Incline’s Nolan-Bowers wins slalom at Heavenly; South Tahoe earns 2nd overall
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Incline’s Paloma Nolan-Bowers stole the show Wednesday in the second race of the Tahoe Basin Ski League season while South Tahoe cruised in under the radar and claimed second place overall.
Nolan-Bowers screamed down the slalom course at Heavenly Mountain Resort with two runs of nearly identical times and earned first place.
Conditions were perfect for racing, firm, but not ice and the sun hit the course shortly after the race started.
She was the fastest down the quick-turn course on the first run, finishing in 23.18 seconds.
She finished second on her next run even though she got down the course in a better time of 23.12.
Her combined time of 46.30 was good enough to edge Truckee’s Kate Kelly (46.68), who was fastest on the second run, and North Tahoe’s Aliza Neu (47.50).
Incline coach Doug Brubaker sees the fun his skiers are having on the slopes this year and thinks maybe taking a step back from serious training and competition has played a part.
“Paloma is not racing with a club this year and is really busy working a job outside of school,” Brubaker said. “Sometimes taking a break from training everyday on a club brings back the love of skiing. None of the Incline skiers are racing in Far West this year, and it’s incredible to watch them just having fun.
“When you have someone like Paloma,” Brubaker added, “who has a very strong race background, watching her have fun brings a smile to everyone’s faces.”
Sophomore teammate Rose Hefferen completed both runs and finished each with the exact same time and earned a top five spot.
Hefferen’s 24.39 on each run put her in fourth place (48.78).
Also for Incline, Rebecca Noble, who has never raced competitively, placed 15th for Incline.
“I am very pleased with both the girls’ and boys’ teams,” Brubaker said. “Most importantly, they have a love of skiing that will last a lifetime.”
South Tahoe was led by freshman Anna Lyle who finished in eighth place out of 45 racers.
Lyle is one of just three Lady Viking returners with slalom experience.
The other two are senior team captain Kesley Buckley who earned 11th and sophomore Annie Ferguson who grabbed 13th.
Sophomore soccer star Marley Befu has brought her athletic skills to the slopes and finished 15th.
“We’re stoked to come in second overall,” said Vikings head coach Barbra Bedwell. “North Tahoe brought a small girls team, they were all top-notch skiers, but only three of them, so it allowed our girls to “steal” second place.
Truckee and North Tahoe are both strong this year with lots of girls, and lots of top-end racers.
Incline has two of the top racers as well, but they’re not that deep. Our girls’ team is pretty young, but they’re scrappy.”
Allen leads way to 2nd place for Vikings boys
North Tahoe swept the podium and won the boys, and overall, title. The Lakers look real tough to beat this season and had five of the top eight finishers.
With the top of the standings North Tahoe heavy, South Tahoe filled in the rest with four skiers in the top 12, good for second place.
“North Tahoe looks dominant this year as well,” Bedwell said.
“Their team is stacked. Some of their B-team racers can place in the top 10. I’m thankful that for the team sport, only the top four racers’ points count, or none of us would have a chance. Our boys team is actually large this year, not a ton of formal race experience, but a lot of really strong all-mountain skiers and tons of style.”
Mark Allen was the Vikings top finisher in seventh (45.98).
He put two solid runs together and was about 10 seconds faster overall than ninth place, his teammate Nolan Langlois, but just four behind the race winner.
Langlois is a first-time racer this year and his top 10 finish was stunning consider the strength of the 45-skier field.
Aksel Ferrier was in eighth place after his first run but couldn’t negotiate the second and was disqualified.
Ralston Johnston earned 11th (57.86) and Peter Anthony finished just behind in 12th (58.33).
“Our top skier is Mark, and he’s looking really strong again this year,” Bedwell said. “Aksel is also really strong, even though he DQ’d his second run. We had a surprise finish by Nolan, who hasn’t raced before this year. The DQ’s really opened the door for him with two solid runs.”
Jack Laurie lead Incline with a 16th place finish and teammate Lukas Burton was 17th.
The next race, a giant slalom, is Wednesday morning, Jan. 15, at Alpine Meadows.