Steamboat Springs For the past several months, Steamboat Springs freestyle skier Carly Gmeiner has been anxiously counting down the weeks.
Just a few days ago, the weeks turned into days, and now the first competition of the season is so close that the 21-year-old can't help but show her excitement.
"This is going to be a very important week," Gmeiner said. "If you do well, really well, you can earn a spot on the U.S. Team or an invitation to the NorAms. It's kind of a win-win situation for all the skiers."
Making the U.S. Team is something Gmeiner has been dreaming about since she first put on a pair of skis and made her way down a steep-pitched mogul field.
"Every year I dream of making the U.S. Team. Hopefully, this will be my year," Gmeiner said.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Erik Skinner has also been counting down the days to this week's events. He knows more than just one of his skiers has been looking forward to the Dec. 5 opener and the U.S. selection events, which will take place the following week.
He also knows most of the skiers on this squad have been dreaming of making the jump to the next level of skiing the first few events of the season will offer a great opportunity for those skiers to get noticed.
"Training has been going really well," Skinner said. "It started with dryland a few months ago and we moved to Cyclone when it opened. I think everybody on our team is excited and ready to get going."
The local skiers' first chance to ski top to bottom in a competitive format will come this Friday and Saturday with two championship mogul events in Winter Park.
"The competition will be tough," Gmeiner said. "Everybody is going to be there hoping to get a jump on the rest of the field for the selection events."
Gmeiner said the Rocky Mountain Division meet would be the first major competition for the freestyle skiers this season and the perfect place to warm up for the U.S. selection events, which will take place Dec. 12, 14 and 15.
"There is a lot of pressure that goes along with the selection events," Gmeiner said. "Everyone is focused on making the cut."
Those competitions will also be held in Winter Park and are scheduled to start with a mogul event Dec. 12.
Skinner expects Gmeiner, Jordan Chiovarelli, Lauren Crawford, Andrew Deubel and Eliza Outtrim to lead a strong group of Steamboat skiers hoping to get the season started off right.
The skiers will compete in 11 Rocky Mountain Division meets this year, including a Jan. 3-5 stop in Steamboat.