PARK CITY, Utah — Warm weather and rain were factors in the third day of the NCAA Ski Championships being postponed, as the course was deemed too dangerous for the slalom races to be held.
Race officials surveyed the course and had initially hoped for a delay of the men’s and women’s competition, but in the end, made the decision to delay both until Saturday. They will now be run at the same time as the final two cross country freestyle events.
Denver leads at the midway point with 299, with host Utah second with 248; the defending national champion Buffaloes are third with 240.5 and New Mexico fourth with 231; the first eastern school is a distant fifth, as Vermont has 186.5 points. The leader at the midway point had won six titles in a row until last year, when Vermont led Colorado by 21½ points through four events only to see CU rally on the last day; the team in the lead at the halfway mark has claimed 10 of the last 13 championships.
The start of the championships were delayed one day in both 1995 and 2009, and in 2011, day two was postponed in advance due a threat of a major storm thus the first four events were all run on the first day. This is the first time there was a postponement of the third day’s events in the 32-year history of the coed championship.
"The course was not in skiable condition, it was dangerous and that was the first concern,” CU head coach Richard Rokos said as rain and warmer temperatures degraded the course. “The safety and quality of race are first and foremost and we couldn’t provide either of those things today. The sun today and cold temperatures tonight should make it much better tomorrow.
“In a certain sense, it won’t flow like it’s supposed to flow,” he added. “We will be in third place another day and put it all on the line Saturday.”
The slalom races will begin with the men’s first run at 9:00 a.m., followed by the women at 10:00 a.m.; the second runs will follow at Noon and 1:00 p.m., respectively. The freestyle races were already moved up a bit after Thursday’s competition, and then again by an hour each late Friday afternoon: the men’s 20-kilometer mass start now set for 8:30 a.m. and the women’s 15k race to follow at 10 a.m.
NCAA Championship Team Scores (4 of 8 events)—1. Denver 299; 2. Utah 248; 3. Colorado 240.5; 4. New Mexico 231; 5. Vermont 186.5; 6. Dartmouth 131; 7. Northern Michigan 125; 8. Montana State 104.5; 9. Alaska-Anchorage 94; 10. Alaska-Fairbanks 76; 11. Middlebury 70.5; 12. New Hampshire 59; 13. Harvard 41; 14. Colby 34; 15. St. Olaf 16; 16. Williams 15; 17. Bowdoin 12; 18. St. Scholastica 6; 19. St. Michael’s 4; 20 (tie). Bates, Plymouth State 1; 22 (tie). Michigan Tech, St. Lawrence 0.