Alpine skiers hit slopes again in Casper

CASPER – Unseasonably dry weather and below average snowpack in southern Montana sent high school event organizers scrambling to find an alternative venue for the Cody Invitational. The two-day meet, Jan. 29 and 30, was originally scheduled to take place at Red Lodge Ski Area north of Cody.

Casper Mountain happened to have enough powder and Cody’s alpine ski team moved the meet to the Hogadon Basin Ski Area. Six teams, including the Pinedale Wranglers, managed to hit the slopes despite the last-minute change in plans.

Athletes competed in two giant slalom runs on Friday, where the gates are further apart, and two slalom runs on Saturday. The times from both runs determined skiers’ overall places.

Pinedale girls’ varsity placed fourth in giant slalom. Junior Allison Gregory broke into the top 10, taking ninth place at 1 minute, 33.27 seconds.

Sophomore Sydney Wise came in 15th, clocking both runs in at 1:38.11. Junior Alena Mika placed 20th at 1:45.31 with fellow junior Katie LaBuda in hot pursuit in 21st place at 1:45.47.

Boys’ varsity finished sixth on Friday, led by sophomore Sean Ruckman in 14th place, timing both runs in at 1:39.71. Senior Walker Wyckoff took 15th place at 1:39.96 with fellow senior Michael Vitanza in 18th at 1:41.47.

Junior Nicholas Boyce came in 22nd in boys’ varsity, timing in at 1:48.23. Junior Zach Maxam placed 23rd place at 1:49.03.

Two Pinedale skiers competed in the junior varsity girls’ giant slalom division. Junior Cora Murphy finished seventh at 1:57.04 and freshman Anastasia Mika placed ninth at 1:59.92.

During Saturday’s slalom competition, girls’ varsity came in fifth overall. Wise took 13th place, clocking in at 2:09.76. LaBuda placed 16th at 2:15.56 with Mika in 17th at 2:18.62.

Aubrey Summers, a skier from Farson racing with Pinedale, placed 19th on Saturday at 2:21.50. Gregory took 22nd place at 3:03.99.

Boys’ varsity placed sixth in slalom on Saturday. Ruckman finished in 18th place, completing both runs in 2:11.44. Vitanza came in a few seconds later in 19th place at 2:29.87. Maxam placed 21st, clocking in at 2:42.87.