Steamboat Cup event draws more than 100 young athletes
January 15, 2012
Top finishers, by division:
J4 boys: Trey Seymour
J4 girls: Kristina Steinberg
J5 boys: Delaney Tyon
J5 girls: Riley Smith
Rec Devo boys: Jonathan Heaberlin
Rec Devo girls: Alison Speer
J6 boys: Alden Wade
J6 girls: Raffaela Pietras
Shining Star award winners:
Steamboat Springs — The path to the Olympics was made clear Sunday on the snowy slopes in Steamboat Springs.
Granted, all the skiers in the parade that ripped down Sitz and See Me at Steamboat Ski Area in a Steamboat Cup giant slalom have a long way to go, but the competitors, more than 100 of them, showed the path with their progress.
Giant leaps skills were obvious from year to year, and in the two-run competition even minute to minute.
It was a tough day on a steep hill with unforgiving patches of ice, but that's racing, and the athletes were thrilled to get the chance.
"I like going fast," Madeline Boucher said. "I raced here last year, too, and I did a lot better. My form is a lot better, and I kept my hands more forward."
The course was closed to regular ski traffic all day and was well groomed, but it was the ice that stood out to the skiers as most as the day's most significant hurdle.
How each age group handled it allowed anyone watching to chart a child's progress in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
The day's youngest skiers, at the J6 level and mostly between ages 7 and 9, braved the steeps with wide eyes and a tepid pace. Some almost came to a stop before negotiating the next turn or plunging down and around the next gate.
Finishing the mostly expert terrain-course was enough of an accomplishment to leave them with wide smiles at the bottom.
"It was a big hill for J6s, the first time they've raced down a black diamond run," Blair Seymour said. "They were working on the proper way around the gate, the proper path, and most of them got it."
Older skiers, meanwhile, were more focused on the details, how to best pick a line or surmount that ice.
"You need to stay on your edges, and if you stay on your edges you can get right through the ice," said Bode Flanigan, 9.
"You just have to go for it," Cooper Puckett, 8, chimed in.
Choosing the right line proved as critical as anything else. The skiers weaved through the gates on the gentler top part of the course, but many struggled to stay in control through a section of tight gates on steep terrain midway through.
The key was turning early.
"Try not to be late or you'll miss your gate," offered Isabelle Boniface, 10.
She stood flanked by friends Emily Craig, 9, and Alex Blair, 10. They all cheered at the bottom as their fellow racers surged across the finish line, Alex doing so in a purple tutu she had slipped over her race suit before starting — "I felt like being festive," she said.
They said they were happy with their results, but realized the day was about much more than that.
"It was just all really fun," Isabelle said. "Even the ice."
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com
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