Laura Flood Memorial Cup: a big weekend for U16 Alpine athletes

“Ski racing was one of her greatest passions, and we felt that honoring Laura through a local race would be a way that our family could honor and celebrate Laura’s life, her love of skiing, and our great community.” Heather Flood Daves, sister to Laura Flood, explains. The Flood family lost Laura in 1990, at age 19, when she lost control in a training run and was killed. Last weekend, Sun Valley resort and SVSEF hosted the annual Laura Flood Memorial Cup, with eight races held over four days.  

In a typical year, the Laura Flood is only four races: two Giant Slaloms and two Slaloms (one of each event for each gender). However, due to a barrage of covid-related and weather-related race cancellations throughout the season, the Sun Valley venue hosted an additional two Giant Slaloms and two Slaloms over the weekend in addition to the Laura Flood. This made for an immensely action-packed weekend, with female and male athletes tasked with competing in four races in 48 hours, each.   

“It really gave the kids an opportunity to show what they got. It’s been a lot of pressure on these athletes.” Will Brandenburg, Alpine Director, said about the weekend. “They’ve been working since Junesince it’s been safe for them to train together with the end goal of qualifying for U16 Championships. Due to COVID and mother nature this season, we ran additional races; each gender had four races in 48 hours to reach their goals they’ve been trying to meet for a year.”   

“To have everything boil down to this short amount of time is really hard for a 14-to-15-year-old kid, but they didn’t shy away from the fear. They put themselves out there. At the end of the day, it shows a lot of mental strength from our U16 team because we had a really a successful weekend. Even though only a portion of the team qualified for regionals, every athlete demonstrated great progression in their skiing. We are proud of how the group accepted the challenge.” Brandenburg continued.   

SVSEF athletes came out of the weekend with strong finishes across the board; the athletes showed up for their home hill. While U16 Regionals traditionally took over 30 IMD athletes (both men and women), this year the quota was lowered to approximately 15 athletes (both men and women). SVSEF qualified nine athletes total for U16 Regionals this season, the most of any other club in the Intermountain Division. Additional athletes qualified for Tri-Divisionals, which is similarly competitive due to the limited regional quotas this year.  

“It’s always awesome to watch the youth who come to this race. It’s always very high-level competition. SVSEF always puts on a great race, and Sun Valley has a such a great venue. It was phenomenal to watch the athletes charging on lower Greyhawk. It was inspirational.” Daves, who came out to watch the athletes over the weekend, shared.  

“It was completely a community effort from the volunteers, the mountain, and the public for allowing us to close the trails. I’m just really proud of the effort that went in to putting all the pieces together.” Brandenburg added. “It was a successful race and a lot of kids did really well. I really felt for them; you could sense and see the stress of all the competitors this weekend, and was a really important weekend for all of them.”