El Nino Tour bothers Betschart | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Nino Tour bothers Betschart

Michael Traum

Wisi Betschart is just happy to be competing.

While funky weather caused many World Cup Alpine races to be postponed this season, they were generally rescheduled.

But Betschart races on the rung just below World Cup – Nor Am and Europa Cup circuits. And many of those weathered races weren’t rescheduled.

As a result, going into this weekend’s Chevy Truck U.S. National Alpine Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Betschart has had less than six races – total.

“It’s been the El Nino tour pretty much. There was too much snow and rain on the Nor Am and not enough snow in Europe. Everything’s been postponed or canceled,” said Betschart from his Jackson Hole hotel. “Hopefully the World Cup guys are burned out. We’re just getting going.”

Betschart, 21, of South Lake Tahoe, is competing in his seventh nationals. He was seventh in the national super-G in Maine last year. He has been skiing well in the second-tier events, with a handful of top-20 outings on the Europa Cup, a ninth in a recent Nor Am and a third in a FIS race. He’s currently the ninth-ranked American in the super-G.

But despite the mind-bending numbers game, Betschart knows this weekend is his scoring opportunity. It begins with a Nor Am on Friday, followed by the first national race, the downhill, on Saturday. He’ll ski in all four national events.

With excellent-to-superb outings, a young career’s worth of being on the edge of stardom could be resolved.

“It’s all right there. This is probably the most important weekend ever,” he said. “I’m looking for a top five in the speed events. I know I can ski that well. It’s just getting everything to go.”

Putting it all together has been Betschart’s biggest opponent. World Cup starts have been nonexistent since when he was a teen-ager. And he’s added knee rehabilitation to his battle for the world stage.

Simply, Betschart is ready for some consistency.

“I’ll ski great, but always find a place on the course to mess up and lose speed. I’ve been able to cut out all of the little nagging mistakes and (now I) have just one big one,” he said. “But you just have to work through it and pretty soon you get into a zone and you can’t mess up.”

Betschart will head to the Nor Am finals in Canada after the U.S. Nationals. Currently ranked in the top four in the Nor Am super-G, he hopes to finish in the top two and earn an automatic place on the World Cup circuit for next year.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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