The Cody Alpine ski team finished second at the Pinedale Invitational during the weekend at White Pine Ski Area.
It was an up and down weekend for the teams, with some great moments mixed in with a few “not good enoughs.”
“It’s not enough, we’ve got some more work to do and have to be pushed to do it,” Sterling Banks said.
David Reed and Aspen Kalkowski each had the top performances of the weekend with sixth-place finishes in giant slalom.
“The course was not that steep so it allowed me to focus on what my next line around the gate should be,” Kalkowski said.
Both teams were within striking distance of Jackson after Friday’s GS, but neither was able to close the gap on Saturday in slalom.
Kalkowski placed eighth and Catherine Lovera ninth for the Fillies in girls slalom, while Banks, Reed and James Davis held down spots seven through nine respectively in the boys race.
Banks said the team needs to start skiing less conservatively.
“We have to work together as a team, as a unit,” he said. “When we’re pushing in the course, we need points to beat Jackson, it’s not just about you.”
Banks said he fell into this trap earlier in the season, holding back a bit on his runs in order to earn guaranteed points, yet sacrificing his highest potential.
“It got in my head and prevented me from pushing,” he said.
Coach Rick Stonehouse made the comparison to a game of basketball in that the team is not playing all four quarters.
“Right now we’re playing about three pretty good quarters,” he said. “With most of them we’re getting three really good runs, but not four necessarily. They need to be reminded of the importance of the team concept.”
Banks said after some bobbles in his first few runs of the weekend, he really let it fly in his last slalom run. In that race he cut 2.48 seconds off his time, the biggest improvement from any competitor between their first and second runs in that race.
“In that last run I just let it go,” he said.
Both teams solidified their weekends on Saturday as the Fillies fended off Natrona for second and the Broncs pulled out of third to easily cruise past Kelly Walsh for second.
The Alpine teams will ski Thursday and Friday at Hogadon Basin Ski Area outside Casper for a makeup race originally scheduled for last weekend after it was postponed due to frigid temperatures. After that, the teams go to state in Jackson on March 5-6.
Since the last two races of the year will be back-to-back, there will be no more opportunities for on-snow practices this season.
“I think it works to our benefit,” Stonehouse said.
Stonehouse said the boost in confidence the team can gain from having a strong closing weekend will be key at Hogadon.
Kalkowski met the negative side of this opportunity last year, as a fall she took in her last regular season race set the tone for her state performance.
“Last year I crashed in slalom the last weekend and it messed with me really bad at state,” she said.
1. Jackson 148 (69, 79)
2. Cody 86 (40, 46)
3. Kelly Walsh 64 (41, 23)
4. Laramie 41 (21, 20)
5. Natrona 3 (0, 3)
6. Pinedale 0 (0, 0)
1. Jackson 139 (63, 76)
2. Cody 66 (34, 32)
3. Natrona 61 (32, 29)
4. Laramie 38 (17, 21)
5. Kelly Walsh 22 (16, 6)
6. Pinedale 16 (9, 7)