Colorado moves to head of class
Vermont slowed in NCAA opener
Rainy weather on the horizon caused the NCAA racing, set to begin today, to move up their first races, so both Nordic and Alpine races ran yesterday in Stowe, Vt.
When the action finished at both venues, Colorado was in the lead with 408 points.
Dartmouth followed with 362 points and Utah checked in third with 353 points. Vermont is fourth with 349 points.
At Mt. Mansfield, Colorado took first in the women’s giant slalom with 104 points. Vermont was second with 103, and New Mexico rounded out the top three with 90 points.
New Mexico won the men’s GS with 98 points, followed by Colorado (92) and Utah (85). New Hampshire was the top Eastern school, finishing fourth with 75 points.
At Trapp Family Lodge, headquarters for the Nordic racing, Colorado flexed its muscle in the women’s 5-kilometer freestyle, netting 122 points, ahead of second-place Dartmouth (110). Vermont earned third with 96 points.
The men’s 10-kilometer freestyle was Dartmouth’s best race of the day. The Big Green picked up 130 points for the win, while Utah (101 points) took second and Colorado (90) third. UVM had to settle for fourth with 85 points.
Action resumes today at both venues, weather permitting.
On the up and up You see them skiing up the hill when you’re skiing down. Called randonnée, ski mountaineering, or Alpine touring, races are popular in Europe and growing across the United States, largely in the Rockies but here in New England, too.
“To me, it’s the best of both worlds,’’ said US Ski Mountaineering Association director Pete Swenson. “I like to go fast downhill and also enjoy Nordic skiing. That is what ski mountaineering is all about.’’
Raised in North Conway, N.H., and living in Colorado, Swenson, 43, recently competed with the US team at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Italy last month.
“New England is still a few seasons behind the Rocky Mountain West,’’ he said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me that in time it will become a real hot bed.’’
There are a couple of upcoming races in Vermont at Magic Mountain (March 12) and Bromley (March 26). A worldwide race calendar is at www.ussma.org.
Beat the pro Skiers and snowboarders can test themselves against a couple of Maine snowsport icons this month.
The snowboard-only Sugarloaf Baked Slalom debuts March 19 at the Carrabassett Valley resort, where riders in five age categories vie against two-time Olympic boardercross gold medal winner Seth Wescott.
Modeled after the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, first held in 1985 at the Washington State ski area and considered the forerunner to boardercross, the field is capped at 100. Age categories are 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39 and 40-plus. Wescott, 34, plans to compete.
At Sunday River, Simon Dumont — the freeskiing multi-medal X Gamer who won ski halfpipe bronze at February’s World Championships — plans to be on hand for his third Dumont Cup March 25-26. Open to 200 amateurs, the pro-am contest features $20,000 in cash and prizes.
Dumont designs the course in the Rocking Chair terrain park. Pros Peter Olenick, Jossi Wells, Tom Wallisch, and Gus Kenworthy are expected.
Registration is at www.dumontcup.com.
Festival time Telemark skiers descend on Vermont’s Mad River Glen this weekend for the 36th NATO Telemark Festival. The two-day event features demos, clinics and quad-testing competitions such as the all-mountain Beserkebeiner Championship Saturday, and Sunday’s Free Heel Free For All Bump contest . . . Mountain bikers compete four at a time down a snowy course during the 2011 Winterbike Championship Series, stopping at Sunday River Saturday and Bretton Woods March 26. There are big air contests too, with proceeds benefiting the New England Mountain Bike Association . . You know it’s spring when the wacky promotions pop up on the calendar: At this Sunday’s 5th Big Air Dummy Contest at Mount Sunapee, a $20 entry fee allows you to launch a fake human form of a skier or snowboarder off a jump, with cash prizes for best designed, biggest air, and — of course — best crash. The dummy must weigh no more than 150 pounds, and helpful hints, such as “no explosives or flammable materials,’’ are posted at www.mountsunapee.com. And if you go through all the trouble of constructing a ski dummy, you might as well plan on hauling it to Cannon March 19 for the Splash Pond and Crash Test Dummy Race, which features a “live’’ person pond-skimming contest followed by the “dummy’’ category.
Such a deal(s) Lucrative end-of-season midweek deals are beginning to sprout: Show up today or tonight at Nashoba Valley wearing day-glo neon 1980s retro skiwear and your lift ticket is only $8 . . . Waterville Valley has dropped Wednesday and Thursday pricing to $25 through the end of the season . . . Co-owned Attitash and Wildcat have reduced Fridays to $35 . . . Online-only Wednesday tickets at Crotched Mountain are now $25 . . . There will be no shortage of discounted skiing on St. Patrick’s Day: Attitash, Mt. Snow, Waterville Valley, and Wildcat all have $17 lift ticket specials. The same pricing applies at Mad River Glen and Wachusett (with the stipulation that you show up at the ticket window wearing green), and at Jiminy Peak (as long as you purchase in advance using an e-coupon). Stowe has a $39 St. Patrick’s Day discount. Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend with races and discounted lift ticket prices, including $10 tickets tomorrow and $3 prices Sunday.
Globe correspondent T.D. Thornton contributed to this report.