Steamboat Springs The echoes of the ski season are quickly fading away as administrators, coaches and skiers at Howelsen Hill begin the process of winding down.
However, on Monday morning the steady drone of scraping filtered out of the wax room as if to remind us that there are still a few races left to be decided.
The noise was Justin Goto-Reiter preparing his snowboard for the final event of the season -- the Chevy Trucks U.S. Snowboard Finals this weekend in Aspen.
"These are the last races of the season," the 22-year-old Winter Sports Club athlete said. "But they're pretty big ones."
The Chevy Trucks U.S. Snowboard Finals will include halfpipe, boarder cross, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom. Goto-Reiter will compete in the PGS Thursday and the slalom event Saturday. He is one of the seven Steamboat athletes scheduled to take part in the national championships. A good finish here could mean a spot on the U.S. snowboarding team next fall.
"I haven't had the best luck at the U.S. championships in the past," he said. "I've crashed the last three years, but I'm hoping to turn it around this year."
Goto-Reiter is hoping that his third-place finish at the Canadian National Championships last week will give him the confidence he needs to be successful in Aspen.
Canadian Jerome Sylvestre knocked Goto-Reiter out of the championships in the round of four.
Despite losing, coach Thado Remmelink said it was one of Goto-Reiter's best efforts this season.
"He made a few very small mistakes at the top, but made a very strong run at the end," Remmelink said. "If the course had been a couple of gates longer I think he might have won."
Sylvestre advanced to an all-Canadian final, where he lost to teammate Jasey Jay Anderson. Goto-Reiter ripped past another Canadian rider, Justin Claude Dumont, to take third place in the event, which was held at the Nakiska Ski Area near Calgary.
Other top Steamboat finishers included Erica Mueller who went out in the second round of the parallel giant slalom placing her in a tie for eighth and Vic Wild who went out in the second run of the parallel slalom, which was held at Calgary's Olympic Park on Saturday.