Plans modified for Mendes, Betschart
Two local World Cup ski racers have less than a month left to accomplish goals they each established for this season.
Jonna Mendes, fresh from her career-best finish at the Vail World Championships, has opted for a more relaxed schedule prior to the World Junior Alpine Championships. Slated for March 3 -12 at Pra Loup, France, Mendes is a strong bet to medal in either of the speed events.
This will be the last chance for the 19-year-old to try for gold, since junior competition is limited to those in their teens. Just last spring, Mendes captured the silver medal in downhill at the same event. Preparing for the competition as an odds-on favorite has made the South Shore local adjust her late winter plans.
“Originally, I was going to go directly from the Vail Worlds back onto the World Cup tour, which would have taken me straight to Are, Sweden, for five days. Then I was supposed to travel directly to St. Moritz for another downhill and then right on to the Junior Worlds. There was going to be absolutely no time off to rest before the Juniors and it’s really important to me to do well there, since this is my last year as a junior,” Mendes said.
“So I talked with my coaches and explained that I want to ease off a little, so now I’m just staying around here to compete in Nor-Ams until I go to Pra Loup. I had a nice five-day break at home after Vail. Now I’ll go to Canada for two downhills and a super-G. After that are three more races at Sugarloaf, Maine; but afterward I’ll be able to come home again and rest up before the Junior Worlds.”
Experiencing more rest than racing is Mendes’ teammate and fellow South Shore resident Wisi Betschart. After a disappointing miss at the Vail Championships, ski team coaches added Betschart to the roster for the season’s last four World Cup races. He had been scheduled for start positions in both super-G and downhill events at first Garmisch- Partinkirchen, Germany and then Kvitfjill, Norway.
However, bad weather has brought more disappointment since the Garmisch venue was canceled this past weekend. Rain had fallen on the Bavarian resort for three days; this after two solid days of heavy snow, which called off the training runs required for the downhill. Later this week, FIS officials will decide if Germany’s canceled downhill and super- G will be tacked onto the Norwegian site.
Running the four speed events at Kvitfjill will double Betschart’s chance of gaining more precious World Cup points, which would improve his starting numbers for next season.
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