Skiers face busy weekend

Freestylers taking part in 'grand finale' at Steamboat

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— The top freestyle skiers in the Rocky Mountain Division will be coming to Steamboat Springs this weekend with hopes of grabbing a divisional title.

"It's the final Rocky Mountain Division meet of the season," Winter Sports Club freestyle director Wendy Allen said. "It's like a grand finale."

The finale will attract more than 150 of the best skiers who have already qualified to ski in the event based on finishes earlier this season. Among those skiers will be most of the team from Steamboat Springs.

Several of them including Emiko Torito, Carly Gmeiner, Lauren Crawford and Chris Pusey, who will have just returned for the Nor-Am Tour.

Torito finished third in a singles mogul event Thursday. Gmeiner was ninth and Crawford was 10th. Pusey placed seventh in the men's event.

While this week's divisional championship events may not be as prestigious as the Nor-Ams, Allen said they are important to the members of the Winter Sports Club.

The championships will begin on Wednesday with an upright aerial event at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex at the Steamboat Ski Area. That competition will begin at 10 a.m. and should run until 1 p.m.

On Thursday, the junior mogul skiers (for skiers under the age of 18) will hit the bumps for the first of two days of mogul events.

The championship moguls will take center stage on Friday at the Steamboat Ski Area. This event will be open to anyone in the Rocky Mountain Division who has qualified to ski in them. The dual moguls will be the final event on Saturday.

All of the mogul events will begin at 10 a.m. and should wrap up at about 2 p.m. each day.

"There should be a lot of good competitive skiers here for the events," Allen said. "I think it will be a lot of fun."

Allen said the events will help the local skiers earn points for higher-level events in the future. But for the most part, the skiers will be vying for those coveted regional titles.

It will be a busy week for the local freestyle skiers. Today at Howelsen Hill the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will host junior development skiers from around the region in a competition at 10 a.m.

Allen is expecting 100 young skiers from Aspen, Ski Club Vail, Team Summit and a few independents to be on hand at Howelsen.

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