November 17, 2006
KEYSTONE, CO - (News Release) - Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT), who led a giant slalom time trial in Austria last month to fill a World Cup start spot, did it again Friday to earn a start in the Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational GS Nov. 25 while NorAm overall champion Jake Zamansky (Aspen, CO) clinched a slalom start at Beaver Creek in two weeks.
"Just like Soelden last month, Jess led all three runs; she's been skiing awesome," Head Coach Patrick Riml said. "In fact, the same three girls who earned starts in Soelden did it again at Keystone - Katie Hitchcock (Sacramento, CA) and Caitlin Ciccone (Bethlehem, NH) will start in Aspen, too." Veteran Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) and Keeley Kelleher (Big Sky, MT) also competed for the start spot.
The race will be the World Cup debut for Ciccone, the defending U.S. giant slalom champion.
While the women were running their time trial on the lower part of North Peak's Starfire run, three men competed for one place in the VISA Birds of Prey slalom Dec. 3 at Beaver Creek. Zamansky had the fastest time over two runs to edge Warner Nickerson (Gilford, NH) and Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT), Jessica's brother and a Development Team racer.
"It went well. Keystone's done such a great job with preparing the conditions - really, outstanding snowmaking for us," Head Coach Phil McNichol said, "And it was pretty cool. We ran the time trials simultaneously, guys up top with a little overlap on courses, and the women at the bottom of the course...definitely pretty cool."
In addition, McNichol said the final slalom start was awarded to T.J. Lanning (Park City, UT). Originally, U.S. coaches planned to fill the seventh SL start based on results from the Chevrolet Super Series slaloms Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Keystone. However, since Lanning already had skied so well in training to earn a super combined berth, and that would give him familiarity with the World Cup slalom hill, coached decided to have Lanning be the final U.S. skier in the VISA race.