ramsden said. Its been fun watching his progress since he was a young J3.Macdonald, who is the current high school GS state champion, said downhill events are both rare and exciting.You really get a chance to do your best on race day because you get a couple of practice days beforehand, he said. At the other events, you just show up and go.Following the weekends two super-G races, Monday and Tuesday were devoted to training days in preparation for downhill races on Wednesday and Thursday.The mental preparation is a lot different for downhill, said Team Summit member Tanner Bardin, who finished fifth overall and third among J1s on Thursday.We have two training runs and two race-day runs, Bardin said. Each one of those runs takes a lot out of you … you really end up beat.Bardin, who took ninth in Wednesdays downhill, said the course was tougher on the second day due to fresh snow and high winds.Summits Zach Fretz finished 11th overall in Thursdays downhill. Like Bardin, he said the weather played a factor in the race.It was pretty much whoever got lucky with the wind, Fretz said. After the first 30 guys came down, the wind started dying down. Then it picked up again later and definitely started changing times.Team Summits Erin Breslin had a tremendous sixth-place overall finish in Thursdays girls race. She finished second among J2s and made a big improvement on her 13th place finish the previous day.I wouldnt say it was an easy course, but there are harder ones, she said. There really wasnt much air built in to it.The lack of jumps on the course helped bolster her confidence, Breslin said. I usually get so scared doing big air, said Breslin, who has preferred to keep her skis on the ground ever since suffering a painful crash a few years ago.Erin really picked it up, Ramsden said. She hasnt always typically been a speed skier, but she definitely showed it today.Despite her recent success in downhill, Breslin still prefers to compete in the more technical events. I would rather ski slalom, she said. In slalom, a skiers size is not as relevant as it is in downhill. In downhill, bigger skiers have the advantage because they can carry more speed in the flats.Joining Breslin in the top 10 for Team Summit was Memory Anderson, who finished 10 overall and fifth out of the J2s. Also in the top-15 for Summit were Torey Andersen (12th place), Laurel Broten (14th) and Chelsey Fretz (15th). It was a successful week at Keystone, according to Ramsden, who served as race chief for both the super-G and downhill events. The conditions and mother nature cooperated with us, Ramsden said. But the most important thing with speed events is safety. There were only a couple of injuries but nothing really serious. Thats the biggest thing for a race chief; I dont want anyone to get hurt.Unexpected GuestsDue to a recent schedule change, the U.S. Disabled Ski Team visited Keystone over the weekend. They needed to make up a cancellation so we held a mini-race within a race for them, Ramsden said.Especially being an Olympic year, it felt good to provide the U.S. Disabled Team with an Olympic qualifying venue, he said. Seeing them compete was positive and inspirational for a lot of our athletes. Yes, theyve (the U.S. disabled skiers) had some bad luck, but theyre all about this is what I can do!Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970)668-3998, ext. 13631 or at email@example.com.
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