USCSA kicks off opening day of national championships

Western Colorado University’s Conner Nilsen competes in Tuesday’s men’s Nordic race at Mount Van Hoevenberg. (Provided photo — Brett Miller)

LAKE PLACID — The U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association kicked off its five-day long annual Collegiate National Championships Tuesday with a women’s snowboard and freeski rail jam, men’s skier and snowboard cross, women’s Alpine giant slalom and a 7.5-kilometer classic Nordic race in warm weather under cloudy skies.

Alpine competition kicked off at Whiteface with a women’s giant slalom. The field of over 140 athletes became a field of 93 at the start of the second run. Emilie Stene from Vermont State University Castleton ended the day at the top of the podium after a commanding second run, putting her comfortably in first place. Following the first run, she sat in second place, 0.052 seconds behind leader Hilde Sato from Rocky Mountain College. Stene had the fastest second run by over a second, eventually giving her the lead by 0.67 seconds. Stene is a first time national champion.

Rocky Mountain College had a successful team day and secured the first team National Championship of the week.

Sato finished in second place, with teammates Bergitte Varne finishing in third place, Synne Gaustad Kvinlog in fourth place and Sofia Brustia in fifth place.

The women will return to competition on Thursday to compete in slalom. The men’s giant slalom was held on Wednesday.

Rocky Mountain College’s Bergitte Varne competes in the Alpine portion of the USCSA 45rd Annual Collegiate National Championships at Whiteface Mountain on Tuesday. (Provided photo — John DiGiacomo)


Nordic competition returned to Mount Van Hoevenberg with icy trails after an overnight freeze. Following an hour delay to let the snow warm up, athletes competed in a 7.5K freestyle race. Clarkson University won its first-ever men’s team championship in Lake Placid.

“Today was a big win for our program,” Clarkson head coach Torin La Liberte said. “Having come close many times over the last few years, to finally be back on top of the podium at our home course shows how much work the team has put in to get here.”

The Paul Smith College’s men’s team placed second followed by Western Colorado University in third. On the women’s side, St. Olaf College won the team national championship, followed by University of Wyoming in second and Paul Smith’s College in third.


At the snowboard and freeski venues, Liberty University won the team Collegiate National Championship in women’s Snowboard rail jam while the Claremont Colleges topped the podium in women’s freeski rail jam. At the Cross venue, Rocky Mountain College won the men’s ski cross team title and Lees-McRae College’s men’s team won the snowboard cross.

There are 626 Collegiate athletes representing 71 colleges and universities that are competing at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard National Championships. This includes Alpine, snowboard, freeski and Nordic teams which qualified through their Regional Championships. Events include Alpine giant slalom, Alpine slalom, dual slalom, Nordic sprints, Nordic relays, Nordic distance, slopestyle, skier cross, snowboard cross, rail Jam, snowboard slalom and snowboard giant slalom.


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