Steamboat Springs The largest Steamboat Springs contingent ever will leave for Whistler, Canada on April 10 hoping to earn gold at the second biggest children's race event of the season.
"We are hoping to medal and win," Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Werner Schnydrig said.
The Rocky Mountain Division will send six skiers to the international races, which are open to skiers between 13 and 15 years of age. Four of those six will come from Steamboat Springs.
"This is the most skiers we have ever sent to these races," Schnydrig said. "It's pretty impressive."
Leading the boys team will be Dmitry Chase and leading the girls will be Lisa Perricone. Both of the local racers raced in the biggest international children's race of the season, the Topolino Children's Championships, which were held in Italy in February.
"With both Lisa and Dmitry getting international experience at the Topolino Championships, I think our skiers will be expecting big things," Schnydrig said.
Chase also won two gold medals at last month's J-3 Junior Olympic Championships, which were held in Steamboat.
In Topolino, Perricone finished in second place in the slalom event against a top international field.
Perricone was also dominate at last month's J-3 Junior Olympic Championships, grabbing gold medals in the downhill, super-G and giant slalom.
Joel Adams and Drew Roberts will join Chase to complete the Rocky Mountain boys' team.
Adams won gold at the J-3 Junior Olympics in the giant slalom and Roberts was second in both the giant slalom and slalom races.
On the girls' side, Perricone will be joined by two Vail skiers. Michelanne Shields and Alyssa Cartmill earned the other two spots at the Junior Olympic Championships. No Central Division skiers made the team.
The Whistler Cup races were first held in 1993 and have become an annual end-of-season tradition for Steamboat Springs racers.
Winter Sports Club coach Ben Webster will attend the races as a coach for the U.S. team. Webster coached the American skiers at the Topolino races as well.
Schnydrig said that the competition is stiff at the Whistler Cup races, with more than 20 countries taking part. There are about 40 countries in the Topolino races, making the Canadian races just a step below that event.
However, Schnydrig added that all the top skiers from Topolino were awarded air fare and rooms in Canada, so they will be at the Whistler races, too. There are fewer European skiers at the event, so Schydrig said the field isn't quite as deep as in Italy. Canadian skiers will fill about half of the 120 boys' spots and 80 girls' spots available at the Whistler races. The United States will have the next biggest team and the rest of the world will fill the remaining spots.
The Steamboat skiers will leave on April 10 for the races. There will be seeding time trials April 11 to 13. The super-G race will take place April 14, the giant slalom will be held April 15 and the slalom will wrap things up on April 16.
--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org