Tragedy casts pall on racing

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Tragic news from Vail overshadowed Lisa Perricone's sixth-place finish in Sunday's Rocky Mountain Trophy Series giant slalom race at the Steamboat Ski Area.

"There were some very heavy hearts up there today," said Chris Puckett, competitive Alpine director for the Winter Sports Club. "It was a very sad day up there on the hill."

The Steamboat skiers got the bad news after they finished their first run. Fellow Winter Sports Club skier Ashley Stamp, 13, died in a skiing accident in Vail Sunday morning. Puckett said the news was a crushing blow to the skiers.

University of Colorado skier Lucie Zikova, of the Czech Republic, topped the field of more than 70 racers. Zikova finished with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 51 seconds. Quantam Race Team member Chelsea Lynch was second at 1:71.7 and Chrine Njeim, who skis for the Rowmark Academy in Utah, was third at 1:51.17.

Perricone was the top Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club finisher with a time of 1:52.04. Tina Roberts was seventh at 1:52.66, and Heidi Hillenbrand placed 12th at 1:53.67.

Other top finishers included Madeline Mclean, who moved from her 55th place starting position to 28th in the final results. Jennifer Allen, who started 87th, also made a jump to finish 29th in the final standings.

"It was bittersweet," Puckett said about the race. "We skied really well, but I'm not sure that really mattered."

Puckett was happy that the race was able to be held on the Sitz/See Me ski run. Last week, the race was expected to be moved to Vagabond, but the Ski Area crews did an amazing job making snow on Sitz/See Me.

"It was unbelievable," Puckett said. "They worked magic to get that course ready."

The women will return to the slopes today for the second and final giant slalom race. The first run is scheduled for 10 a.m., and the second will take place at 1 p.m.

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