The Heavenly boys turned on the heat at China Peak last weekend, setting blistering times down a course that encompassed three quarters of the mountain's overall vertical feet.
Two U12 and one U14 racers from the Heavenly Ski and Education Foundation showed off some speedy Giant Slalom turns Saturday and Sunday at the second Far West Central Series race of the season. The boys had one training day before they hit the GS course for the real deal, and it was enough to earn them a first, third and fourth-place finish.
The course started just below the Fire Bowl tee bar, wound down Academy, made a sharp turn at Tower Nine, and continued into the narrows of Boulder Alley. Long courses like these often cover about a half a mile so the racers needed to be prepared for all sorts of condition changes.
A thick flog layer enveloped the lower half of the course on Saturday, making the transition into Boulder Ally tricky. Course conditions were firm on the first pitch and transitioned into granulated sugar near the bottom. The racers were dealing with all sorts of obstacles, not to mention a succession of rollers right after the finish line.
Hitting average speeds of 40 mph, these young racers banked into curves that would make motorist slow to half that speed.
Tyler Madero used the long race course to his advantage. The U12 skier annihilated the competition by an average of 10 seconds in what was his first Super G race.
Teammate Gunnar Barnwell was hot on his heels, finishing in a respectable fifth place for his first ever speed event as well.
Sean Dunkelman, Heavenly's lone U14 racer, put together a third-place run despite most of the field being twice his size.
"He really shocked the other coaches and racers helping to fuel the intrigue of those other programs on how exactly the Heavenly Ski and Education Foundation turns out such fast racers," coach Billy Barnwell said.
On Sunday, the wind cleared out the fog and firmed up the bottom of the course, but the wind also slowed the racers.
While the snow conditions held up the racers just could not find the speed they did the day before. Madero cruised to another easy victory, and Barnwell just miss the podium by a few tenths.
All in all the Heavenly racers came away with three medals and three podiums. It was a respectable amount of hardware taken away from the Far West Central Series skiers, but these young racers have their sights on even more hardware in Yosemite in two weeks.