Jan. 18, 2007

ASPEN, Colo. – After a rough start to her 2007 World Cup season yesterday, Stephani Victor (Park City, Utah) rebounded Thursday to win the first giant slalom event of the year at the Challenge Aspen IPC (International Paralympic Committee) World Cup at Aspen Mountain.

Victor’s final time of 2:30.70 easily defeated Japan’s Tatsuko Aoki for the win, her first on the World Cup circuit in GS since 2002. Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) survived a difficult first run to take third place.

After a DNF (did not finish) and a disqualification in two super-G races Wednesday, Victor said she was happy to bounce back the way she did.

“The most important thing you can have as a ski racer is the ability to forget what happened the day before, both the good and the bad,” Victor said. “I just forgot what happened yesterday and let it all go. That’s the blessing of skiing.”

In addition to the performance by the women’s mono-skiers, U.S. National Team head coach Ray Watkins said he was pleased with the women’s standing skiers as well. Sandy Dukat (Vail, Colo.), Elitsa Storey (Ketchum, Idaho) and Hannah Pennington (Denver, Colo.) raced to 7-8-9 finish.

Mono-skier Carl Burnett (Winter Park, Colo.) and standing skier Brad Washburn had the best U.S. finishes in their respective categories. Burnett finished seventh while Washburn came in ninth.

“Carl put out his best effort today,” Watkins said. “We’re really proud of what he’s been able to do.

Ian Jansing, a wildcard entry from Winter Park, Colo., earned a 15th-place finish in his World Cup appearance.

“He’s been knocking on the door for a long time,” said Erik Peterson, Jansing’s coach and director of the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park. “He’s one of my hardest workers. He just turned 21 and he’s dedicated himself to the 2010 Paralympic Games in Whistler (the alpine venue for the Games).”

Ruthie’s Run, the GS course on Aspen Mountain, proved to be difficult for many skiers Thursday, as 32 of the 80 skiers competing registered a DNF (did not finish). Mono-skier Chris Devlin-Young (Campton, N.H.), who was one of those 32, said the course demanded a controlled run to ensure success.

“You can’t make a mistake and recover on this hill,” Devlin-Young said. “You need to ski a little smarter, a little less aggressively, a little bit passive, almost, and that’s unusual for us.”

Watkins said he feels the skiers will make their adjustments, and that the difficulties the course has provided in the early going will only pay off in time.
“It’s Ruthie’s Run,” Watkins said. “It’s one of the best GS runs in the whole world. There’s a lot of terrain, there’s a lot of blind spots. It’s a great course. If we want the sport to grow and be respected, it’s going to benefit us in the long run.”

Competition resumes Friday with another giant slalom event at Aspen Mountain. The first run begins at 10:00 a.m.

Challenge Aspen IPC World Cup
Giant Slalom 1
Jan. 18, 2007

Women – Mono-ski
1. Stephani Victor, Park City, Utah – 2:30.70
2. Tatsuko Aoki, Japan – 2:43.37
3. Laurie Stephens, Wenham, Mass. – 2:57.31

Women – Standing
1. Andrea Rothfuss, Germany – 2:16.69
2. Solene Jambaque, France – 2:22.41
3. Theresa Kempfle, Germany – 2:24.39
7. Sandy Dukat, Vail, Colo. – 2:33.95
8. Elitsa Storey, Ketchum, Idaho – 2:39.92
9. Hannah Pennington, Denver, Colo. – 2:48.25

Women – Visually Impaired
1. Sabine Gasteiger (Guide: Emil Gasteiger), Austria – 2:34.15
2. Kathleen Forestell (Guide: Emily Glossop), Canada – 2:41.36
3. Anna Kulisova (Guide: Anna Lucanova), Czech Republic – 2:55.39

Men – Mono-ski
1. Martin Braxenthaler, Germany – 2:06.78
2. Juergen Egle, Austria – 2:15.28
3. Reini Sampl, Austria – 2:16.89
7. Carl Burnett, Winter Park, Colo. – 2:20.69

Men- Standing
1. Camero Rahls-Rahbula, Australia – 2:06.84
2. Thomas Pfyl, Switzerland – 2:08.54
3. Toby Kane, Australia – 2:10.40
9. Brad Washburn, Littleton, Colo. – 2:16.03
14. George Sansonetis, Fraser, Colo. – 2:36.27
15. Ian Jansing, Winter Park, Colo. – 2:49.65

Men – Visually Impaired
1. Gerd Gradwohl (Guide: Karl-Heinz Vachenauer), Germany – 2:20.01
2. Gianmaria Dal Maistro (Guide: Tommaso Balasso), Italy – 2:20.97

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