Skiers break out in Winter Park

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Sunday's first-place finish in an open moguls event in Winter Park was the best start Steamboat Springs freestyle skier Michael Mead has had in more than three years.

That's how long Mead has been battling a series of knee injuries that left him rehabilitating his knee instead of powering through the bumps en route to top finishes.

But last weekend his fortunes changed as he skied to a fifth-place finish in his first competition of the season and then posted a first in Sunday's events.

"He has been working really hard in the weight room this summer, and it's really paying off for him," freestyle director Eric Skinner said.

The coach said he was happy to see Mead and several of the club's younger skiers step up and represent the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club in Winter Park. Many of the club's top skiers had left for Park City and U.S. Ski Team selection events, but it didn't stop Steamboat from earning some top results.

Mead led the Steamboat team's efforts in the first competition of the weekend with his fifth-place finish. Teammate Sam Tarrant was 14th and Abe Maynard came in 21st.

On the women's side, Camille Bucci finished sixth after the qualifying run and then held on for an 11th-place finish in the final standings.

Veteran skier Eric Banghart, who skis with Breckenridge, won the men's event and Rachel Weitzenkorn topped the women's.

The skiers returned to the slopes Sunday for the second day of competition at Winter Park.

This time Mead scored 21.6 points to top Joe Discoe who finished with 20.43 points and Brett Branca at 20.2.

Other top Steamboat skiers included Tarrant in ninth, Nathaniel Chellel in 28th and Maynard in 33rd.

Bucci placed 11th again to lead the Steamboat women's efforts.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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