Steamboat Springs Local skiers Heidi Nunnikoven and Chris Puckett set the standard in the opening Town Challenge race of the season last week by posting the fastest times of the night at Howelsen.
But those two racers will have to work hard to maintain their advantages over the fields for the next 10 events as the local racing series continues to heat up.
"It's a great series and it's a lot of fun for the folks who take part," Town Challenge organizer Heather DeVos said.
The opening race drew about 70 racers to Howelsen Hill for a slalom. DeVos said that's a little above average for a single event, which normally draws 60 to 65 racers.
"The first race is always very popular," DeVos said. "So is the super-G race, which is later in the year."
The race series is made up of 11 events that run from December through mid-March.
Racers pay $10 an event to take part in the FIS-style races. Points are recorded throughout the season and overall series champions are named at the end of the season.
Winners receive a medal, trophy and a pair of skis for their efforts.
Each race offers participants several divisions to ski in based on ability and age. There are also snowboard and telemark divisions at the races. Alpine racers can take part in the cruiser (easiest), expert (a little harder) and racer (elite level) divisions. The Alpine divisions are further divided by age.
Seven of the Town Challenge events are held at Howelsen and four are held at Mount Werner.
Racers can earn points at each race based on their finishes, but may also win big prizes at the post-race parties in the random drawings.
"We give away about $500 in prizes each night," DeVos said. "During the year there are more than $10,000 available in prizes."
The Town Challenge racer series will hold its next event, a slalom, on Jan. 3 at Howelsen Hill.
The race will begin at 7 p.m. Registration opens at 5 p.m.