Next up, Utah will compete in the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational, Jan. 13-15.
Jan. 3, 2005
The preseason No. 1 (Ski Racing Magazine)seeded University of Utah ski team opens the 2005 season by hosting the annual Utah Invitational, Jan. 5-6. The season opener will begin Wednesday, Jan. 5, and will consist of the men's giant slalom, women's slalom and both classical races. Thursday, Jan. 6, will feature the men's SL, women's GS and both the freestyle races.
The alpine venues will be hosted by the Park City Mountain Ski Resort, Eagle Arena, while the nordic events will be raced at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. Races begin at 9:30 a.m. (MST).
Head Coach Kevin Sweeney led the coed team to a second-place podium finish at the 2004 NCAA Skiing Championships and a third-place performance at the RMISA Western Regional Championships.
Utah was led by junior skiers Henning Dybendal, Ben Thornhill and Barbro Hatlevik. Former Ute Dybendal swept the NCAAs, winning both the nordic events and becoming the only men's NCAA duel gold medalist. Thornhill was awarded with his second NCAA gold medal, repeating as the giant slalom champion. Hatlevik earned the NCAA bronze medal after finishing third in the 5-km free-technique event.
2005 SKI RACING MAGAZINE PRESEASON RANKINGS:
Utah 144 Denver 141 New Mexico 139 Colorado 131 Vermont 117 Alaska-Anchorage 78 Middlebury College 59 Dartmouth College 58 Nevada 44 Alaska-Fairbanks 9
QUOTING COACH SWEENEY:
On Preseason Workouts: "I am optimistic for a very good showing at the season-opener for both the cross country and the alpine squads. We are well prepared, however may not be at our top level. As anticipated, some athletes are skiing very well right now, while a few others are recovering from a virus and small nagging injuries incurred prior to the holidays. I may sit out a few athletes...I'm evaluating this on a day-by-day basis with head trainer Bob Toth.
On The Utah Invitational: "We've had some excellent training in preparation for the cross county team, however the alpine squad has had difficulty finding consistent gate training. The new snow and storms are great, but it causes havoc in race course preparation. This is not new in the sport of ski racing. This is where we have to have excellent mental preparation and focus.
On The Season: "It will be great to get the season underway. There is a lot of anticipation to see how we will do after such a great fall of training. I'm sure it will take a few races to reach our top level, but we have to get started. The team veterans need to be leaders, set the stage and instill confidence. We are a really solid team so it's going to be very exciting to watch the season unfold. I'm very excited to be able to host the season-opener at Soldier Hollow and Park City. Both venues are in great shape, we just need the weather to cooperate so we can have quality and fair racing. I know the entire race circuit really enjoys this stop on the tour because the race venues are so meticulously prepared."
RETURNING NCAA CHAMPIONS:
Senior and two-time GS champion Ben Thornhill will be returning for his third-season with the Utes. Fellow senior Lina Joansson rejoins the team after skiing to a first-place podium spot in the SL at the 2003 NCAA Championships.
-Nordic Recruits: Magnus Carlsson and Nicole Naef -Alpine Recruits: Mark Heinrich-Wallace, Matic Ramus and Kim Stephens
University of Alaska, Anchorage University of Nevada Reno Montana State University University of Utah University of Colorado Western State College University of Denver Whitman College University of New Mexico Boise State University
Utah will travel to Jackson, Wyo, to ski at the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational. Alpine events will be held at the Snow King Resort, while the nordic races will be skied at the Trail Creek Ranch. Events will be held Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 13-15. Races begin at 10:00 a.m. (AKST).