Steamboat Springs It required a little bit of hiking, but the members of the Sailors ski team returned to the snow-covered slopes of Howelsen Hill Tuesday afternoon to train on the snow.
"This will be our first night back on snow," coach Chris Arnis said Tuesday. "Everybody is really excited to get back at it."
Since the season opened on Nov. 12, the team has been meeting twice a week for dry-land training but has not been able to put the skis back on in order to run gates.
On Tuesday, however, the team shifted to another gear and the season-opening giant slalom race in Breckenridge on Dec. 18 no longer seems to be that far away. The Sailors didn't train in the gates, but they were able to complete some drills.
Arnis said he has six boys and six girls out for the alpine team. The high school program will also have a record number of nordic skiers out for the cross-country team.
Arnis said he was excited about the quality of skiers who are out for this year's boys team, including Hennie Kashawa, Gunnar Sorensen and Chris Dombey.
Kashawa will be the team's first ski miester (both alpine and nordic) skier in the program.
The girls team will also return several top skiers, including Cassidy Kurtz, Brittany Lamb and Rebecca Herman.
"We may be a little behind," Arnis said of the team's late arrival on snow. "But it's not that different from two years ago."
The coach said the team was able to overcome a late start that year and it didn't have a huge effect on the team in the opening race of the year or during the season.
Arnis said this Saturday the team would take advantage of the Steamboat Ski Area being open. The team, he said, will get in some much-needed on-snow training.
Arnis also expects the lifts at Howelsen to be open sometime next week for more formal ski team training.