They’ve got just two races under their belts this season but Whistler Mountain Ski Club products Emma King and Charley Field have already made strong starts to the winter.
Both in their second year on the B.C. Ski Team women’s roster, Whistler’s King and Pemberton’s Field each posted the best Nor-Am Cup results of their careers by placing in the top 20 of Sunday’s (Dec. 2) super-G at Copper Mountain, Colo.
King and Field ranked in the top 30 for Saturday’s (Dec. 1) super-G, the first race of the season for both, but improved on their finishes Sunday with King placing 13th and Field finishing 20th.
“The first day, I had a bit of the first-race jitters and didn’t have my best run, but managed to stay in the top 30, so that was good,” King said Monday (Dec. 3) from Colorado. “The second day … I was feeling more into the race than the day before.”
The fast times continued into downhill training for both 17-year-olds this past week ahead of races at Copper starting Wednesday (Dec. 5) after press time. Field finished fifth in Monday’s first training session, ranking first among U18 skiers, while King was quick in the early runs as well.
“My confidence level is pretty good,” Field said after the training-run top five, noting that she’s becoming more comfortable with racing at the Nor-Am Cup level. “I’m getting more familiar with them, but I’m still learning a lot.”
B.C. Ski Team head coach Gregor Druzina said it’s still “all about development” for King and Field considering that they are still quite young compared to most skiers racing Nor-Ams, but added that he’s been pleased with what he’s seen at the speed stop at Copper.
“It’s going pretty well. Both of them like speed, so it’s nice to be down here,” said Druzina. “For both of them, last year was kind of a learning experience. This year, we’ll try to break through in all disciplines and put ourselves in the top 30, but in speed I think we can get even top 15.”
The B.C. team is a fairly young group overall this year, but Field said getting the chance to work with veteran squad members like Sarah Elliot and Sarah Freeman has been a big boost to her development.
“I love being able to watch both of them ski,” she said. “It’s really nice to be able to learn from them.”
King had two top-30 results last year in Nor-Am Cup competition, and having already matched that total, she’s hopeful it’s a sign of things to come during the 2012-13 campaign.
“This year is hopefully going to be a more successful year,” she said. “We worked all (offseason) on techniques, lines and just trying to perfect our skiing before the races came.”
King said her main goals are to lower her FIS points and beat her bib number in each outing, though she’d also like the chance to ski at home in Whistler for alpine nationals in March. Field is simply hopeful to leave each race feeling good about her performance and is glad to be back between the gates.
“I’m just super excited to continue racing and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” she said.
McLeish making comeback
Whistler’s Madison McLeish had missed nearly a full calendar year with injury problems, but the national team skier made her return to racing in the super-Gs at Copper.
The 20-year-old finished 34th in Saturday’s race and improved to 19th the following day — earning a top-20 result in a Nor-Am Cup event for the 23rd time in her career.
“Coming back from an injury, my confidence isn’t there, but today was an improvement on yesterday,” she wrote on her Twitter account after Sunday’s race.
Whistler’s Sofi Leroux, a former B.C. Ski Team member now attending Idaho’s Sun Valley Ski Academy, raced Saturday’s super-G and finished 40th.