×

Slovenian Triumphs at Suicide Six Telemark Event

  • Norway telemark coach Troels Larsen yells encouragement to his skier Kristian Lauvik Gjelstad during the Telemark World Cup at Suicide Six in South Pomfret, Vt. on Jan. 20, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Skier Larry Bosche, of USA, rounds the last section of the Sprint during the Telemark World Cup at Suicide Six in South Pomfret on Jan. 20, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Antoine Belanger-Morin, of Canada, takes a jump during the Sprint at the Telemark World Cup at Suicide Six in South Pomfret, Vt., on Jan. 20, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Telemark skier Sarah Carley, of USA, approaches a jump when competing in Sprint for the Telemark World Cup at Suicide Six in South Pomfret, Vt., on Jan. 20, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, January 20, 2018

South Pomfret — Slovenian skier Jure Aleš finished his first run close enough to Telemark World Cup standings leader Nicolas Michel to know that first place was within reach during Saturday’s sprint event at Suicide Six.

His plan for run two: give it everything he had.

Aleš put together a near-perfect second run that he finished in a day-one best 55.98 seconds to edge Swiss speedster Michel on Suicide Six’s bumpy and deceptive retrofitted-for-telemark course. It was the first World Cup victory of his career.

“It’s a great boost for my confidence,” Aleš said.

Great Britain’s Jasmin Taylor left the course with a similar feeling, earning her first World Cup victory with a 1.60 second margin over Germany’s Johanna Holzmann. After the podium ceremony, she posed for photographs with a British flag draped over her back near the finish line.

“I think my 12-year-old self would be happy with what I did today,” Taylor, 24, said.

Taylor, a Colchester, England, native, skied a combined 2:08.13 with three penalties. Holzmann placed second (2:09.73) and France’s Argeline Tan Bouquet took third (2:11.58).

Aleš finished the course in a combined time of 1:53.50 over two runs, beating out Michel by 0.17 seconds. Stefan Matter, also from Switzerland, finished in third place (1:56.36).

“(Michel) is really consistent,” Aleš said. “The Swiss guys, they all have a lot more practice then us Slovenians. He’s also a very great skier and skater. He’s, right now, one of the best guys here. I hope that can soon change.”

Michel held a 0.39 second lead over his Slovenian opponent after the first run and still holds a 325-280 lead over Aleš in the World Cup sprint standings.

“I think there are five or six racers where, one day it can be one of us, the next it can be another,” Michel said. “I think it was a good day for me. Second place, I’m happy with this. Jure was just awesome today. It’s good that Jure won.”

Aleš said he started out as an alpine skier before he was introduced to telemark skiing at a young age by his father, a telemark instructor. He joined the World Cup circuit in 2012 and began to find his way into the top 10 by 2015.

But Aleš seems to have found another gear since the new year, finishing 0.82 seconds behind Michel in the Telemark World Cup sprint event at France’s Pralognan-la-Vanoise last week before finally tasting victory.

“The last two races, I finished in second place,” Aleš said. “I was really close. Today, I just said after the first run that I wanted to risk everything. Fortunately, it paid off.”

The course, Aleš said, was “really tricky.” Each gate — the space between and in front of the course’s flags — seemed to have a different consistency of snow, leaving skiers to figure out on the fly how to effectively approach each obstacle.

“Every gate was completely different,” he said. “Some places it was really icy, then the next turn it was really soft. It was tough. It was really hard to get the feeling in your legs like, how to approach it. If you’re fast or not.

“All the guys said, it was really difficult to ski on this slope. But it’s good to have races with difficult conditions so you can show your all-around skills. It was good to have races like this.”

Both Taylor and Michel said the approach to the course’s jump was the toughest challenge.

“This race, you have to work every gate differently,” Michel said. “The snow was a bit different.”

Added Taylor: “It was interesting and different than what I’m used to. But new challenges are always good.”

Aleš, Michel and Taylor will all compete in today’s World Cup parallel sprint event at Suicide Six. The three-day event finishes up on Monday before heading north to compete at Sugarbush Resort beginning Wednesday.

Notes: Cory Snyder, of Fraconia, N.H., led all Americans in 13th place with a 2:09.30 combined time, 15.80 behind the male leader, Aleš. Jeffrey Gay finished in 14th place (2:11.37) and Dylan Antoni Weglarz finished in 33rd (2:22.78). … Americans Sarah Carly (2:28.63) and Sara Godek (2:47.21) finished in eighth and ninth place, respectively, out of a 10-woman field. … About 50 people gathered to watch the sprint events, both from the edge of the reipeløkke (the rap) and from the finish line. Several skiers also stopped along the trail to take in the competition. … Those who made it to the podium left with a box of cheese from Cabot Creamery in place of a medal.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.