Academy racers refuel after frantic December schedule

Max Lamb posts best points result of career

Prior to the 2007-2008 ski racing season, Crested Butte Academy alpine director Drew Cesati explained that while pre-season training had gone well for his athletes, it all comes down to what happens on race day.




Now, a month into the season, Cesati has seen some solid results from a handful of his athletes, from both his older racers as well as some strong work by his younger skiers.
Academy post-graduate racers Liz and Tim Woods opened their season at NorAm Cup races in Lake Louise, Alberta at the start of the December. Senior Max Lamb raced in a flurry of slalom events throughout Colorado; the freshman class got a taste of a very competitive group of J3 racers (ages 13-14) in their division.
While Tim found himself far down the list on the final results at Lake Louise, Liz had a strong start in her first race since suffering a serious knee injury in 2006.
Liz finished in 16th place in the downhill on day one of the two days of downhill races and then stepped up a place on day two with a 15th-place finish.
“Two top-30 finishes for Liz coming off a knee injury was good for her,” says Cesati.
Academy freshman Alex Jerred stomped onto the Colorado ski racing scene at a weekend of races in Breckenridge on Saturday and Sunday, January 5-6.
Jerred posted a 12th-place finish on Saturday, January 5 in the giant slalom and then jumped into the top 10 with an eighth-place finish in the second giant slalom event of the weekend.
“It was pretty impressive,” says Cesati. “The top skiers in the nation in his age class are coming from this region. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but the kid knows where the fall line is.”
Other notable results from Cesati’s younger athletes include a second-place finish by freshman Mick Osmundson and a third place finish from freshman Anthony Romano at a J3 Junior Olympic qualifier event here in Crested Butte on January 5-6.
“Mick could be winning these and for Anthony to get a third place is an accomplishment,” says Cesati.
In addition, Osmundson went to the Topolino Time Trials in Winter Park. The time trials in Winter Park brings in the top 20 J3 racers in the Rocky/Central Division for a shot at one spot on the U.S. team going to the Trofeo Topolino International Children’s Championship held in Panarotta, Italy.
Osmundson finished the trials in eighth place, short of making the team, but Cesati still considers Osmundson’s accomplishment worthy.
“To be among the top 20 is a testimonial to his abilities,” says Cesati. “Mick got an idea of how strong his peer group is and it was a huge learning experience for him and he’ll be better off for it.”
The highlight of the entire month came from Lamb’s performance at the Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup Slalom races at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs December 21-22.
After a solid opening run on December 21, moving into the top 10, Lamb faltered on his second run that evening to drop back and finish in 58th place.
“He has struggled all month with his second run,” says Cesati.
He regrouped for the second day of slalom races on December 22, shaking off his second-run troubles. After placing top 30 in his first run, Lamb scorched the course to finish in third place on his second run and take 10th place overall, first among junior racers in his age class.
“He scored the best result of his life,” says Cesati. “With this result he’s moved up to third place in the nation in his age.”
Lamb is psyched with his slalom results in the first month of the season.
“It’s good because I usually do better later in the season,” says Lamb. “Doing well in the beginning is a change so I’m stoked.”
 The icing on the cake for Lamb at the Steamboat race was that he beat his former Academy teammate and friend David Chodounsky on his second run.
Chodounsky races for Dartmouth College and is one of the top collegiate slalom racers in the nation. Chodounsky won the race overall but the single run result was gratifying for Lamb.
“That was exciting,” says Lamb. “It’s good for my confidence and it shows if I can put two of those runs together I’m right up there.”
Cesati looks for the individual results in the first month of racing to trickle down and inspire the rest of the team.
“Certain individuals stood out and the group is going to benefit from these performances,” says Cesati.
The Academy athletes will spend January working on speed events such as the downhill and Super G with the Woods and Lamb in Sugarloaf, Maine at a NorAm and the rest of the team at Smartwool Series races at Keystone.
Between events, Cesati and his coaching staff will have the team doing early-morning speed workouts in Paradise Bowl on Crested Butte Mountain.

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