This weekend was action packed as Waterville Valley Resort hosted the fastest pro ski racer racers for their second stop on World Pro Ski Tour (WPST) this season. The events were held February 9-10, 2019 on the World Cup trail.
On Saturday, mother nature brought in severe weather with 65 mile an hour winds bringing the temperatures well below zero. A decision was made to move the qualifier to Sunday and run it prior to the Super Slalom event. Sunday, under clear warmer skies thirty racers competed for prize money and points towards the year-end overall title.
Phil Brown, age 27, of the Canadian Ski Team, won Sunday’s World Pro Ski Tour (WPST) race at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire edging out Michael Ankeny, age 28, of the U.S. Ski Team. Third and fourth place went to Robert Cone, age 27, of Killington, VT, and Kei Kullberg, age 23, of Cornwall, NY.
With a field of Olympians, National Champions, and NCAA Champions this excited more than 100 spectators while watching the face off on this dual slalom course. Olympian and overall 2018 World Pro Ski Tour Champion Nolan Kasper 29, of Warren, VT, finished in the round of eight. Gabriel Coulet 35 from Chamonix, FRA, Jack Schibli 23, Charlotte, VT, Alex Tarberry 35, North Conway, NH rounded out the field. Burke Academy and Dartmouth Ski Team had a strong showing with a number of their ski team members entering the event. With a well-rounded field the racers countries spanned from the USA, France, Canada, Russia and Sweden.
The WPST format is different than your average ski race, with a field of Olympians, National Champions, and NCAA Champions facing off side-by-side in a dual slalom course, with three pro-jumps making for an action packed event.
Brown won a Silver Medal at the 2015 World Championships in Vail, Colorado and is a member of the Canadian Ski Team. “I am super stoked to leave Waterville Valley with my first Pro Tour victory. The race was wild with three big jumps, icy conditions and a challenging set. There was a lot of action especially in the early rounds. Anything could happen and you needed to stay focused right to the finish.”
“Unfortunately I wasn’t selected by the Canadian team to compete at the FIS World Championships in Sweden, so being able to come back to North America and compete in the WPST has been an amazing opportunity. I am having so much fun skiing this format and competing against these athletes. WPST definitely does a great job at making ski racing fun - which is most important!”
The WPST format is different, a dual format of racing; head-to-head - not against the clock, horse style start gates, identical race courses, and at this event three pro jumps made this event even more exciting.
The World Pro Ski Tour is currently a men’s professional ski racing tour, yet it is open for all racers. This event highlighted three ladies who came to test their skills. Mardy Haskell 24, from East Burke, VT, Laura Halupowski 26, North Conway, NH and Lisa Wedsjo 24 from Sweden also decided to give pro ski racing a shot. They finished the event in the round of 32 and 16 respectively.
The excitement from fans is a motivating factor for the athletes. Spectators are encouraged and welcome to participate in the pro tour events organised by sponsors such as Tito’s Vodka, Raymond James, Michelob Ultra, Greenhead Lobster, Leki, RXBAR and Booster Straps to name a few. Tito’s hosted the Après and After Dark parties where the fans met the racers.
This event will be broadcast in March on CBS Sports Network, check your local listings and times. For more information visit http://www.worldproskitour.com
The next stop for the tour is Steamboat Springs, Colorado, February 28th - March 2nd, and the final race of the series will be held at Sunday River, Maine, March 28 - 30th. The event will be televised in March on CBS Sports Network.
2019 WORLD PRO SKI TOUR SCHEDULE
- Beaver Creek, CO – Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2019
- Waterville Valley, NH – Feb 7 – 9, 2019
- Steamboat Springs, CO – Feb 28 – Mar 2, 2019
- Buck Hill, MN – Mar 14 – 16, 2019 (*tentative)
- Sunday River, ME – Mar 28 – 30, 2019