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Great conditions, top skiers combine for exciting freestyle event

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Blue sky, fresh snow and the top freestyle skiers in the Rocky Mountain Division combined last weekend to make for a memorable event at the Steamboat Ski Area.

"It was intense," Steamboat skier Carly Gmeiner said. "The level of skiers at this event was truly amazing."

Steamboat ability coach Garth Hager agreed.

"This weekend's competitions went surprisingly smoothly," Hager said. "The weather did its part and fired up our Steamboat skiers on their home turf."

The Rocky Mountain Division events came to a close Sunday with Steamboat's Michael Macomber battling teammate Mike Mead in the finals of the dual moguls.

The two skiers threw matching helicopter iron cross tricks on the top air and double twister spreads on the bottom in one of the tightest side-by-side runs of the day. When the final results were tallied, it was Macomber edging his teammate by a single point.

"Those two gave the crowd an exciting run," Hager said. "It was very tight from the top to the bottom."

Tyler Singer finished in third, Joseph Disco was fourth and Steamboat's Kyle Ewing came in fifth. Other top Winter Sports Club skiers included Mike Casale in seventh, Stuart Greenshields in eighth and Jarrett Arguelles in ninth.

Hager was hoping for a Steamboat sweep as bump skier Gmeiner went up against Winter Park's Molly Sullen in the women's finals.

But Sullen topped the Steamboat skier who is recovering from an injured tailbone.

"It was tough," Gmeiner said. "I was pretty sore today. However, I'm just glad to be back in the starting gate again."

Gmeiner just started jumping last week and is hoping to get her skiing back to where it was in the early part of the season before being injured at the U.S. Ski Team selection events.

Vail's Ali Levy was third, Jenny Haywood finished fourth and Steamboat's Lauren Crawford came in fifth. Other top Steamboat finishers included Maryann Skraba in seventh with Erica Damon, Eliza Outtrim and Kylie Douglas tied for ninth.

"The women competed very well. It was great to see them determined and excited to ski," Hager said.

The duals were the last of three events held at the Steamboat Ski Area last weekend.

The Rocky Mountain meet opened Friday with Steamboat's Caterina Mader dominating a pair of aerial events at the Park Smalley Freestyle complex.

Mader beat out second-place finisher Lauren Rainen and third-place finisher Jordan Poyfair in the first event with a triple twister and double twister spread. Steamboat's Jenny Rose Lee finished fifth, and Camille Bucci was seventh in that competition.

Mader reversed the two tricks for the second competition, but came away with the same top result. Poyfair moved up to second in that event and Rainen finished third.

Steamboat's Bucci moved up to fourth, and Lee was 11th.

Russell Ruppert was the top Steamboat finisher in the first of two aerial events for the men. He took fifth place. Andrew Wickes won the contest with Steamboat's Bo Randolph in 11th, Nic DeVos in 12th and Mead in 14th.

Nathaniel Chellel led the Steamboat team in the second aerial event with a fourth-place finish. Dutch Simpson won the event with Steamboat's Randolph in fifth, Nic DeVos in seventh, Daniel MacArthur in 10th, and Scott Roche in 19th.

Saturday's open mogul event was highlighted by an appearance by Olympic silver medalist Travis Mayer, who led the field with a score of 26.17.

He was followed by Andy Musser in second and Steamboat's Michael Morse in third.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Logan Belz in sixth, Eddie Keiser in seventh and Randolph in eighth. Ewing was 10th, and Arguelles finished 12th.

The women's mogul event was won by Levy who laid down a run of 21.97.

The top Steamboat finisher was Outtrim in third, Gmeiner in sixth and Douglas in seventh. Skraba finished eighth. Mader finished ninth.

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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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