Sunny and fast, Colorado impresses | SteamboatToday.com

Sunny and fast, Colorado impresses

University of Colorado's Tonje Healey Trulsrud celebrates atop the podium Saturday after winning a giant slalom race at Steamboat Ski Area.

— University of Colorado skier Tonje Healey Trulsrud had only been to the United States once before starting her freshman season skiing with the Buffaloes, so this fall and winter, there was a lot to adapt to.

The team helped a lot with that, she said. She's one of 17 foreigners on the team and one of 10 Norwegians.

Still, there was class to contend with. She's pursuing an engineering degree, and even the snow took some getting used to.

"The snow is pretty different from Europe," she said. "It's super dry. I had to adapt my skiing to it."

Saturday, she fit in just fine. The second Alpine skiing stage of the Spencer J. Nelson Memorial Invitational, a University of Colorado event, sent skiers through a giant slalom course on the new All Out ski run and competition venue.

She won the women's race with a combined-runs time of 1 minute, 56.58 seconds, pairing the second-fastest time on each run to earn the overall victory by 0.15 seconds.

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"I was surprised," she said. "I thought I had lost it."

She skied just well enough to keep University of Utah's Julie Flo Mohagen from pulling off a sweep at the top of the podium. After winning Friday night's Howelsen Hill slalom, Mohagen was second Saturday.

New Mexico skier Katharine Irwin was third.

Utah's Endre Bjertness won on the men's side, edging out a pair of competitors with a time of 1:55.26. Rocky Mountain Division skier Kipling Weisel was 0.21 seconds back in second, and Westminster College skier Giulio Bosca was third for the second day in a row.

The course was long, down across the base of the See Me trail, then to a finish on the side of the slope on the Headwall trail.

Two flats — the first high, where the Sitz and See Me trails meet, and the second low, leading to Headwall — may have dictated a racer's success.

"It wasn't as important to ski super good in the steep part, as long as the last three gates of the steep part, you made sure to have all your speed," Trulsrud said. "The flat spots were long, and you got punished if you didn't have speed."

Overall, however, she left impressed.

"It's actually a fun hill, fun terrain all the way," she said.

Those chamber of commerce-worthy comments may be a quick summary of her first months in the United States.

What's stood out so far, besides the snow?

"I love that it's sunny all the time," she said.

There has been the sun, and the studying.

"It's tough sometimes," she said, "but it's part of the reason I came here. At least I still get to ski, too. I love it."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

Spencer Nelson Memorial GS results

Top finishers and local racers

Women

1 Tonje Healey Trulsrud, Colorado, 1:56.58

2 Julie Flo Mohagen, Utah, 1:56.73

3 Katharine Irwin, New Mexico, 1:56.95

31 Katie Hostetler, Colorado, 2:03.62

Men

1 Endre Bjertness, Utah, 1:55.26

2 Kipling Weisel, RMD, 1:55.47

3 Giulio Bosca, Westminster, 1:55.68

17 Max Marno, Denver, 1:57.32

27 Alex Barounos, New Mexico, 1:58.16

36 Tai Juneau, CMC, 2:00.52

51 Graham Black, CMC, 2:05.74

54 Nicolas Englad, CMC, 2:11.14

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