It’s time to compete on the slopes! The alpine skiing season starts today and tomorrow for Laramie High School.

The Laramie Invitational will be held at Snowy Range Ski Area with giant slalom racing at 11 a.m. on Thursday and slalom racing at 10 a.m. on Friday.

This year’s alpine skiing season will be slightly different, as a maximum of eight skiers per gender will be allowed per race competition. There will be five on varsity and three for JV.

Laramie finished fifth out of six teams in the girls’ division and sixth in the boys’ division at the 2020 Wyoming High School Alpine Skiing State Championships at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Laramie High School Alpine Skiing head coach Jasen Mitchell knows he says it all the time, but he believes in his team.

“I’m always the most optimistic coach in the state, but I think we’ve got a really good team this year. I think we’re gonna move up a little bit. Like I said, I’m always the one at the beginning of the year saying we’re gonna make this big move, here we come, and then it hasn’t panned out yet, but they work hard, they try hard, good bunch of kids, have a lot of fun, so hopefully this might be the year we move up a little bit.”

The top two returning skiers are senior Isabelle Spivey for the girls’ team and junior Ashton Ford for the boys’ squad. Both finished just outside the top 10 of All-State points during the 2020 season. Ford was 11th, despite not competing at the state meet due to an injury. Spivey was 12th. She took 12th place in the slalom at state last year but did not finish in the giant slalom.

KOWB’s David Settle talked with Spivey and Ford ahead of the season-opening race at home about getting a chance to race at Snowy Range Ski Area; their thoughts on the season ahead; where they feel they’ve improved throughout their careers; about some fun items, and more.

Mitchell says thanks to better snow around Laramie, they’ve been able to train more than some other teams.

“We’ve also been able to go to the backside of Snowy Range, which is a lot steeper, and they’ve been letting us practice over there, which I think is going to be a big help to us this year. They get more of a steep terrain to practice on, get over their fears, and be ready for some of the other bigger ski hills that we’ll see this season.”

Laramie has an opportunity to start the season at home, which Mitchell sees as a benefit, despite the extra work it is to host a race.

“Compared to a lot of other teams, who have professional crews who put their race on, we have to kind of do it with parents and kids working really hard (to put this together). The Christmas break really helped with being able to go up there (to Snowy Range Ski Area) and get the hill ready to go.”

The LHS team has been practicing since late November, so now it’s time to compete.

Mitchell says, “Just getting over the sacredness of being on a steep hill is what I’m looking for this week and being aggressive and attacking the hill rather than being real conservative and scared.”

Laramie is scheduled to race on Casper Mountain twice, plus at Red Lodge, MT for the Cody Invite, and at Pinedale. The state championships are at Jackson on March 5-6, 2021.

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