Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Typically, the 2004 Chevrolet U.S. Alpine Championships would signal the end of the ski season for ski racer Lisa Perricone.
But this isn't a typical year for the 19-year-old from Steamboat Springs.
"I got a slow start this season," Perricone said.
Her slow start was the result of a broken collarbone. Now she is hoping a solid showing at the nationals will signal the start of her journey to the top.
"It was chronic for her," said Tony Nunnikhoven, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine director. "But she more than made up for it at the National Championships."
Perricone broke the bone in November and came back in January only to break the bone again. She was sidelined for most of the season but returned to the snow in late February -- a few short weeks before the National Championships, which took place March 14 through 26 at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska.
"I think the most frustrating thing was watching everybody else ski," Perricone said.
But her performance at the National Championships helped to erase some of the sting of the season.
She opened with a 13th place finish in the downhill and seventh in the slalom during the final major event of the season.
"I was really happy," she said of her finishes. "Most of the year, I just wanted to be back on snow. The slalom is my least favorite event, but I've always had strong results."
The top finishes highlighted the week for the members of Steamboat's women's team in Alaska.
The events opened with a pair of downhill events March 18 and 19.
U.S. Ski Team member Jonna Mendes won the races, followed by teammates Lindsay Kildow in second and Julia Mancuso in third. Perricone was 13th in that race. Steamboat's Emily Colin landed sideways off one of the air bumps and suffered an ankle injury that impacted her performance for most of the week.
The next day, the women returned to the downhill course where Mendes won her second race of the week. Mancuso followed in second, and Libby Ludlow, another U.S. Ski Team member, was third. Perricone was 24th in the race, and Colin did not start because of the sore ankle.
On March 20, the women competed in the super-G. Kildow won, Mancuso was second, and Ludlow was third. Steamboat's Lindsay McClure was 26th, Colin returned to finish 27th, and Perricone did not finish.
Perricone led the Steamboat skiers in the women's slalom event March 21 with her seventh. Kildow won the event, Mancuso was second, and Katie Hitchcock was third. Steamboat's Tina Roberts was 11th, and Heidi Hillenbrand placed 21st.
The women wrapped up with the giant slalom race March 23. Ludlow won the women's title, Mancuso was second, and Jessica Kelly was third.
Steamboat's Roberts was 20th, McClure was 25th, Hillenbrand was 35th, and Emily Colin was 37th.
Perricone said there are several spring race series left this season, but most of the major events are over.
She plans on racing in those events and taking part in several summer camps this summer.