Saturday, December 16, 2006
Steamboat Springs If the number 13 was unlucky for the University of Denver's Claire Abbe, it didn't show Friday night.
Abbe, who started the first slalom of the Rocky Mountain Trophy Series Steamboat Holiday Classic in the 13th position, blew away the field on her second run to win with a combined time of 1 minute, 26.29 seconds.
"First run I was kind of hesitant, so I knew I had to get after it on second run," she said. "I just kind of laid it all out and it was either going to be fast or I wouldn't make it down the course."
Her second run was fast, but with three skiers left to come down the face of Howelsen, Abbe was forced to wait and watch as University of Denver skier Lindsay McClure, University of Colorado skier Lisa Perricone and Summit County racer Katie Hartman all got their chance.
Both McClure and Perricone, who grew up in Steamboat, had bobbles on the course that cost them a spot on the podium. Perricone fell to 35th.
"I fell on the second run and had to hike," Perricone said. "I was a half second behind, so I was gunning for the win and I didn't quite get it. It's early season and I haven't had a lot of time on snow, so I'm not going to let it get to me."
The final skier with a chance at beating Abbe was Hartman, who laid down the fastest first run of the night. She didn't give up the top spot without a fight.
"Knowing that you are in first and leading the race is a hard position," Hartman said. "I've never been in (that position) before, so I just wanted to lay down a good run. But Claire is an awesome skier and she put it down too."
Hartman blazed down the course in a time of 42.67 on her second run, but fell just short, finishing with a combined time of 1:26.72. University of Colorado racer Rachel Roosevelt, who was fifth after the first run, finished third with a time of 1:28.08.
"I knew that I needed to ski with confidence and really put it down on the second run," Roosevelt said. "Last year, I didn't have the best season and this year I'm building up my confidence with every run. It felt good tonight."
Top Steamboat finishers included Heidi Hillenbrand in 11th place and Lauren Letson who moved up from her 35th starting position to place 15th in the race. Steamboat's Ann West moved from 32nd to 17th and Mary Rachel Hostetter, who started 49th, finished 22nd in the race.
Former Steamboat Springs racer Kathleen Lyon, who now skis for the Colorado School of Mines, finished 27th.
The Steamboat Holiday Classic will continue today with two slalom races at Howelsen Hill.
The second and final women's slalom is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. with the first run. The second run is scheduled for noon. The men also will race at Howelsen starting at 4:45 p.m. The second run is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.