Swiss skier embraced by Heavenly
Back home in Switzerland, Pascal Odermatt could only train on weekends and Wednesdays if he didn’t linger after school too long.
Odermatt has been on snow five days a week this winter while training with the Heavenly Ski Foundation team, and the extra training time is paying dividends.
The 11-year-old won a pair of Far West J5 giant slalom races March 8-9 at Mammoth Mountain.
“I like competing, and I like winning,” Odermatt said on Wednesday, his face brightening as he finished his second thought.
“He fits in perfect with our boys,” Heavenly coach Mark Norton said. “He trains and races hard, while having lots of fun. He will be missed next season.”
Odermatt and his family spent time in New Zealand before arriving in Lake Tahoe for the winter. He is being home-schooled but will return to his homeland for the next school year. “This has been an incredible experience for Pascal and our family,” said Erwin Odermatt, Pascal’s father. “He wanted to do more (training). This helps with Pascal. He’s so happy and so full of energy.”
Trailing Odermatt for Heavenly were Connor Novak, 26th and 32nd; Griffin Hobson, 37th and 43rd; and Austin Allen, 37th.
Heavenly’s J5 girls showed their depth with nothing worse than a 17th place. Natalie Williams led the pack with a 10th and ninth, followed by Mikaela Clothier 14th and eighth, Maia Bickert ninth and 14th and Michael Gardner with a pair of 17th places.
The J4 boys were reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour on their super-G course. South Shore’s Ty Sprock, who skis at Diamond Peak, placed first and third in the super-G races. Kirkwood’s Brian Francis was seventh twice and Grayson Burdon was 14th and 27th. Diamond Peak’s Connor McKeen (South Lake Tahoe) placed 17th and 21st.
Hughston Norton led Heavenly with a sixth and fifth, while Wyatt Denny finished 25th and 20th, Chad Kaassamani placed 45th and 28th and Grant Dunkelman was 80th and 69th.
Kirkwood’s Sinclaire O’Grady was 15th and 32nd in the J4 girls’ super-G races.
Sierra’s Henderson tops podium
Connor Henderson led three Sierra-at-Tahoe racers in the top four by winning a Tahoe League “Big G” race last weekend at Northstar.
Not far behind Henderson in the boys’ 11-12 division were Jared Lindner in third and Sawyer Cairns in fourth. Sierra also was well-represented in the second 10 with Noah Palmieri 12th, Jake Krzaczek 13th, Luke Daum 15th and Tyler Cottrill 16th. Alec Bowman was 21st and Samuel Neill 28th.
In the 11-12 girls’ race, Sierra’s Katie Sears and Kailey Killeen were 23rd and 39th, respectively, out of a field of 49. Heavenly’s Riley Chapman was 26th and Ayden Williamson 35th.
Sierra’s Reid Lambres topped the podium in the 13-14 boys’ division. Teammates Nick Tilley, Matthew Murray and Ben Prager finished sixth, ninth and 12th, respectively. Heavenly’s Kody Dangtongdee was third.
In the 13-14 girls’ division, Sierra’s Kelsey Henderson placed seventh while Sasha Smolgovsky finished 14th.
Sierra’s 15-and-up skiers, Erich Baumann and Crystal Rutledge, finished first in their respective divisions with times of 1 minute, 1.57 seconds and 1:03.54. Baumann’s time was the fastest of the day. Aimee Pitcher finished seventh in the 15-and-up girls’ division.
Several of Sierra’s younger skiers participated in Saturday’s Big G event, including 7-8 boys Ben Yurovitsky and Steffan Drugan, who finished 16th and 27th, respectively, out of 71 skiers. In the 9-10 boys’ division, Sierra’s Alan Smolgovsky and Grant Swift finished 25th and 26th, while Sinead Danagher finished 23rd in the 9-10 girls’ class.