Town Challenge wraps up season

More than 150 skiers took part in events

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— Howelsen Hill used to intimidate Patti Zehner.

It was too steep and too icy to ski down, let alone race on.

This year, her third in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Race Series, Zehner finally made progress in conquering her fears.

"The first night at Howelsen was still tough," Zehner said. "I was finally able to fit in some training sessions and that helped a lot, just getting more comfortable on the hill. As you ski that hill more and more, you learn to do it. I just had an awesome season."

The Town Challenge wrapped up its 21st season on March 13 with more than 150 skiers taking part in at least one of the 11 super-G, slalom or giant slalom races put on this winter at Howelsen Hill and Mount Werner.

The racers competed in 15 different divisions, the mens' 40-plus and mens telemark divisions being the largest.

Town Challenge coordinator Heather DeVos said the mens telemark races ended up being the most competitive overall during the winter.

Ken Recker beat out Scott Cowman for the telemark title, while Charles Reynolds' took first in the mens 40-plus division.

DeVos won the women's overall title, while Kevin Hendrickson and Brett Harvey shared the men's overall title. DeVos finished no worse than fourth in any of the 11 races she entered in the womens' 40-plus division.

Hendrickson and Harvey both competed in the mens' racer division.

Age and ability split the divisions.

The distinguishing factor between the racer, expert and cruiser divisions was a skier's exposure, or lack thereof, to racing.

The cruisers had none, while the racers were seasoned competitors.

"It is competitive for people looking for that," Hendrickson said of the overall series. "On the other hand, there is a class for everyone. Most of the people that do Town Challenge didn't race as much when they were younger, including myself. Most of the people kind of got a late start and are looking for something to do."

Zehner is a prime example. She went on to win the womens 50-plus division this year after skiing in just one race two years ago.

"I've always been in racing for camaraderie," Zehner said. "The race league I was used to in Michigan had all levels. In Steamboat, it seemed like only the best come out. This year, there was more variety. I'd like to see more women do this."

Linda Whittle was tops in the womens' cruiser division. Kathy Wichelhaus won the womens' expert division and Amy Lawton took first in womens' racer.

Andrea Bishop and Jessica Miller tied for top honors in the snowboard division and Karen Goodman won the womens' telemark division after missing only two races all season.

Joining Reynolds, Recker and Hendrickson as winners on the men's side were Tom DeGroff (mens' 50-plus), Jerry Taylor (mens' 60-plus), Joel Christensen (mens' cruiser), Barkley Robinson (mens' expert) and Mark-o Ross-Bryant (snowboard).

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