Steamboat hosting Alpine races

Annual events brings stiff competition from throughout region

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— With the start of the collegiate ski season less than two weeks away, University of Denver junior David Lamb is hoping a pair of slalom races in Steamboat this week will give him a boost.

"Hopefully things will go as well for me as they did in the giant slalom races last week," Lamb said. "It was wonderful to be able to come home and do that well in front of my family, friends and former coaches. Getting back-to-back wins gave me a lot of confidence."

Lamb, a former member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is now setting the pace for the DU ski team. He won a pair of Rocky Mountain Trophy Series giant slalom races hosted by the Winter Sports Club at the Steamboat Ski Area Dec. 21-22. Skiers from the University of Denver dominated the events taking first through fourth places both days.

"They were awesome races for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club," said Tony Nunnikhoven, the club's Alpine director.

Nunnikhoven was happy to see a former club member lead the pack both days, and he was thrilled to see how many of the Steamboat juniors fared.

Tony Cesolini was the top junior in the first race placing sixth. Steamboat's Drew Roberts and Brede Halsnes were the top juniors in the second race -- tying for fifth place overall.

"The fields at these races are always tough," Lamb said. "The top college racers and top juniors from the region always seem to be there."

Steamboat has been hosting major regional races over the holidays since Lamb was a child.

Even though he has moved on to the U.S. Ski Team and now to DU, Lamb has always returned for the Alpine races in Steamboat during the holidays.

"It's a tradition," Lamb said. "Plus these are some of the best races anywhere in the country this time of the year."

Nunnikhoven said the events will draw the most talented field of racers the club will see this season.

'These are the biggest regional races going," Nunnikhoven said. "They are the highest level in the Rocky Mountain Division and just one step below a NorAm race."

The events will get under way at Howelsen today with the first women's run at 8:15 a.m. The women's second run is scheduled for 9:45 a.m.

The men will start with the first run at noon. The second run is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Nunnikhoven expects 140 men and 80 women to take part in the races. The athletes will come from the Rocky Mountain Region as well as the University of New Mexico, the University of Colorado, DU and from colleges in Utah and Montana.

'These are going to be great races," Nunnikhoven said. "Our racers and our staff are very excited about hosting them."


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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot .com

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