The Colorado alpine team opened up the first day of the RMISA Championships by winning the men’s slalom race, but CU stands in third place overall after 2-of-8 events as the Buffs are hosting the 69th annual championship that doubles as the NCAA Western Regional.

Friday saw the men’s and women’s slalom races running at Howelsen Hill, with the second runs taking place under the lights for some night racing.

Colorado’s men’s team carried the Buffs on the first day and placed three inside the top 10 to win the race with 88 points. The women’s team finished third with just three finishers, and only one in the top 10.

“The guys definitely saved the show today and it was pretty much a standard what they have done throughout the season,” head coach Richard Rokos said.

CU stands in third place overall for the meet after the first of three days. Denver leads it by a 36-point margin, as the Pioneers scored 185 points Friday. Montana State sits in second with 149 points, just one ahead of the Buffs.

Short on depth on the alpine side all season, the pressure was on for the four men and four women skiers racing Friday to finish their runs, a phenomenon that is difficult but good training for the NCAA Championships where you can only field three competitors.

CU was down to four on the men’s side with Bobby Moyer out sick Friday and Andrea Arnold on the women’s side, who is out for the season. It was then down to three after the first run for the women, when Isabella Fidjeland did not finish. Joey Young did not finish his run on the men’s side.

The first run of the women’s race was an eliminator and saw seven competitors not finish. Lighting became a problem as the clouds moved in right at the start of the run and there were some tough gates two-thirds of the way down the course that had a 141-meter drop in elevation from start to finish.

Nora Christensen was CU’s top finisher, placing fourth. The top three that hit the podium, two skiers from DU and one from Montana State, were all separated by less than a tenth of a second.

Megan McGrew finished 18th for CU and Tonje Trulsrud 19th.

The men’s side, which started second, got off to a better start with Ola Johansen having the fastest time in the field in the first run.

The team as a whole scored well with the three inside the top 10 after the second run, even with Young skiing out the second time down the hill.

Johansen ended up finishing second overall, as Vegard Busengdal edged him out to win his second-straight RMISA slalom championships.

David Ketterer finished fifth for CU and Max Luukko ninth.