Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The name may have changed but the athleticism, skill and good old-fashioned fun and sportsmanship still exist in the annual town downhill race at Eaglecrest.
JoJo Griggs and David Lowell captured the overall female and male championships, respectively, in the Craig Lindh Memorial Town Downhill. The race, open to skiers and snowboarders, was renamed this year for one of Eaglecrest’s pioneers, Craig Lindh, who died on March 1.
Griggs was the first skier in the chute and posted the time to beat of 47.48 seconds.
“It was pretty fun,” Griggs said. “It’s definitely cool to represent women in ski racing just in the town level. I would like to encourage more girls to stick with it and still be competitive.”
Griggs said she attacked the course with the “attitude of just having fun and getting an adrenaline rush” and her time held for roughly half the competition until Brian Vandor hit 46.51 seconds.
Vandor gave up the lead 10 skiers later when David “Captain America” Lowell - so called because of his giant slalom race suit choice of the comic book Avengers characters red, white, and blue uniform - blistered the course in 45.30 seconds.
“I am really honored,” Lowell said. “Craig was a great guy. I like to come up here and ski Eaglecrest just like they did and share the time with family and friends. It is really great that they could pull this off, it took a lot of effort, and I am very appreciative of it and I had a blast.”
Griggs was followed in the overall women’s finishes by youth skier Caitlin Sanders in 51.51 and Julia Nave in 51.71. Lucy Squibb had the third-fastest women’s adult finish, after Griggs and Nave, finishing in 51.72, after earlier helping set up the course.
Sanders topped the youth female podium, followed by Eva Meyer in 51.78 and Minta Schwartz in 54.90.
“It was exciting,” Sanders said. “I had a really good time on the course and it was a lot of fun. I let my skis fly, but kept good direction, kept early on the course.”
Lowell was followed on the overall men’s podium by Vandor and Don Meiners. Meiners’ 48.71 finish knocked his younger brother Tom’s 49.02 finish off the medal stand.
Finn Lamb topped the youth male podium in 52.26, followed by Michael Orsborn in 52.47, and Andrew Sanders in 53.80.
Ami Reifenstein topped the female snowboarders with a 1:09.78, followed by Christy Baseden in 1:13.40.
Lennon Weller topped the male boarders with a 1:06.69, just edging Jonny Antoni who posted a 1:06.71, and Kevin Maier with 1:16.32.
Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan said the return and naming of the giant slalom race was a no brainer.
“We couldn’t be more enthused,” Scanlan said. “This meant a lot to the entire community, especially the race club. We have been talking about a big GS race and getting it back to the mountain since I have been here. It has to be at least five years. Now to be able to memorialize Craig and bring this back and just build the community enthusiasm for ski racing is a really magnificent thing.”
Long-time Eaglecrest skier Gary Stambaugh said he watched the action with Craig’s widow, Barbara, and Craig’s daughter, Hilary.
“We old-timers skied 46 years here on the mountain with Craig, and he was so passionate about making a place for everyone to enjoy,” Stambaugh said.
Barbara Lindh said she was amazed by the turnout.
“It was the community ski area at its best,” she said.
Hilary Lindh, an Olympic medalist who spent some of her youth on Eaglecrest and has a run named after her, said she watched some of the race.
“We were skiing most of the time,” she said. “Which I think really honors my father’s spirit. He was not so much into racing if there was good snow to be had. It was fun to see people and check in with everyone. It was a real honor for the race to be named after my dad.”
Before the awards presentation, Eaglecrest Board of Directors member Mike Satre recognized Craig Lindh’s ski contributions.
“Craig was a true leader of all skiers, the ski club, and the entire ski community,” he said. “We owe Craig a huge debt for even being able to ski here today. So I want everyone to just take a moment, think of your best thought of Craig, and silently give him thanks.”
Craig Lindh Memorial Town Downhill overall results (name, gender, age class, race class, time):
1- David Lowell male adult ski 45.30; 2- Brian Vandor MAS 46.51; 3- JoJo Griggs female adult ski 47.78; 4- Don Meiners MAS 48.71; 5- Tom Meiners MAS 49.02; 6- Shane Kelly MAS 49.69; 7- Willis McGeigis MAS 50.09; 8- Pat Shanley MAS 50.23; 9- Nick Yankee MAS 50.32; 10- Peter Peel MAS 50.58; 11- Caitlin Sanders female youth ski 51.51; 12- Gavin Gende MAS 51.56; 13- Julia Nave FAS 51.71; 14- Lucy Squibb FAS 51.72; 15- Eva Meyer FYS 51.78; 16- Heidi Hall FAS 52.06; 17- Travis Oen MAS 52.25; 18- Finn Lamb male youth ski 52.26; 19- Kayla Harmon FAS 52.37; 20- Michael Orsborn MYS 52.47; 21- John Lang MAS 52.89; 22- Kyle Paddleford MAS 53.66; 23- Andrew Sanders MYS 53.80; 24- Ian Fay-Hiltner MAS 54.49; 25- Minta Schwartz FYS 54.90; 26- Nikki Box FAS 55.04; 27- Jonas Lamb MAS 55.21; 28- Ben Blanford MAS 55.28; 29- Miriam Satre FYS 56.13; 30- Annika Schwartz FYS 57.47; 31- Cole Somers MAS 57.70; 32- Riley Dale FYS 1:01.40; 33- Charlie Herrington MAS 1:02.01; 34- Jed Davis MYS 1:02.73; 35- Maike Undurraga FAS 1:02.74; 36- Sarah Lowell FAS 1:02.81; 37- Elias Schane MYS 1:03.60; 38- Jacob Dangeli MAS 1:04.45; 39- Delphine Hochstoeger FYS 1:05.27; 40- Ed Vandor MAS 1:05.71; 41- Lennon Weller MASnowboard 1:06.69; 42- Jonny Antoni MASb 1:06.71; 43- Alder Caovelter MYS 1:07.66; 44- Ami Reifenstein FASb 1:09.78; 45- Carolyn Auwaerter FAS 1:11.71; 46- Mallory Story FAS 1:12.73; 47- Christy Baseden FASb 1:13.40; 48- Kevin Maier MASb 1:16.32; 49- Daniel John MYS 1:33.60; 50- Dashiell Hillgartner MAS 1:36.79; 51- Jason Van Groningen MASb 1:37.04; 52- Cindy Audet FAS 1:45.90; 53- Ryan Story MAS 1:54.17. No place: Reed Maier MYS 53.39 DQ Missed Gate; Matej Kenda MAS 1:08.65 DQMG; Deborah Craig FAS 1:22.88 DQMG; Ed Squibb MAS DNF; Brian Tyler MAS DNF. Numerous competitors did not start the race after initial practice runs.