Diamond Peak Ski Team U16 alpine racers traveled to Snow Summit Ski Resort in Big Bear, Calif., to kick off the first Junior Olympic qualifier race of the season on Jan. 11, 12 and 13.
The top 14- and 15-year-old Far West racers competed fiercely during three days of slalom racing in the first of three races in the Wild West Race Series.
Amanda Pretti led the Diamond Peak Ski Team, moving up from fourth place on Day 1 to finish third on Day 2. She then finished off the weekend in style with a win for the U16 women on the final day.
Teammate Annika Hansen also had three days of successful racing, finishing 10th, 11th and fourth. DPST racers Erica Kennedy (13th, 15th), Aly Kennedy (23rd, 16th), Alaina Chen (28th, 27th) and Connor Novak (29th, 15th) also brought in solid results for the Diamond Peak Ski Team against a competitive field.
The Wild West Race Series consists of three separate race events, each three days long, in slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom. At the conclusion of the series, the top men and women finishers will advance to compete in the Junior Olympics to be held March 19-23 in Alyeska, Alaska.
Next up in the Wild West Series is a giant slalom at Northstar on Feb. 1-3.
Complete race results can be found at http://www.fwskiing.us/Competition/Results/U16.htm.
The Diamond Peak Far West Division U10/U12 racers skied in their first two-day slalom of the season on Jan. 12 and 13 at Sugar Bowl Resort.
It was a sunny but brisk morning on both days with temperatures below 0 degrees, creating firm and grippy snow conditions on the courses.
On the first day, the Diamond Peak U12 (10- and 11-year-old) ladies saw a podium finish with Julia Holm taking third place on Saturday with her teammate, Rachel Delaney, racing to a fifth-place finish.
For the U12 men, Satchel Hirsch finished in the top 15 with an 11th place and Brent Wolf was close behind in 17th. Aidan Pretti, the only U10 (under 10-year-old) entered from Diamond Peak, skied to a fast fifth-place finish.
On Sunday, Delaney skied to 12th place for the U12 ladies, while Holm earned 16th place. For the U12 men, Hirsch finished 17th and Wolf 20th. On the U10 front, Pretti raced a quick course that earned him a third-place finish, his first podium of the season.
Head Coach Josee Lacasse said the young Diamond Peak racers are a force to be reckoned with and the team is one of the strongest teams in the division.
"We are strong and will get stronger as the season progresses," Lacasse said. "We are so proud of the kids' progress, and can only smile at what the future will hold."
The next Far West U10/U12 race will be giant slalom at Squaw Valley on Feb. 2 and 3.