Thursday, February 2, 2006
Some of the top college ski racers will be chasing Buffaloes down the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area and Howelsen Hill this weekend.
Thanks to a strong Nordic showing last weekend, the University of Colorado Buf-faloes took a 56-point advantage against second-place University of New Mexico Lobos midway through the Laura Sharpe Flood Memorial Ski Invitational, hosted by the University of Colorado in Steamboat Springs. The University of Denver, the defending NCAA champion, is in third place with 261 total points. The Buffaloes, who have 321 points, will need another strong performance from the Alpine side, to hold off the University of New Mexico Lobos in the team standings. The Lobos, who have 265 points, and the Pioneers also will be looking for strong showings from their Alpine skiers.
Although the top college ski racers are battling for team points, the invitational will provide as opportunity for about 25 members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club who are not in the college ranks -- yet.
"Because these races are sanctioned by the International Skiing Federation there is an opportunity for the top 30 ranked racers, who are not competing in college to ski," said Chris Puckett, Alpine director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "It's a great opportunity for some of our younger racers to improve their points and to be exposed to college ski racing."
The invitational will open with the women's giant slalom on Mount Werner's Concentration ski run beginning at 9:45 a.m. today. The second run is at 12:30 p.m.
The men's slalom race is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. today under the lights at Howelsen Hill. The second run should begin at 8 p.m.
The men and women will trade venues Saturday. The men will take the giant slalom course at 9:45 a.m. at Steamboat Ski Area. The women will race at 6 p.m. Saturday night under the lights.
For the college racers, the event is a regular season meet that will be used to help determine which skiers and teams will be invited to the NCAA National Championships, which take place in Steamboat in March.
For the members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the races will be a chance to get introduced to college ski racing and possibly make an impression on college coaches who will be in town for the events.
Puckett said Steamboat should be well-represented in the events. In addition to the 25 athletes who are not affiliated with a college, there will be several other skiers who have gone on to compete at the college level.
Joel Adams, Pat Duran, Josh Bryan and Lisa Perricone are members of the University of Colorado team. Gaspar Perricone is skiing with the University of New Mexico, and Brittany Bahle is skiing for Alaska.
-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail email@example.com