Alpine Ski races to the finish at state championship

Benjamin Borselli, Staff Writer

The WA Alpine Ski team closed out their season on March 1, racing against 21 ski clubs from across Massachusetts at the state finals. The slopes of Mt. Wachusett were crowded with over 300 skiers ready to take their shot at the state title. Westford raced hard coming into the states, but when it came to the finals, neither the WA girls or boys teams were able to place.

Westford raced in the Boys & Girls Slalom, Boys Giant Slalom, and Girls Giant Slalom placing highest in the Giant Slalom competitions. Senior varsity skier Nick Valcourt came in tenth for the boys and Olivia Valcourt in eleventh for the girls. The skiing was fast and the times close. Both skiers finished no less than a second slower than the race leader.

Many other Westford boys also placed in the Giant Slalom: junior Tyler Murray in 58th, senior Brendan Hughes in 103rd, and sophomore Alexander Popelka in 117th.

While the Westford team succeeded in the Giant Slalom, they struggled in the Slalom.

“The Slalom was definitely affected by the poor snow surface,” Nick Valcourt said. “[It] was terrible, making for a really tough race on a tough hill.” 

Due to a conflict when planning the courses, the positions of the tight and slower Slalom course and the wide and faster Giant Slalom course were switched. This made what was originally supposed to be a more flat section for the Technical Slalom course a slow and tedious Giant Slalom.

The last-minute course changes had their biggest effect on the slalom, making it much steeper than it was originally intended, which added an extra layer of difficulty.

The effects of these poor conditions could be seen throughout the race, with nearly 20% of skiers in the Boys Slalom and 13% of the girls either not finishing the race or getting disqualified, including Westford skiers Olivia Valcourt, Murray, and Hughes. 

Despite this, Westford skiers Nick Valcourt and Popelka were able to place 49th and 73rd respectively. 

In the end, neither the WA boys nor girls teams were able to place among the top 15, while Mohawk Regional High School took the state title for the girls and Saint John’s Preparatory School won for the boys.

Valcourt was happy with the team’s success this year as a whole, with the boys team clinching their third DCL title in a row, but was unsurprised with the outcome of this race.

“The race was good, given we only had two kids who had real experience on a track that long, we did about as good as we could have,” Nick Valcourt said.