Story and photos by Theresa Da Silva Explore Big Sky Contributor
BIG SKY – Despite the dense fog and intermittent falling snow on Jan. 24 and challenging conditions on Jan. 25, Big Sky Ski Education Foundation racers showed true determination on the slalom course at Big Sky Resort.
BSSEF had two women’s U14 racers on Saturday’s podium as Reece Bell placed first with a time of 34.83 seconds in her first run and 38.28 in the second, for a combined time of 1:13.11. Riley Becker took third with a combined time of 1:22.88. Bell was more than nine seconds faster than the second place finisher on Saturday, Bridger Ski Foundation racer Riley Asbell.
In the women’s U12 division, Franci St. Cyr finished on Saturday with a combined time of 1:32.27 placing her in eighth place overall. In the men’s U12 division on Saturday, Caleb Unger finished second – and fifth overall – with a combined time of 1:30.81. Trailing close behind Unger was Luke Kirchmeyer, who placed third in U12 and seventh overall, with a combined time of 1:32.48.
The racecourse appeared rough and worn on Sunday under mostly clear skies, but the BSSEF racers continued to show grit on their home hill. Bell placed first again in the women’s U14 slalom division, with a combined time of 1:19.20. Coming off a three-week injury hiatus, Bell skied with grace and determination as she finished more than 8 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Franci St. Cyr placed eighth overall in the U12 division with a combined time of 1:32:27.
The men’s slalom results for Sunday had Caleb Unger as the fastest U12 racer and third overall, scoring a combined time of 1:31.58. With a combined time of 1:35.44, Kjetil Hasseman placed fourth in the U12 division and seventh overall. Luke Kirchmayer placed eight overall just behind Hasseman with a combined time of 1:35.75.
The BSSEF Youth Ski League travels to Helena’s Great Divide Ski Area Feb. 14-15 for their next races.