King of the Hill is the final race night for the adult corporate race league. This is not part of the regular season and is a special race following the finals costing each racer an additional ten dollars. Competition was fierce as the race is open to all corporate racers from every night which includes the higher competition Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night racers. Instead of the usual Nastar course, King of the Hill is a top to bottom minute long giant slalom style course that could almost meet the requirements for a FIS course lay out. Much more my preference compared to the straight line Nastar courses typical of Pat’s Peak corporate race leagues.
Unfortunately, I was running late due to work and drew a very high seed number. With snow conditions being solid, fast, and firm, this meant the course was entirely scraped down by my first run and my second run was a sheet of ice. My times were surprisingly middle of the pack, not bad considering the fierce competition from the GS suits. But a far cry from my potential had I had freshly tuned and sharpened skis and a better seed number. Still a fun night overall and great way to end the race league portion of the ski season.
Tonight was a tough night for our team without our top point man. Our team was very competitive on Monday nights, especially considering the median age of our team is 30 (NASTAR heavily favors older skiers when awarding handicap points). However, our recreational oriented race team was no match for the most race suit wearing gate bashers that race during the other week nights. We finished second to last though with our top point man and slightly better runs from our key racers, our team could have placed slightly higher.
My two runs felt good despite a sluggish start on racers right and a tough run out on the flats of racers left. The course was set on Twister which was unfortunate for my preferences. Twister actually looks like a good race trail if you start at the top instead of at the flats, so I am anxiously awaiting King of the Hill next Thursday.
After hardly skiing a hard packed groomer all season, it was nice feeling the progression as I got my carving legs back under me. Still was not up to college racing form, but that aspect of my technique package has definitely slipped in favor of powder, freeriding, and tree skiing skills. I got better every week and beat out our number three point getter twice during the last two races.
This was my first full season in a NASTAR league and I came away with the impression that some rule changes need to occur to make up for some irregularities and handicapping issues that reduce competitiveness. Either that or they need to start setting a challenging race course. It is too easy for old farts to essentially straight line it towards the finish. The snowboarder on our team got better every week but his scores did not show improvement so snowboarders need a bigger handicap point boost.
Tough racing for me tonight due to barely getting to the mountain in time for the first run. My car has been having some troubles lately including needing new breaks and a wheel bearing issue. Due to the need for repairs, I did not want to drive my car the two hours round trip to Pats Peak. Thankfully, my significant other was able to leave work early and offer usage of her vehicle for the evening. Due to difficulties leaving work in a timely fashion, I arrived at home way behind schedule. Then it took me fifteen minutes to figure out how to lower the passenger seats in my significant other’s car. Suffice to say, I was slightly rattled by the time I was on the interstate en route to Pats Peak.
After a quick change, I grabbed my skis and headed up to the summit. Without a warm up run or course preview, I skied down to the start gate on Twister and jumped right into the gate barely in front of the second round of skis. Out of breathe and rather unfocused, I had no time to prepare for my first run. Adding to my difficulties was a horrid start ramp which made pole placement and a starting kick difficult. Running dead last on the course only added insult to injury. My second run was much more focused featuring a much better start but hardly anything impressive. Racing in the last slot ensured a scraped and rutted course. My time was improved but hardly a very good result.
As a team, we finished a solid second for the night and a respectable third on Monday nights for the season. Our placement was good enough to make the Finals for all nights on Thursday. Though we will certainly be slaughtered by the better skiers from other nights (especially without our top point scorer), it should be a good conclusion to a fun race season. After eight years of not racing, it was fun to be back in the race course though I am unsure if it was worth the two hour round trip drive once per week.
While not a good night for the team, I turned in some decent results and had my highest individual finish at 10th overall. Our team leader pulled five of us together for the race but we were hurting with two of our point scorers skiing out west this week. Said team leader also pulled himself together despite feeling horridly ill which effected his performance and our top point man had a bad night. Despite my great performance, the team will probably drop tonight’s race results as our lowest team score of the season.
Too bad my edges were not sharpened for this race. My race skis have have had at least days use since the last sharpen and tune. Despite two good runs, I never felt connected with my skis. I could have done even better had I really been dialed in with a freshly tuned pair of skis.
I really appreciate the layout and design of the tonight’s course. It was the best course lay out all year, in my opinion. Lots of DNFs and DSQs. The course really punished skiers who were too aggressive and not clean. Some of the turns were probably too aggressive for that type and style of course. Two straight gates out of the start got me going much faster than I had anticipated and I was not quite high enough on some of the gates as a result. Many skiers were not even beginning their turns until getting to the gate resulting in some pretty sensational traverses to save the run. My type of course and the results speak for themselves in that it was not most peoples’ type of course.
Individual Race Results from Pats Peak Monday Week Eight
Team Race Results from Pats Peak Monday Week Eight
Tonight’s course was held on the F.I.S. race trail. The course had larger and more challenging turns than usual, much to my delight, that favored aggressive and clean turns. Showing up late, I snagged the 23 slot but due to half of the racers not making the race start time, my first run was completed in the middle of running order. The course had a good rhythm and the conditions were perfect on my first run which was my better time. Run two was completed in standard running order. Due to being at the end of the pack, conditions were rough on the more aggressive turns. Results turned in a fourth place finish for the team and a personal 22nd out of 53 racers. I opened a gap between my closest competition on the team and closed the gap between the next best skier on the team indicating improvement and a return to better form with a few races down.