Steamboat Springs For more than 20 years the J-4 Junior Olympic Festival has been held in Crested Butte.
But not anymore.
This week, the races, and more than 150 of the region's top 11- and 12-year-old racers, will come to Steamboat Springs for the first time ever.
"It was time for a change and I think that it is awesome that we have these races here," Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club alpine skiing director Tony Nunnikhoven said.
Nunnikhoven said he thinks the young skiers may like the steeper pitches here in Steamboat compared to the somewhat flatter runs in Crested Butte. The races will be held in Steamboat Springs for the next three years.
"I was up working on the courses this week," Nunnikhoven said. "I think it is going to be great."
A groomer was used this week to add rolls to the flatter bottom section of the course. Nunnikhoven said he also added some rolls at the top of the course to challenge the racers.
The races will begin on Thursday with a super-G race on Sitz/See Mee and be followed by giant slalom races on Friday. The events will come to a close on Sunday with the slalom events at Howelsen Hill.
Steamboat will have 10 skiers in the races shooting for titles. Nunnikhoven is hoping the home-field advantage will help those skiers reach their full potential.
"These are the best young ski racers in the country," Nunnikhoven said. "They had to race really well just to get here."
All of the racers will come from the Rocky Mountain and Central divisions.
The boys will open things up on Wednesday with the first run of the super-G at 9:05 a.m. The girls will follow at 11:20 a.m.
On Friday, the skiers will move to the giant slalom race with the girls taking runs at 8:45 a.m. and noon. The boys will race at 10:05 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Slalom racing will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday with the boys' first run. The girls' first run will begin at 10 a.m.
The boys' second run will take place at 11:30 a.m. and the girls will race at 1 p.m.