Utahns Represent the United States in FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

Leo Pearson

Many residents of Salt Lake City and students of West High School ski recreationally in the Wasatch Mountains during the winter, at resorts such as Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Park City. However, skiing is also highly competitive at a professional level. In fact, Competitive Skiing is the biggest and most popular industry in winter sports. Competitive ski racing exists at youth, college, national, and international levels. The most prominent competition on the international level is the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, which has been running annually from October to March since 1967. A season consists of roughly 40 races across 5 different disciplines, or types of races. These are:

Slalom- short, not very steep course with a lot of small turns. Athletes combine the times of two runs.

Giant Slalom- a little longer, steeper, bigger turns that occur a little less often. Athletes combine the times of two runs.

Super Giant Slalom (also known as Super G)- athletes start reaching very fast speeds. The course is longer and steeper, with even less turns, but very big turns. This discipline is extremely dynamic. Athletes will only race the course once.

Downhill- Very steep and very direct, hardly any turns. Extremely long course. Athletes will reach speeds around 80 miles an hour. This event is the most dangerous. Athletes will only race the course once.

Combined- the least popular and rarest of the events. One run of Slalom and one run of Downhill.

Points are awarded for how high in the rankings the competitors place in each of these races, and whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins the coveted Crystal Globe. The sport is not coed, meaning the men and women compete separately and have separate awards and races. This competition is most popular in Europe and North America.

Many of the members on the U.S. ski team are from Salt Lake City and its surrounding areas. These skiers are: Alice Merryweather from Park City, Isabella Wright from Park City, Jared Goldberg from Salt Lake City, Sam DuPratt from Salt Lake City, Katie Hensien from Salt Lake City, Mary Bocock from Salt Lake City, Justin Bigatel from Park City, Lauren Macuga from Park City, and Storm Klomhaus from Park City.

Of these competitors, Isabella Wright is probably the most notable and successful. She is 25 years old, and has been consistently placing in the top 40 with finishes in the early 20s since she graduated college. She grew up in Park City, and raced at the Snowbird Sports Education Foundation. Currently, the highest she has placed in a World Cup Race is 14th. She did this in a downhill run, which is her specialty. Recently, she finished 21st in the Super-G in the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, she does not finish (DNF) in a lot of races, which is a big concern for her future career. Currently, she ranks 43rd among all female skiers in the Downhill event, and will be looking to improve that with the last 2 downhill races of the season. You can watch her and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team’s races on NBC’s streaming Service Peacock.