COMING UP: at NWCSC Qualifier #2, Brundage Mountain, Saturday-Sunday (Postponed due to lack of snow)
LAST WEEK: at NWCSC Qualifier #1 Hoodoo Ski Area (Postponed due to lack of snow)
NWCSC SCHEDULE GOES 0-FOR-2: After having last weekend’s Northwest Collegiate Ski Conference slalom qualifiers at Hoodoo Ski Area cancelled due to snow issues in Central Oregon, the NWCSC office on Sunday cancelled this weekend’s giant slalom qualifiers at Brundage Mountain. Though snow is in the forecast all weekend for the West Central Mountains, the lack of a firm base at Brundage for racing forced the conference to call of the races. It marks the first time since the 2008 season that the NWCSC has had to cancel races – as that season, a race was cancelled at Mount Spokane due to winds, and a weekend at Silver Mountain was called off due to avalanche concerns.
MAKE-UP RACES SCHEDULED: A built-in make-up weekend in the middle of the NWCSC schedule will be put to use, as slalom qualifiers will take place Jan. 28-29 at Alpental – part of the Snoqualmie Pass Ski Area in Washington. The remainder of the schedule looks to be intact – with giant slalom qualifiers at Mount Spokane, Feb. 4-5, and slalom qualifiers at Bogus Basin, Feb. 11-12. The NWCSC is expected to feature just six qualifying races this year – with it uncertain how it will play into the overall conference scoring (which typically takes the Top-6 team scores during the season).
PROMISING SNOW FORECAST: Snow is in the forecast throughout the Northwest, which gives the Yotes hope that training can begin as soon as next week. Looking at the base summary – both Alpental (80 inches at the base-114 inches at the top) and Mount Spokane (54-54) are in quality shape, while Bogus Basin (10-14) is expected to receive between 18-30 inches of snow in the next 72 hours.
RANKED NO. 9: The Lady Yotes, coming off a tenth-place finish at the USCSA Championships last season, are ranked No. 9 in the U.S. Skiing and Snowboard College Top-10 preseason poll. Rocky Mountain (Mont.) leads the poll, followed by Sierra Nevada (Nev.), St. Olaf (Minn.), Massachusetts, and Whitman (Wash.).
ABOUT THE COACH: Ron Bonneau is in his 22nd season as head coach for The College of Idaho alpine ski programs. During his tenure at The C of I, the native of New Hampshire has seen the Coyote men's team qualify for the USCSA championships on 12 occasions, with the women's team making appearances 17 times. His 2004 women's squad finished second in the nation in the slalom and fourth in the alpine combined. The Coyotes have seen much success in the 21st Century, as both the men's and women's programs, under Bonneau's direction, won Northwest Collegiate Ski Conference championships each year from 2004-09, with the Lady Yotes taking home Western Regional championships in 1999, 2003 and 2006. His women's teams have advanced to 13-consecutive USCSA championships, finishing in the Top-9 in nine of the 13 appearances. Last season, the Lady Yotes claimed the NWCSC title. Bonneau, a graduate of Plymouth State College, replaced Tom Olson as the alpine ski coach in 1991 - and worked with Chris Melgaard on the nordic side to claim the women's nordic championships in 1994 and 1995. During his tenure, he has coached seven national champions, 56 All-Americans, and 76 All-America Scholar-Athletes. Prior to his time in the Gem State, Bonneau worked at ski resorts in Wachusett, Mass. and Haystack, Vt. Along with his duties with the ski program, he is the director of C of I's outdoor program. Bonneau and wife Michele live in Caldwell.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more on The C of I alpine ski program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, www.collegeofidaho.edu/athlete/ski.htm.