It doesn't matter whether she's in first place or last after the first run of a race, U.S. Ski Team member Megan McJames says she always takes the same approach.
"I try not to think about the results, "McJames said. "I just try skiing my best every run and the results will come. ... It helps take the pressure off."
On Tuesday, McJames ignored the flat light, falling snow and pressure en route to winning the women's giant slalom race.
"Conditions were tricky today, but that's what separates the field," McJames said. "It was pretty bumpy and bad light, but I made it down, and that's what counts."
The giant slalom was the third race of the week for the women in the Rocky Mountain Trophy Series' Steamboat Holiday Classic. The women raced slalom Sunday and Monday evenings at Howelsen Hill before moving to Steamboat Ski Area on Tuesday for the first of two giant slalom events.
McJames started the second run of Tuesday's race 14 hundredths of a second behind New Zealand's Erika McLeod, who was leading at the time. McJames' laid down the best second run time of 1 minute, 4.90 seconds. Her combined time of 2:11.08 put her ahead of McLeod, who couldn't match McJames' second-run effort and finished at 2:12.13 Laura Scripture was third at 2:12.45, and Chelsea Lynch of Steamboat Springs finished fourth at 2:12.68.
Other top Steamboat finishers included Heidi Hillenbrand in 14th, Lisa Perricone in 18th and Jennifer Allen in 21st.
"It was a really rough course, and I didn't ski as aggressive as I would have liked," Perricone said. "I did pretty well in the slalom and was hoping to carry it into the giant slalom today. It was one of those courses that you really have to fight through and you're not going to feel good about when you're finished -- no one really does. Whoever is most aggressive is going to be fastest."
Allen agreed that the conditions on the Sitz/ See Me ski run made racing difficult, but she said crews did an excellent job maintaining the course and preparing the second run despite heavy snow.
"It was fun, "Allen said after the race. "The snow was weird because it was wet and rainy. It was kind of rough and sticky ... but you just have to keep attacking. The key to skiing fast was letting your skis run, especially at the bottom where it was flatter."
The hometown racers will have another shot at the giant slalom course today during the final women's event of the week at the Holiday Classic. The giant slalom finale will begin with the first run at 9:30 a.m. The second run is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m.