U.S. alpine skiers dominate podiums at NorAm cup

By Traci Hendrix | Jan. 31, 2013, 12 p.m. (ET)

Today ended the NorAm Alpine Skiing competition in Kimberley, Canada, and with the number of medals Team USA won, the team can proudly say the event ended on a very high note. With 33 medals following the four-day event, Team USA has had one of their best runs of the season.

The first races of women's downhill resulted in four podium appearances for Team USA. The visually impaired division was dominated by Lindsey Ball (Benton, Maine) and guide Diane Barras (Bethel, Maine) who placed first at a time of 1:32.76. Second place was taken by Stacy Manella (Randolph, N.J.) and  by Kim Seevers (Averill Park, N.Y.).

Women’s downhill standing event found Stephanie Jallen (Harding, Pa.) winning gold at 1:27.87 with Melanie Schwartz, an American who trains in Toronto, Canada, on the podium in second place. 

The second downhill races were, again, taken over by Team USA.

Women’s visually impaired gold medal was won by Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah), who is guided by her husband Robert Umstead. Second place went again to Manella. The second standing event was also metallic for the standing skiers. Schwartz took first place with a 1:27.30 time and Jallen followed to earn a silver medal.

Men’s downhill events soared onto top podiums as well with Brian Follett winning gold in the visually impaired event (2:15.68) guided by Scot Jones.

Standing awarded silver and bronze medals to Jonathan Lujan of Littleton, Colo. (1:21.54) and James Stanton (Oakland, Mich.). Sitting downhill one ended with gold, silver and bronze medals won by Gregory Peck (Wasilla, Alaska) at 1:18.85, Joe Tompkins (Juneau, Alaska) at 1:19.09 and Stephen Lawler (Burlington, Vt.) respectively. Peck, Tompkins and Lawler were in the Top 10 in the downhill one event.

Men’s second downhill event proved to be a success as well. Five podiums for Team USA and six Top 10 performances were a highlight of the NorAm competition.

Follett with Jones took first in visual impaired downhill two event with a 2:08.39 time. Lujan and Stanton took silver and bronze in the standing two event. Andrew Earl Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) claimed the gold with his 1:17.89 sit ski followed by Peck and Tompkins for the silver and bronze.

Kurk, Peck, Tompkins, Lawler, Lujan and Stanton had Top 10 finishes for the men’s second downhill event.

The super-giant slalom ski event also resulted in a major win for the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Team. Women’s first and second visually impaired events were won by Umstead and Mannella for gold and silver. The first standing event gold medal was taken by Jallen with a time of 1:41.25 followed by Schwartz at 1:42.25 for silver. 

Sitting one saw Anna Beninati (Sandy, Utah) on the top podium and sitting two gave her the silver medal. Standing two saw Katrina Schaber (San Diego, Calif.) take the bronze medal, just behind Beninati who took the silver for sitting two.

The men's Super G one and two event gave Follett two bronze medals as well as Stanton for the two standing events. Men’s first sitting event was won by Kurka and third place was taken by Peck. The second sitting event then saw Peck for the silver.

With 19 downhill podiums and 14 Super G medals, U.S. alpine skiers have declared their talent and left Kimberley, Canada, with an American imprint on the snow trails. The team will head next to Tignes, France, on Feb. 3 for the Europa Cup Final.