In her third NCAA campaign, it's all started to come together for Charley Field.
The Pemberton alpine skier, representing the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA), took her first podium at the school's home meet earlier this season with a third in the giant slalom.
Field topped that this past weekend at Beaver Creek Resort, finishing second in the giant slalom at the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) Championships on Feb. 24. The 21-year-old led after the first run, but was surpassed by Montana State's Stephanie Gartner to finish 0.14 seconds behind.
"I'm just feeling confident in my skiing. That's been the key for me," she said. "I know that I can do it and the season has been leading up to these couple of races coming up.
"It was nice to just finally know that I could ski well and ski down with that confidence."
On Feb. 28, Field was announced as a competitor in the National Collegiate Men's and Women's Skiing Championships for the third consecutive year. Additionally, as one of the top skiers in her conference, Field was named to the all-RMISA Second Team.
"I've had some pretty decent results this year, and I'm definitely building from last year, so I feel a lot more confident going into this year's NCAAs. I'm ready to show them what we've got and hopefully I'll come through there and become an all-American (top eight)," she said.
With the NCAA Championships coming March 8 to 11 at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, N.H., Field isn't overly concerned about any disadvantage coming from the west. In her first year, she attended the event when it was held in Lake Placid, N.Y. and didn't feel any issues on the other side of the continent.
"It was pretty amazing. I had some pretty good races and hopefully, there's some good snow. I know that the east has some good racing," she said. "I'm hoping for some good weather, some good snow and some great competition, for sure."
At Beaver Creek, Field didn't necessarily feel that she was putting up a great time, and was surprised when she reached the finish. However, she harnessed a bit of a different tack for her second run to claim her medal.
"A lot of my faster runs are chaotic runs and everything seems to be going so fast and you don't really have that much time to think about it," she said. "When I got to the bottom, I felt like it was an OK run, nothing amazing. That feeling of chaos and feeling like you're going fast, I feel like that's when I can be good and I didn't feel that way, at least in the first run, and then I came down just to be surprised.
"In the second run, I was really just thinking 'OK, breathe, you've just got the ski the same way. You know how to do it.'"
At the same event, Field took a 20th in the slalom to lead the way for UAA.