The giant slalom competition of the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships were held at the Italian resort of Kronplatz on Thursday where 17-year-old Aivaras Tumas confessed that to win the overall gold medal took not only his skill on the course, but also a lot of luck.
After the first run, Tumas was behind Karolis Janulionis, the 21-year-old winner of the slalom the day before, by .35 seconds. But in the second run, Janulionis skied out of the course—although he did finish—and lost the win.
A week in the Alps, a few days at home, and back to the mountains. That’s the kind of rhythm Lithuania’s alpine skiers are living this year, moving between training camps.
Lithuanian national team members Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas were training in Kaprun, Austria, with coach Audrius Santackas and other Ski Club Snow Bees members Oct. 27 – Nov. 5. At the same time, in Hintertux, another Austrian glacier, Anžela and Vytautas Aleksandravičius were working with the young members of their club, Alpiu Aidas—it was the club’s second camp in Austria this fall. On Friday, Lithuanian team members will be on their way back to Kaprun to participate in the European Ski Federation’s fall camp.
The most important races this season for Lithuania’s skiers will be the country’s national championships in Italy Jan. 12 – 19, the European Youth Olympic Festival in Romania in February, and the World Alpine Ski Championships in Solden, Austria, held also at the beginning of February. There will also be several junior/senior and children’s International Ski Federation (FIS) races.
As always (and as it should be!) Kalnu Ereliai skiers are on top of the Lithuanian podium!
Kasparas Pajaraskas, 16, and Aivaras Tumas, 15, proved to be strong competition for the men in the season opener in Austria, taking overall podium positions in both the SL and GS races, along with teammate Algimantas Milašius, 18. This is a great start to the season for Tumas, who makes his FIS (International Ski Federation) competition debut this year.
On the women’s side, KE skiers Marcele Kuliešiutė, 16, Ieva Januškevičiutė, 16, Ieva Urbonavičiutė, 17, and Laura Pamerneckytė,15, show the depth of talent of the KE women’s team. They took the top 4 positions in SL, and the top 3 in GS, their times separated by less than one second. Pamerneckytė who will also make her FIS debut this year, did not finish the GS, but showed her talent in the SL finishing 5th in the overall rankings (women and men).
While most of the participants in Kaprun return to Lithuania this week, the Lithuanian national team stacked with Kalnu Ereliai skiers heads to Schladming, Austria for a two week camp sponsored by the newly formed ESF (European Ski Federation). Pajarskas, Tumas, Januškevičiutė, Urbonavičiutė, Kuliešiutė and Pamerneckytė will be joined by Karolis Janulionis, 18, along with Lithuanian National Team Coach Audrius Santackas, and KE Club Director Miroslavas Urbonavičius. These three weeks will be the longest time KE skiers have spent in Austria, and despite having to keep up with their school work long-distance, the kids are enjoying the experience. Trainings include SL and GS gate work and freeskiing with Austrian national team coaches on the World Cup slope, physical conditioning and video analysis.
The team will return to Lithuania at the end of November, and have a few weeks at home before leaving again in mid-December for a camp sponsored by the FIS in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, ahead of the 2011 FIS World Ski Championships.