Tuesday, December 30, 2003
It was going to take more than a few tricky turns at the top of Howelsen Hill on Wednesday morning to trip ski racer Heidi Hillenbrand and her teammates from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
En route to a second-place finish, Hillenbrand charged through a technical section that claimed more than a few racers in the second run of the Rocky Mountain Trophy Series. She was followed by teammates Christine Roberts in third and Emily Colin in fourth.
"I wasn't even thinking," Hillenbrand said. "I was just going to the bottom as fast as I could."
Hillenbrand, who started the race in the 23rd position, ripped through the course in a time of
1 minute, 23.12 seconds to take second place behind University of Denver skier Pia Rivelsrud. Rivelsrud, a senior racer, won the slalom with a time of 1:22.97.
Roberts was third with a time of 1:23.42, and Colin was fourth at 1:23.95. The three Steamboat skiers swept the junior podium.
"It was just an awesome day of skiing," said Tony Nunnikhoven, the Winter Sports Club's Alpine director. "We all knew these racers had it in them, but it was fun to watch them ski."
Nunnikhoven wasn't surprised that the tricky section at the top of the course failed to throw his skiers off their game. He said the members of the Winter Sports Club know their way around Howelsen Hill and there isn't a whole lot a course-setter can do to surprise the Steamboat skiers.
"All of our skiers know that hill," Nunnikhoven said. "When other teams come here for a race, our skiers definitely have a home hill advantage."
Other top Steamboat finishers in Wednesday's women's race included Madeline McLean in 15th place, Annie Vranizan in 19th, and Kelli Gleason in 25th.
Kathleen Lyon, who started in the 60th position, had a strong showing moving up to 38th. Suzanne Allbright also made a strong showing, moving from 66th to 45th in the standings.