Giant Slalom in Les Houches sees new names to the fore


It was bumpy and in places it was gnarly but the racing was as keenly contended at the top of the field as it had been in the slalom for the first of the two Giant Slaloms. With the course having steeps, … flats and terrain direction changes, this gave some of the young racers plenty to contend with. When all was done and dusted there were four new winners for the week of racing: Alicja Krahelski’s invincibility had been tested and Olivia Ward just held on to win in the Under 14 girls; Jessica Anderson produced a stunning second run to take the win in the Under 16 girls; Matthew Heginbotham took the win in the Under 14 boys while Iain Innes confidently won the Under 16 boys.

With all the racers attacking the same course, the more racers that came down the course the bumpier it got some areas. Despite great work from the coaches and parents in trying to maintain an equal playing field, the ability of some of the racers meant mistakes crept in. Many of the racers will have gained valuable experience in keeping their speed going across the flat sections as well as dealing with the bumps – this is what these racers are all about: Getting experience.

Olivia Ward had had a mixed bag of runs in the slalom and yet still kept plugging away and not losing faith in her ability. On the first run in the Giant Slalom she put it all together and the result was a commanding win over all the other girls in her age group. Krahelski, knew that if she was to make it three wins from the three races, she would have to raise her game in run two. Ward held on by just two hundredths of a second for a memorable win. Megan Riley took second on the first run, pushing Krahelski down to third, just a hundredth ahead of Sarah Glasgow. On the second run Krahelski was back to winning ways with Ward in second and Shana Danenbergsons in third after she had put in a much better performance. Megan Riley took fourth ahead of the impressive Olivia Mitchell, who was the best of the first year Under 14’s. Riley took third overall with Danenbergsons fourth and Mitchell taking the honours of the best first year racer in fifth.

In the Under 14 boys Matthew Heginbotham took the first run comfortably with Owen Vinter, in his first national GS after having made the jump up from Mini (Under 12) racing, taking second. Scott Waitt was third leading a very tightly packed bunch of six racers all within just over a third of a second. In the second race Vinter became the first of the Under 14 first year racers to win a race as he edged out Heginbotham by seven hundredths. It has long been known that Vinter has a lot of talent and he will be one to follow this season. Kristofer Berglindarson took third on the second run with just enough to overhaul Oscar Mccall for third in the overall as well.

In the Under 16 girls race, Anna Henderson put in a stormer of a first run to take the lead in a time that put many of the boys to shame – her time was good enough for third in the boys race! A mistake that saw her testing the taste of the snow on the second run saw Jessica Anderson storm in to win the second run and take the win overall. Erika Heginbotham made it a good day for the Heginbotham family as she took second place overall. Yasmin Cooper and Francesca Lee took places four and five overall.

In the boys race Iain Innes destroyed the rest of the field on the first run with a commanding lead of almost one and a half seconds. For the second run it was going to be catch up for the rest of the field. While Zac Vinter raised his game to win the second run ahead of Innes, Innes had too much in reserve to win the race. Duncan Kuwall took third place ahead of another impressive young racer, Angus Wills.

Tuesday sees the final race of this excellently organised and run series of races.