RMSIA 2017 Preview

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 • by Brooke Fredrickson, RMSIA

MIDWAY, Utah & BOZEMAN, Mont.—The 2017 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association season kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 7, with the Nordic team traveling to the Utah Invitational and alpine heading to the Montana State Invitational.

Utah hosts the Utah Invite in conjunction with the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow Resort in Midway, Utah. The meet begins with the women's 10-km free at 10:00 a.m. and the men's 15-km free at noon on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Invite continues with the classic sprint races on Sunday, Jan. 8, with the men's qualification at 10:00 a.m. and the women's qualification at 11:00 a.m. Collegiate scoring will be compiled from the qualification race.

The Montana State Invitational begins on Jan. 8 with the men's and women's giant slalom with the men's and women's slalom races on Jan. 9. The races will be hosted at the Big Sky Resort.

Also on the docket is a RMISA giant slalom qualifier on Jan. 7, hosted by Montana State. The RMISA qualifier races do not count towards any team scoring, but are used as an extra opportunity for skiers to earn qualification points for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.

Each meet concludes next weekend, Jan. 12-15, with the Nordic teams at the Montana State Invitational and the alpine teams at the Utah Invite, held at Snowbasin in Huntsville, Utah.

Denver is coming off its 23rd NCAA title in 2016 with Colorado finishing second and Utah third. All three schools return multiple All-Americans, as well as Montana State and New Mexico. Montana State had its best showing at NCAA's last year with a fourth-place finish. Alaska Anchorage also has several strong skiers returning. Westminster, which only sponsors an alpine team and does not compete at the NCAA level, has multiple skiers who have had top-10 finishes in RMISA competition.

The RMISA sees a change in its membership for 2017, adding Alaska Fairbanks for nordic competition. The Nanooks previously competed in the Central Collegiate Ski Association from 1992-2016.

Continue below for more on each school as we head into the season.

Alaska Anchorage

Alaska Anchorage returns multiple skiers who have NCAA experience. In alpine, Hughston Norton is a three-time NCAA competitor who tied for 14th in the slalom last year. Curtis McKillop has twice raced at the NCAA Championships. For the women, Maria Gudmundsdottir led the women's team at NCAA's with a 12th-place finish in the giant slalom while Charley Field is a two-time NCAA racer.

On the Nordic side, the Seawolves have two returning NCAA competitors, Toomas Kollo for the men and Casey Wright for the women. UAA has several newcomers who will be looking to make their mark on the Nordic side, four in women's and two in men's.

Alaska Fairbanks

The Nanooks return 16 total skiers, including all four skiers that represented Alaska Fairbanks at last year's NCAA Championships. On the women's side, Nichole Bathe is a two-time All-American in the classic (2014, 2016) while Anne-Tine Markset and Sarissa Lammers also represented the Nanooks at the 2016 NCAA Championships. Michael Fehrenbach is a two-time NCAA competitor for the men.

Alaska Fairbanks recently won the Fairbanks Youth Sports 13th Annual Nordic Cup in November.

Colorado

Probably the most dominant returning skier in the RMISA, the men's Nordic team is led by Mads Stroem, a three-time NCAA Champion and six-time All-American who has 14 career victories and 26 podium finishes in 32 career races. Petter Reistad is a two-time All-American while Jackson Hill was an NCAA competitor in 2015. For the women, Petra Hyncicova, Ane Johnsen and Jesse Knori are all returning All-Americans on the Nordic side while Lucy Newman also has NCAA championship experience.

In alpine, All-Americans Ola Johansen and Max Luukko both return for the men. Johansen was the 2016 RMISA Alpine MVP. Freshman David Ketterer has had several strong finishes in preseason FIS races. For the women, the Buffs return a pair of All-Americans in Nora Christensen (2016 slalom) and Tonje Trulsrud (2016 giant slalom).

Denver

Denver returns multiple All-Americans from its 2016 NCAA Championship team. In men's Nordic, Moritz Madlener is a five-time All-American while Lars Hannah and Dag Frode Trolleboe both earned All-America honors in 2016. The women's Nordic squad has four All-Americans, including two-time All-American and 2016 NCAA 15-km classical champion Linn Eriksen. Taeler McCrerey and Aja Starkey also earned All-America honors last year while Sylvia Nordskar, who did not compete last year, is a four-time All-American for the Pioneers.

On the alpine side, Erik Read was the 2016 men's slalom NCAA champion and is a two-time All-American while Sebastian Brigovic is a four-time All-American. For the women, Monica Hübner, the 2015 NCAA slalom champion, is a three-time All-American. Tuva Norbye earned All-America honors in her first season last year.

Montana State

All six 2016 NCAA competitors return in alpine, all who earned All-America honors last season. For the men, David Neuhauser is a three-time All-American while Morten Bakke is a two-time All-American. Garett Driller earned All-America honors last season in the slalom. On the women's side, Benedicte Lyche is a two-time giant slalom All-American while Stephanie Gartner and Jocelyn McCarthy were also All-Americans in 2016.

In Nordic, Anika Miller was the 2016 NCAA champion in the women's 5-km freestyle. Johanna Talihaerm also competed at the NCAA Championships last year in women's Nordic. For the men, Karsten Hokanson competed at last year's NCAA Championships while Erik Axelsson was a competitor for the Bobcats at NCAA's in 2015.

New Mexico

On the Nordic side, Eva Sever Rus is a four-time All-American for the women. She was the 2014 NCAA champion in the 15-km freestyle. Kati Roivas finished second at NCAA's in the 15-km classic as a freshman. For the men, Niklas Rombock and Petteri Vaherkoski both competed at NCAA's last year, while Alja˛ Praznik earned All-America honors in the freestyle in 2014 and is a three-time NCAA qualifier.

In alpine, Rob Greig earned All-America honors in the men's giant slalom last season. Tyler Theis also competed at the NCAA Championships. For the women, Sydney Staples is a two-time NCAA competitor while Katharine Irwin and Karoline Myklebust also have NCAA Championship experience for the Lobos.

Utah

Utah's alpine team looks to be particularly strong, returning all but one member of last year's squad, including 2016 NCAA Champions Endre Bjertness (men's giant slalom) and Julie Mohagen (women's slalom), along with All-Americans Joergen Brath, Chloe Fausa and Roni Remme. Fausa and Bjertness are both three-time All-Americans while Mohagen is a two-time All-American. The Utes also add two former U.S. Ski Team members to the roster.

Of Utah's 12 Nordic skiers, seven are newcomers to the team with many bringing strong credentials with them. All-Americans returning are Kevin Bolger (2016 classical), Natalia Müller (2016 freestyle) and Anna-Lena Heynen (2015 freestyle and classical).

Westminster

Westminster finished fourth last year in the overall RMISA alpine standings with the men finishing third and the women fifth. Tim Lindgren is in his fourth year with the Griffins with several wins and top-five finishes to his name while senior Jonas Nyberg has also been strong for Westminster. On the women's side, Marie Aufrere, Anne-Solene Bregou, Ann-Kathrin Breuning and Sofia Novoselic have all had strong finishes on the RMISA circuit.

Colorado Mountain College and Wyoming are also associate members of the RMISA.

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