The Stratton GS this past weekend included thrills and spills on the world famous North American
venue! The race included a living legend, local heroes, nationally ranked competitors, and a whole lot of
folks that just wanted to go fast and have fun! The field was faced with a combination of hard packed
conditions and powder that accumulated as quickly as it fell. The first set was tight and required each
racer to fight the grueling fall line while the second course allowed racers to let their hair down and take
advantage of their long boards!
Killington raised racer Alex Andrews took the lead after the first run for the women with Lauren Bennett,
Lisa Marien, Cinthia Audet, and Jackie Levy on her heels. In the second run, Audet found her groove for
the come behind win, continuing her ascent through the rankings and taking possession of the coveted
Janeway Cup, leaving Alex and Lauren settling for second and third respectively, hockey enforcer and GS
guru Lisa Marien in fourth and Jackie in fifth when the dust settled. Clarkson University grad Emma
Masur spanked her first run, while Ms. Consistency Daria Zamolodchikov laid down a fantastic second
run in an attempt to catch Emma, but was left separated by one hundredth with Emma taking sixth
overall and Daria in seventh. Next came Sally White who strutted into eighth ahead of both Noreen
Knortz and Margaret Vaughn. Hot off her Middlebury domination, Noreen went for a repeat, but
Vaughn responded to squeak in front of her with a smoking second run taking ninth and leaving Noreen
to round out the top ten.
Other notables included Class 2 welcoming back fire fighter Christy Humason after a year’s recovery!
Also noteworthy was the three-way match between Sarah Wilson, Elizabeth Spears and Valerie Nealon!
The three began the day with Sarah and Valerie separated by five hundredths, but Elizabeth kicked the
second run and was able to take the lead over Valerie while Sarah improved her position to beat them
both. It will be a trio to watch in the next GS series! Also, notable on the second run and proving the
Knortz women are just as fast as their men, Taylor Knortz blitzed the course winning the second run
after pre-releasing in run one. Call me crazy, but I think she was gunning for big brothers Chris and
The overall men’s title went to Stratton coach and St. Michael’s alumni Andrew Nault who took the field
by just over a second. Following in hot pursuit and making his annual NEMS appearance was Plymouth
State College Hall of Fame Inductee and Stratton local Patrick McNamara, who won the Janeway Cup.
Nault and McNamara would significantly gap the field with a stout display of home hill dominance.
Early on, it appeared Chris Knortz would challenge the Stratton boys, but a second run DNF left older
brother Matt to take the mantle as he skied past the reigning Sise Cup champion Ben Green and into
third overall, with Ben in fourth. Pepi “flash” Neubauer continued on his lightening streak that began at
Middlebury when he laid down two amazing runs that almost closed the gap on Green to take fifth
overall! Dave Harris proved all his Okemo training is paying off by taking sixth. A three way battle for
seventh opened up across three class 7’s after the first run with Scott Reichhelm taking the lead, Mark
George in hot pursuit and Chris Wilcox within striking distance. The second run only made things tighter
as in his usual form, Mark pulled out a stellar second run with Chris only hundredths behind.
Unfortunately for them, Scott’s first run proved too much to overcome and he took seventh with Mark
and Chris in eighth and ninth respectively. To round out the top ten was farm tough Aaron Donnan, who
returned for a sophomore effort after his debut at Middlebury!
As usual there were tight battles all over, but noteworthy ones follow. Italian convert Andrea Occhi,
World Cupper Bob Hill, and Eric Stearns competed within the top fifteen with Eric toping Bob by one
hundredth in the first run and Andrea trailing. In a twist, Andrea dominated in the second run to close
the gap and take the win over Bob who trailed overall by a few hundredths and Eric followed in
fourteenth by a few tenths. Meanwhile, Hill’s son Jeremy put down his basketball to challenge Mike
Carreira and James Russell for top 20 over the two runs.
Another nugget included fine skiing by young buck and legendary 10th Mountain Division Veteran Dick
Calvert in class fourteen!! He dominated his class and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the class 12 men
for rank all day!
The biggest class of the day was Class 6 men, who claimed among them second place finisher
McNamara! Other notable happenings in Class 6 include the battle to be in the top twenty between
Spencer Sprecker, Peter Johnson, Klas Holm and Jim Tomassetti . While Tomassetti would take the early
lead with his tactical style, it would be Spencer that would reign supreme when the day was done.
The Class 7’s saw a Rooney vs Mooney duel, with Dave Mooney leading after the first run, but Mike
turned on the after burners to overtake him in the second run with a finish divided by just tenths! Never
to be outdone the class ten men saw Ted Bidwell and Ken Lozeau duke it out again this weekend. Ken
took revenge the first run after Ted got the better of him at Middlebury. However, in the second run
Ted proved he can ride the fast flat ski and nuked the bottom section to overcome Ken’s lead and take
the third in Class ten behind class leader John Lussier and Canadian ace Guillaume De Paoli, respectively.
Also of note, US Telemark Team Representative and all around badass Mark Haberle made his second
appearance in Masters racing this year. The Waitsfield, Vermont native is nationally ranked and sported
perfect “drop-a-knee” form down the entire course. You think Stratton’s North American is a challenging
hill, try it with a free heel!
Yard Sale of the Day Award
Goes to Chris Knortz, who got an ice cream headache when he caught an
edge and launched himself through a gate into fresh powder that decidedly filled his GS suit on run 2.
We’re looking forward to a rematch between he and brother Matt next weekend!
And that rounds out the Stratton GS races this weekend! Check out Whiteface this coming weekend for
more racing and speed!!