TWST races in Purgatory, giant slalom on the menu

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The alpine ski race season is underway and Taos Winter Sports Team (TWST) athletes are off to a great start.

Weather challenges and adaptability have been the name of the game so far this season. Although the overall development plan has been difficult to follow, TWST athletes have shown that they can go with the flow and that their progressions are still working despite the extreme variability of the season.

The first event of the year was a super-G (super giant slalom) at Purgatory Resort north of Durango, Colorado. TWST athletes enjoyed a day of super-G training where athletes tackled a significant jump with athletes flying from 10 to 30 meters down the hill. The jump progression worked smoothly with athletes gaining confidence with each successive jump.

The next day was race day. In the men’s scored race, a national point system event for U14 and older, Aidan Heflin placed sixth and ninth in a strong field, including athletes from the venerable Vail, Colorado program. Ian Olson increased his comfort with speed events and raced to a 27th and 28th. Isaac Olson raced to a seventh in the U12 group.

For the women, Hailey McDowell came in with two 15th-place results in a race that also included the Vail Army. A particularly exciting aspect of that result was that McDowell placed first and second in the U14 category. Rowan Heflin earned a fifth place in the U12 group.

TWST then tackled two days of giant slalom racing. Athletes enjoyed stellar conditions and were able to ski with confidence. For the U12 women, Heflin increased her speed on every run ultimately achieving a fifth place result in the U12 category in her last race. Overall, Heflin earned a ninth, seventh, sixth, and fifth in two days of competition. Solana Pearl showed consistency with three eighth-place finishes and a seventh. Greta Klinkman also showed improvement going 17th, 15th, 12th, and 11th.

“It’s great to see the consistency and steady improvement from these athletes over the course of the four races, said Coach Sean Cassily. “Each run increased their confidence, and they were able to build additional speed with each success.”

TWST has a deep group of U10 boys that includes: Zachary Schatzberg, Joey Draney, Col Cassily and Sasho McDowell.

“Most of these boys are first-year U10s and they are a strong force,” said Cassily. “They have been working together and pushing each other with positive, supportive energy”

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