Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Steamboat Springs The 21st annual Town Challenge Race Series kicks off tonight at Howelsen Hill.
Eleven races and one jumping event are scheduled this season on both Howelsen and Mt. Werner with five giant slalom, four slalom and two super G races on the slate.
The jumping event will be held during the Winter Carnival on 20-, 30- and 50-meter jumps.
The cost to enter each race is $15, but a season pass to enter all races can be purchased for $121.
All interested racers must be at least 21 years old and able to safely ski black terrain in all snow conditions. Past participants include former National Team members to skiers and riders newer to the sport.
All races will have after-race parties at the event sponsor's restaurant that will include complete results and drawings for prizes.
"We are very excited about the series this coming winter," race organizer Heather DeVos said. "I think people that raced in the past look forward to it every year, and we keep introducing new people to this type of racing. This is an opportunity not offered many other places."
Thursday's season opener begins with the Azteca Taqueria Kick-Off Party from 5-6:30 p.m. at Olympian Hall and follows with the Steamboat Smokehouse Cup at 7 p.m. at Howelsen.
Today's race is a giant slalom event.
Classes are available in men's and women's Alpine in the following categories: racer -- entrants with significant race experience, expert -- advanced skiers with no race training pasts, and cruiser --little to no race experience.
There are also over 40, over 50 and over 60 age divisions.
Snowboarders and telemark skiers are welcome to participate in their own divisions.
New to the Town Challenge Race Series this year is the team events. Results taken from the first two or three races will be used to form five-person teams --unless qualified individuals wish not to be placed on one.
Race organizers will create the teams as equal as possible. These teams will accumulate points during the season toward an end-of-year prize.
Each team member from the winning team will also receive a prize package including spring ski gloves, embroidered turtlenecks and t-shirts and new night vision ski goggles from several local businesses.
"The team format is changing somewhat," DeVos said. "First of all, people used to choose members of their own town. This year, the organizing committee will seed the races a lot like ski races or golf tournaments to kind of spread out the pros so the teams are as well balanced as they can be."
Anyone interested in racing in either today's race or any other one this season is encouraged to attend today's kick-off party to gather registration information and ask any questions he or she may have.
Interested racers may also call the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club offices at 879-0695, ext. 104.
DeVos said as many as 250 different racers took part in last year's series, with as many as 67 people in one event.