Ski teams face off this weekend at Howelsen

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— Howelsen Hill will play host to the Sailors' one and only ski competition as both Alpine and Nordic teams travel to Steamboat this weekend.

The action starts Friday morning with the slalom races and continues Saturday for the cross country competition.

With races starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Sailors' Nordic team is looking to continue its success. For the girls, freshman Korie Steitz has won the two high school competitions she has entered and the boys had a fourth-place finish with Austin Ross in last weekend's competition at Devil's Thumb.

Saturday's classical style race, which will start and finish at the rodeo arena, has both high school and middle school athletes as it brings in 10 teams and more than 120 racers.

Sailors coach Brian Tate said the Howelsen Hill course would be a challenge for the athletes because of the space restriction from the Alpine races and public skiing. "It's going to be a rather difficult course," he said. "There's not a lot of room and some pretty steep hills."

Tate expects Summit County High School to give his teams the most competition but expects his racers to place in the top 3.

The Sailors' Alpine team will have a home-field advantage over the 14 teams and 200 competitors expected to turn out for the slalom event. Sailors coach Chris Arnes said he is looking for better results than the teams' opening competition that had the boys place ninth and the girls place eighth.

"In Aspen we had a ninth place in the first race. I'm hoping for a better showing this time around," Arnes said.

The Sailors' best chance might be with the girls' team, which fields top competitors in Cassidy Kurtz, Piper Reed and Rebecca Herman. In the season opener, Kurtz placed second out of 63 competitors in the giant slalom.

"The girls' team could win it," Arnes said. "The girls are hot right now."

For the Alpine event, the first run starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday and the second run should start at noon.

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