By Mark D Phillips
In a challenging season for ski racing, Stratton Mountain was the scene for the 2023 Masters Eastern Regionals from January 25 to 28, 2023.
Then in an almost Freudian slip, the first day of competition was cancelled when too much snow came down. For the Super-G competitors, it seems like feast or famine is the story of this season.
Friday’s scene was set for the Slalom Championships with Giacomo Migliori taking first overall, a feat he would accomplish in Saturday’s GS Championship as well. Jason Beland came in second at +0.82, followed by Bastien Martini in third at+1.00.
Alexandra Mitchell finished first for women and fourth overall. Maggie Sellar came in second at +8.72 and Deborah Adams at +11.29.
Paul Rogers took first in Class 12 followed by Tom Lahaise in second. Class 11 winner Pepi Neubauer had a big margin over second place Greg Gill and third place Charles Thorndike. Eric Cutting led the pack in Class 10, with Hans Truckenbrod in second and David Wise in third. Class 9 winner Richard Jefferson also finished fourth overall, followed by Vincent Renaud in second and Donald WK Andrews in third. Class 8 featured Douglas Carpenter in first, Scott Raymaakers second, and Derek Griggs in third, with just .54 separating the three. Class 7 winner John Spooner was followed by Anthony Rowedder in second and Matthew Weinreich in third. Class 6 winner Marc Barrachin edged out David Gray in second and Igor Manoylovich in third. Tobias Walther took first in Class 5 with Kevin Wickless in second and Jeffrey Steinmann third.
Saturday saw the fight not just for fastest on the mountain in the GS, but the over-40 crowd was on a quest for the Janeway Cup.
Named after the late Vermont State Senator, Edward Janeway, who also served on Stratton Mountain’s board of directors, the Janeway Cup is awarded to the fastest man and women over the age of 40. This race has been a long time favorite on the New England Masters circuit, dating back to at least 1970. A quick glance at the past winners of this perpetual trophy reads like a Who’s Who of masters ski racing. Current contenders include several past winners. Mark George captured the crown in 2019. Kerry Finch took the title for the women in 2022.
Kerry Finch celebrated with her second straight win of the 2023 Janeway Cup for women, joined by Stephane Ricard from Canada as the fastest man over 40, finishing in second overall while winning the Class 7 age group (40-44).
Giacomo Migliori completed his domination of the Men’s Eastern Championships with first overall in the GS, with Stephane Ricard just +0.52 behind for second, and Jason Beland in third at +3.51.
Alexandra Mitchell completed her domination of the Women’s Eastern Championships with Becka Padgett in second at +8.68 and Kerry Finch at +11.69.
Paul Rogers completed his weekend with first in Class 12 followed by Tom Lahaise in second. Class 11 winner Michael Rooney just held off Charles Thorndike in second place and Peter Wepplo in third place. Eric Cutting had his second victory of the Championships in Class 10, with Hans Truckenbrod in second and Dale Ziegenfelder in third. Class 9 winner Richard Jefferson also finished fifth overall in GS, followed by former Janeway Cup winner Mark George in second and Tom Mann in third. Class 8 featured Scott Reichhelm in first, Douglas Carpenter in second, and Scott Raymaakers in third. Class 7 winner Ricard Stephane was followed by Andrew Sorokin in second and John Spooner in third. One of my favorite guys, Igor Manoylovich, captured first place in Class 6, with Bernd Schoner in second and David Gray in third. Richard Hart took first in Class 5 with Jeffrey Steinmann second.
These were the Eastern Championships and the racers in each class with the greatest total World Cup points based on their finishes in all the events are chosen to The US Alpine Masters Regional Champions team.
This year’s members for the Women’s are Class 10 (70-74) Karen Sanderson, Class 8 (60-64) Sharon Way, Class 7 (55-59) Susan Maximuk, Class 6 (50-54) Deborah Adams, Class 5 (45-49) Kerry Finch, Class 4 (40-44) Adeline Martini, Class 2 (30-34) Alexandra Mitchell, and Class 1 (18-29) Maggie Sellar.
This year’s members for the Men’s are Class 12 (80-84) Paul Rogers, Class 11 (75-79) Michael Rooney, Class 10 (70-74) Eric Cutting, Class 9 (65-69) Richard Jefferson, Class 8 (60-64) Douglas Carpenter, Class 7 (55-59) John Spooner, Class 6 (50-54) Igor Manoylovich, Class 5 (45-49) Jeffrey Steinmann, Class 4 (40-44) Bastien Martini, Class 3 (35-39) Leonard Kwan, Class 2 (30-34) Giacomo Migliori, and Class 1 (18-29) Jason Beland.
The 2023 US Alpine Masters National Championships, sponsored in part by A Racer’s Edge, will be hosted by Master’s Far West Division at Mammoth Mountain CA on Mar. 28-Apr. 2, 2023. Here’s wishing our Eastern Champions the best of luck.
Athlete Spotlight: Kerry Finch
By Mark D Phillips
Kerry Finch is having the time of her life racing in the New England Masters Ski circuit.
Finch was last year’s women’s SISE Cup winner, named in honor of Al Sise, the father of alpine masters ski racing and a member of both the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame and the National Ski Hall of Fame. The cup is bestowed to the top man and woman points holders at the end of each race season.
Her recent resume includes 760 overall points, 7 Race victories, Women’s GS title, Women’s Super G title, Class 5 Champion, 2022 Eastern Regional Class Champion, 2022 Masters National Spyder Team Champion, and the 2022 Masters National Speed Series Champion.
Kerry joined Masters racing after what she thought was the end of her competitive career.
Growing up in New York state, she discovered skiing very young attacking all seven trails at Tuxedo Ridge in Sterling Forest. She started racing at 6 or 7, competing through high school and continuing at Plymouth State College.
“When all my friends were happy to be graduating, I cried,” she told me. “My ski career was over.”
After college she tried coaching in southern New York but missed racing.
“I did some Junior races and felt old,” she admitted. Then she discovered Masters and was hooked again. She took breaks when her kids were born but always returned. Both her kids now race at Stratton Mountain, which they call home.
In the years leading up to COVID, she competed Internationally on the Masters circuit. One stop etched into her memory is Pec pod Sněžkou in the Czech Republic, finishing fourth overall.
“it was my mid-life crisis,” she said. “Life would never have taken me there, we’re so lucky to do this.
Last year was a peak season for Finch as her record of victories show. At the Masters Nationals in Sun Valley, Idado, she claimed second overall and first in her age group in the Combined – one run in Super G and one run in GS.
“Sun Valley was amazing and finishing second overall was my best ever result in a national level event and will always be a special memory, she said. “But on further reflection, I think perhaps the highlight was really winning the Janeway Cup at Stratton last year. It is such a special event due to its rich history, celebration of adult athletics, and that it takes place on my home mountain with my friends, coaches, and family all present.”
Masters will continue to be a big part of her life.
“I’ve met so many fun people through ski racing, It’s a passion,” she said.
Now with her children racing, her hope is to one day race with her own kids at Masters.
“I would love to share it with my kids,” Finch finishes. “But if they beat me, It won’t be fun around the dinner table.”