Bernard tops Aspen races

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Alpine racer Ramsey Bernard is looking forward to returning to the Loveland Ski Area this weekend for the third high school giant slalom race this season.

"Before moving to Steamboat Springs, I skied with the Loveland Club, so I know that hill pretty well," Bernard said. "It should be a lot of fun to go back and see my old friends and coaches."

On Friday, Bernard's fourth-place finish highlighted the Steamboat Springs High School ski team's finishes during a giant slalom race at Aspen Highlands.

Max Avery of Vail Mountain School won the one-run giant slalom race with a time of 50.1 seconds. Summit's Josh Stuhr was second at 51.63, and Vail's Tyler Kjesbo was third with a time of 52.16. Bernard was less than a second off the podium, finishing with a time of 52.23.

Bernard said it's been tough to adjust to the one-run format that has been used in several of the high school races this season, including last week's event in Aspen.

"Normally, ski racers use the first run to get into position for the second," Bernard said. "But you really have to go for it in a one-run event because that's the only chance you get."

Sailors coach Chad Bowdre said he expects the format to be tweaked for this weekend's events in Loveland and said that the top racers will get a second run.

The fields for the high school races have been too big to allow two runs, but coaches and organizers have agreed to run a full first run and then cut the field for the second run so that only the top 60 racers will take part in the second.

"It's more like what they do on the World Cup," Bowdre said. "We think it will work and make the events more fair for all the racers."

The only other Steamboat finisher at the Aspen race was Taylor Smith, who had to hike to make a gate and finished 85th with a time of 1:04.36. Andrew Zopf skied off course in his run, and Derek Nickum did not start.

Bowdre said the course was difficult for the skiers because of a layer of soft snow on top of a layer of hard snow and ice.

Summit's Katie Hartman won the women's race.

The top Steamboat finisher was Robyn Dye in 11th place with a time of 57.11. She was followed by teammates Priska Sorensen in 13th at 57.22 and Katie Conrath in 19th at 58.58.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Anna Anderson in 28th, Caitlin Gibbs in 36th, Carolyn Chotvacs in 38th and Vikki Brown in 44th.

Bowdre said the finishes kept the Sailors out of the team standings in Saturday's race, but he thinks the team is making good progress this season and should be a contender when the state meet rolls around this February.

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

or e-mail jrussell@steambatpilot.com

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