State Alpine Skiing: Eagan’s Courtney Bumpers exceeds her own expectations with second-place finish

Eagan assistant Alpine skiing coach Ben Heil was hoping for Wildcats junior Courtney Bumpers to finish in the top five of Tuesday’s state alpine ski meet.

Bumpers was hoping to place in the top 10. She finished 12th a year ago. Anything inside the top 10 would show solid progression.

She did a little better than that.

Bumpers finished second at Tuesday’s meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, only behind state champion Vivien Pihlstrom of Blake.

Pihlstrom – whose sister, Ava, claimed an individual crown in 2021 – won with a two-run time of 1 minute, 20.66 seconds. Bumpers came in at 1:21.42. Mounds View’s Emily Gustafson finished seventh, while Hill-Murray’s Hailey Voigt finished 10th.

After the first of the two runs, the top 30 finishers from Run 1 are inverted to order the second run. Bumpers was set to go off 29th. The significance of that initially slipped past Heil.

“One of my other skiers goes, ‘Coach, she’s in second,’ ” Heil said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Holy cow, she’s in second!’”

Bumpers called the results of the first run “a huge shock.” But she also knew she was only halfway home, and the times were tight. The focus simply remained on finishing her second trip down the hill. She did just that, which should’ve come as a surprise to no one. Not with the winter Bumpers had.

“She’s just been that consistent all year long, despite the conditions,” Heil said. “Just her ability to make adjustments to what the hill was giving her today I think is kind of a true test.”

One she passed with flying colors. This was the junior’s fourth trip to the state meet. And Tuesday’s conditions were far more tropical than anything she has encountered in past runs at Giants Ridge. Heil noted that might have thrown off Bumpers as an eighth-grader. Nothing really gets to her now.

“She just gets there and she’s got a sense of calm about her. In eighth grade, she was just this crazy ball of energy. And now she has evolved into this confident athlete,” Heil said. “I see that in her skiing, because this year has been so unpredictable from 10 below for a couple of weeks to 50 above at sections. … She has taken it head on and been amazing with it.”

Bumpers said the key this winter has been in the preparation. You can’t change the conditions, so you may as well adapt to them. She noted with each passing season she gets better not only physically, but mentally.

“I feel like skiing is such a mental sport, and just everybody who’s a good skier is a good skier,” she said. “But it’s who can push past that final level of, ‘I’m just going to keep on attacking, even though the situation isn’t always the greatest.’”

Bumpers said the second-place finish “feels amazing.”

“It was absolutely insane – really crazy,” she said.

And, perhaps, the ultimate springboard into her senior season.

“I think I’m really excited, especially for next year just to start, obviously. I think it’s great momentum,” Bumpers said. “I think it’s going to push me to see how far I can take it next year.”


Minnetonka won the team title with 168 points, led by Charlotte Kinzer, who finished third in the individual race. Minneapolis Washburn was second with 141 points, while Brainerd was third with 137.