Grace Staberg of Silverthorne won bronze in Sunday’s U-20 women’s individual race at the International Ski Mountaineering Federation’s last World Cup of the season in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
Staberg finished the course in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 29 seconds, behind champion Samantha Bertolina (59:11) and Lisa Moreschini (59:25) from Italy. Third place in the 12-athlete individual race was Staberg’s first individual podium – a discipline that features multiple climbs, descents and transitions – of the winter season. Staberg’s bronze medal in the race, which included a total of 900 meters of climbing, was his second of the World Cup weekend after winning bronze in the vertical on Friday. Staberg also won the vertical silver at the World Championships a few weeks ago in Andorra.
“Today was a great way to end the season,” said Staberg. “I think I tend to be a better climber, so finishing third vertically might not be that surprising. … I felt really strong on the climbs. And I think I was able to stay close enough to the leaders not to waste too much time on the downhill. I felt like I did my best to hold on on the descents. I did a good job trying to push as hard as possible and stay as close to the Italians as possible.
Staberg said her improvement in the more technical parts of the individual discipline – the tight corners – helped her reach the podium. Staberg ran in second place at the top of the first climb before being passed by Bertolina and remained in third place the rest of the race.
The victory was Staberg’s last race during a four-month stay in Europe where she was the only American to compete at World Cup stages across the continent. Staberg raced while living and training with Italian ski mountaineering legend Laetitia Roux in France. Staberg has also taken distance education courses through the University of London School of Economics, which she intends to continue next year when she returns to Europe for the World Cup. Although Staberg has said she is happy with the way she ended her season, the Summit High 2020 graduate believes she can enter the next season more prepared and in better shape.
“I definitely don’t feel completely satisfied so that motivates me to improve and strive to do more,” said Staberg.
Staberg said she plans to compete in the Cosmic Race Series event at Telluride this weekend before taking on the Imperial Challenge on April 12 and 13. The Imperial Challenge is a race that combines cycling with up and down snow at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Staberg also hopes to do a personal ski mountaineering challenge later this month. When Staberg returns to the county, she is thrilled to have breakfast with her family at Amazing Grace and ski for sunrises at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
“I’ve always loved racing on the Imperial, I think it’s just a fun competition,” said Staberg. “It’s fun hanging out with the people you see in the community. It’s like a fun ski day in Breck more than a race, even.