Feb. 12, 2012
The University of New Mexico ski team had two of its Alpine skiers pick up RMISA Skier of the Week honors. Kate Williams earned the honor for her performances at the Alaska Anchorage Invitational and Joonas Rasanen earned his honor for his display at the Seawolf Invitational.
Williams, a junior from Park City, Utah, had a superb week in Alaska. Williams returned this season as one of the stronger and more experienced Alpine women the Lobos had on the team. Her solid finishes at the Alaska Anchorage Invitational didn’t catch any of her teammates or coaches by surprise because they have come to expect it out of her. Williams recorded her best finish of the season, earning a podium spot after placing second in the women’s slalom race. Her second-place finish is even more impressive when you consider the course was hampered by very poor weather. The course Williams raced down had been battered and bruised by a terrible rain storm that swept through Alaska all day and the night before the race. Williams had also recorded a top-10 finish in the women’s giant slalom two days before her great run in the slalom races, netting her two top-10 finishes in the competition.
"It was tough conditions for the alpine races," head Alpine coach Tyler Shepherd said. "But, overall it turned out okay with Kate getting a great result."
Rasanen, a freshman from Helsinki, Finland, arrived at UNM with an expectation from his coaches that he could be something special. After his performance at the Seawolf Invitational, it looks as if he is beginning to meet those expectations. Like Williams, Rasanen nabbed a podium spot after finishing third in the men’s slalom race. His third-place finish was particularly important because the slalom race counted for double points in order to account for no score being tallied in the men’s giant slalom, which got cancelled due to poor racing conditions.
This is the second Skier of the Week award for Williams in her career, and it is the first honor in the young Rasanen’s career.