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Flathead racers earn medals on Whitefish ski slopes

| February 28, 2024 12:00 AM

The Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation hosted a series of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association races at Whitefish Mountain Resort last weekend on Ed’s Run. The U14-U18 races included a giant slalom on Friday, and slaloms on Saturday and Sunday. 

Over 110 athletes from Northern Division teams including FVSEF, Blacktail, Missoula, Discovery, Great Divide, Bridger, Big Sky, Red Lodge, Casper (WY), and the Black Hills (SD) participated in the competitions which served as the final qualifiers for the U14 and U16 Western Region and Tri-Divisional championships in March.

The Flathead team expects several of its athletes to be named to the championship teams which will travel to Alyeska, Alaska (U16s), Grand Targhee, Wyoming (U14s), and Big Sky/Bridger Bowl (U14/U16 Tri-divisionals). 

Flathead U14 racers Leo Bungener (Whitefish) and Colter Bengtson (West Glacier) both found the podium. 

Bungener was third in the giant slalom, second in the first of the two slaloms, and won the final slalom on Sunday.  Bengtson climbed from sixth in the giant slalom and fourth in the first slalom to a third-place finish in Sunday’s slalom. 

On the U16 girls’ side, Greta Lund (Polson) crashed hard in the giant slalom but came back strong for a second and third place finish in the two slaloms.

Under 18 (U18) racer Melody McNally (Columbia Falls) won both races she entered, the giant slalom on Friday and the slalom on Saturday. McNally had already qualified for both the U18 Nationals and the U18/U21 Western Regional Junior Championships (WRJC). She will be traveling to compete at the WRJC next week in Stevens Pass, Wash., with the Northern Division team.

Podium winners were again awarded with unique snowflake medals crafted by Ryan Boyle’s intermediate and advanced welding students at Whitefish High School. The students cut the medals on a Plasma CAM machine and laser engraved the graphic.

Race Results:

GS 

U18 Girls

Melody McNally 1st

U16 Girls

Sydney McPhie 6th 

Lola Zinser 8th

GuineviereTomblin 16th 

U14 Girls

Kira Paatalo 6th

Claire Graham 8th

Avery Retz 9th

Finlee Klocke 10th

Sierra Nelson 11th

Ella Elliott 25th

Mischa Schmidt 26th

U16 Boys

Parker Retz 5th

Brayden Hoover 7th

U14 Boys

Leo Bungener 3rd

Colter Bengtson 6th

Soren Lund 7th

Wyatt Nadeau 10th

Rylan Hoover 14th

Cristiano Wright 21st

Ace Lee 27th

SL 1

U18 Girls

Melody McNally 1st

U16 Girls

Greta Lund 2nd

Lola Zinser 7th

Sydney McPhie 10th 

GuineviereTomblin 18th 

U14 Girls

Finlee Klocke 5th 

Claire Graham 13th

Sierra Nelson 14th

Avery Retz 17th

Mischa Schmidt 25th

Ella Elliott 26th

U16 Boys

Parker Retz 5th

Brayden Hoover 8th

U14 Boys

Leo Bungener 2nd 

Colter Bengtson 4th

Soren Lund 11th

Wyatt Nadeau 13th

Rylan Hoover 16th

Ace Lee 21st 

Cristiano Wright 27th

Grayson Galle 31st

SL 2

U16 Girls

Greta Lund 3rd 

Lola Zinser 5th

GuineviereTomblin 14th 

U14 Girls

Finlee Klocke 5th 

Claire Graham 10th

Avery Retz 13th

Sierra Nelson 19th

Ella Elliott 22nd 

Mischa Schmidt 24th

U14 Boys

Leo Bungener 1st 

Colter Bengtson 3rd 

Soren Lund 11th

Wyatt Nadeau 14th

Ace Lee 16th 

Rylan Hoover 18th

Cristiano Wright 29th

    Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation racers, from left, Claire Graham, Finlee Klocke, Sierra Nelson and Avery Retz at Whitefish Mountain Resort. (Photo provided)