A blazing fast second run helped Park City, Utah's Hailey Duke charge to the front of the pack during Monday night's Holiday Classic slalom at Howelsen Hill.
Less than a second separated four skiers after the first run of Monday's slalom race, which was held under the lights. Sunday night's winner Mattie Ford led the pack with a first-run time of 46.41 seconds. Megan Hughes finished second at 46.64, with Duke in third at 46.86 and Kiley Staples in fourth at 46.97.
But in the second run, Duke was able to distance herself from the rest of the pack by making the trip down the face of Howelsen in 44.98 to finish at 1 minute, 31.84 seconds.
The performance was just enough to edge Hughes, from Middlebury College in Vermont, who finished at 1:31.89. Ford fell to third at 1:32.21, and Staples finished fourth at 1:32.61.
Steamboat Springs ski racer Lisa Perricone, who skis for the University of Colorado, was the top local finisher in fifth with a time of 1:33.14.
"I think these races are more exciting now that I'm racing for a college," Perricone said. "I really like the team aspect of it, and it's like I'm racing at a new level, not that it's better or worse, it's just different."
Other top Steamboat finishers in Monday night's slalom included Chelsea Lynch in 21st, Emily Colin in 26th, Dana Breakstone in 32nd, Kathleen Lyon in 39th and Lauren Letson in 43rd.
It was the final slalom race of the week for the women, who moved to Mount Werner on Tuesday for a pair of giant slalom races.
This year's Steamboat Holiday Classic drew a field of more than 130 skiers to Steamboat Springs for the four-day series. The field includes top-level regional and national racers as well as some of the best college racers in the country. Most of the college racers are in town hoping to get a preview of the courses that will be used when Steamboat hosts the NCAA Skiing Championships in March.
-- John F. Russell/Staff