Mt. La Crosse is set to host the 10th Annual Dan Nagy Memorial MID AMERICA ski race.
The event, a perennial crown jewel in Midwest ski racing, has seen its reputation rocket over the course of the last decade.
This year will be all the more special because it marks the first time a Midwest ski resort serves as a national qualifier for alpine racing’s stars of tomorrow. Adding to the excitement of the event is the return of four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper to competition after her World Cup retirement in 2011. Schleper’s task will be made even more challenging by the fact that she will be doing double-duty as both a racer and a coach.
Schleper is rolling into town as part of the Rocky Mountain delegation, and says she “can’t wait to finally race La Crosse.”
Staged on Mt. La Crosse’s notoriously steep and aptly-named Damnation run, the Dan Nagy Memorial has become a well-known magnet for some of the best racers in the US, Canada, and even Europe. As word trickled out that a little-known race hill hidden in the farmlands of Wisconsin could rival the best technical race slopes in the world, more top racers made the trip to La Crosse in honor Dan Nagy, a ski racer and coach from Hartland, Wisconsin, who tragically lost his life in a plane crash in 2006.
Past Nagy Memorial champions include Olympians Kristina Koznick, Will Brandenburg and Nolan Casper, and current U.S. Ski Team member Michael Ankeny, who just scored his first World Cup points, Jan. 9, at Adelboden, Switzerland.
The race at La Crosse forms the second leg in a series of three qualifying events. Aspen and Vail, Colorado, host the first and final qualifiers. A stellar performance in the series, capped by a repeat performance at the Nationals, will almost assure a racer an entry-level slot on the U.S. Ski Team.
Schleper, a fifteen-year member of the USST, won her only World Cup gold in 2005. After taking off the 2007 season to give birth to her son, she came back to the World Cup as the only young mother on the circuit. In 2011, she ended a career that spanned 187 WC starts with a special farewell run down to the finish corral, with her son Lasse in her arms. She has since returned to competition as a member of the Mexican National Team and competed in last year’s World Championships.
Schleper and the rest of the Dan Nagy Memorial field will kick off the Mid America/U19 race event Friday, Jan. 29th. The three-day event will conclude on Sunday, Jan. 31st. Three local athletes, Alex Harris, Sam Grode, and Matt Johnson will be competing in the event.
For further information, contact:
Bill Patza, Chief of Race, 608 780 5636
Mark Navin, Race Organizer and President, Nagy Alpine Growth Scholarship, 414 448 9000
Brewster McVicker, Central Division Alpine Manager, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Assn, 435 714 9243