Diamond Peak skier Casey Delaney tore it up to finish second overall in men's giant slalom on Day 1 of the Far West Race Series at Mount Shasta this past weekend, while Payton Norton charged to take second for the men on Day 2.
Athletes from around the Tahoe Basin and as far away as Mammoth made the five-hour journey north to participate in their second Far West Race Series event of the season.
Nearly 80 competitors were in each of the boys and girls fields, and all of them were challenged with steep, firm conditions that made for some hair-raising action, as the course involved a steep pitch out of the start for six turns, funneling into a narrow section and onto a second pitch. On average, the coures was more than a minute long.
"These were some of the toughest race conditions that we've seen for the U14 race group," said coach Raquel Norton.
Winston Pretti (fifth, ninth), and Cory Huber (sixth, 11th) joined their teammates in the top 15. Huber was in fourth place and on his way to a win on Sunday before dramatically crashing his second run due to an equipment failure. Also on Sunday, Noah Cleary was skiing fast when he hooked a tip and ripped out a gate and panel before losing a ski and sliding down the steep pitch in a spectacular crash.
Of the seven Diamond Peak U14 ladies competing, Madison Idso led as her team's top scorer, finishing in the top 10 on Saturday, tying for 10th place. On Sunday, Idso (fifth) continued her reign in the top 10, joined by teammate Sophia Holm (10th), whose stellar Day 2 performance saw her move dramatically in her rank.-
Emily Donahue had consistent results with a 20th on Saturday, followed by a 22nd on Sunday. Teammate Bridgette Johnson improved her 24th from Saturday to take 19th on Sunday, right behind Laurel Taylor. Taylor leapt up the scoreboard on Day 2, jumping from 35th place on Saturday to 18th.
Despite the intimidating conditions, the weekend was marked by outstanding performances by all team members.
"I couldn't be any prouder of the U14 athletes. They've been training hard and it shows," said coach Mark Norton.
Many of Diamond Peak's 23 U14 racers (ages 12 and 13) have been training five days a week to hone their ski racing techniques and tactics.
"The dedication of the skiers and their families continue to amaze us this season," Norton said. "The weekend prior to this race, our athletes were on the slope training in minus 10-degree temperatures before most people had their first cup of coffee."
All of the Diamond Peak Ski Team athletes can be seen skiing in the 2013 UllrFest torchlight parade on Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. For more information visit www.dpsef.org.