Steamboat Springs For many Alpine ski racers in Steamboat Springs, the SmartWool Race Series is a chance to earn points and move up the ladder to higher-level races.
But last week's races in Keystone were also about going downhill fast.
Several of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's top Alpine racers recently returned from those super-G and downhill races with solid showings.
"Everybody on our team improved every race - especially our racers starting in the back," coach Anje Worrell said. "For many of them, this was their first downhill. I was impressed with how they got better every day and every race."
Leading the way in the women's super-G race Jan. 6 was Quantum Ski Club racer Leah Canfield. Top Steamboat racers included Jorid Halsnes (12th), Jamie Gay (16th) and Carolyn Chotvacs (19th).
Halsnes moved up to sixth, second for J-2 racers, in the second women's super-G race Jan. 7. Canfield also won that race.
Gay finished 16th, Chotvacs was 19th and Eimile Colgan was 20th.
The series also featured two super-G races on the men's side. The first was held Jan. 6 and was won by Summit County's Tanner Bardin. Steamboat's Wiley Thayer was sixth, and Ben Paley came in 11th. Paley was second in the J-2 age class.
Summit County's Spenst Taggart won the second boys super-G Jan. 7. He edged Steamboat's Thayer, who moved from his 13th place starting position to second in the final results. Paley was 10th in that race.
On Jan. 10, the girls moved to the downhill course for the first of two races. Winter Park's Molly Leonard won the race. The top Steamboat skier was Mary Rachel Hostetter, who finished sixth. Anna Marno was eighth in the overall results and second among J-3 racers. Emily Rabbitt had a strong race, moving from 27th in the start to 13th at the finish - she was fourth among J-3 racers. Other top finishers included Caitlin Colgan (18th), Maria Hillenbrand (23rd), Chrissy Ford (27th) and Hanna Berglund (29th).
Delainey Ackerman won the second women's downhill race of the week Jan. 11. The top Steamboat racer was Marno, who won the girls J-3 class and was fifth overall. Hostetter was eighth, Emily Sackett was 14th, Rabbitt was 19th , Sara Andrews was 21st, Caitlin Colgan was 26th, Berglund was 27th and Ford placed 30th.
Former University of Colorado racer Ben Babbitt won the men's race. The top Steamboat finisher was Jacob Anderson who finished third in the J-2 class and seventh overall. Thayer placed 14th, Jimmy Hostetler was 17th, James Schindler was 20th, Hig Roberts was 21st, Ryan Coe placed 22nd, Taylor Coe was 26th and Max Marno was 30th.
Riley Thompson won the second men's race of the week Jan. 11. Steamboat's Taylor Coe finished ninth overall and second in the J-2 class. Ryan Coe finished 13th overall and third among J-2 skiers. Thayer was 15th, Michael Lyon was 24th, Roberts was 31st and Max Marno was 32nd.
This weekend, the Steamboat racers will head to Winter Park for a pair of giant slalom races. Worrell said many of Steamboat's older racers plan to head to Beaver Creek after the races for Rocky Mountain Trophy Series races Jan. 22 to 28.