Sailors skiers prep for weekend meets

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With a race and the holiday break behind them, the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic and Alpine teams are looking to build on early season success.

The Nordic team competes today at Breckenridge while the Alpine team resumes action Friday at Beaver Creek.

On the Nordic side, assistant coach Barry Smith said the team is looking to duplicate its top three finish at the Vail Mountain Classic in December.

"I feel pretty good about them," Smith said. "We've been working them pretty good, and (head coach) Chrissy Lynch is doing a good job of getting them ready."

Smith said the race in Beaver Creek presents several areas of concern. Skiers will be challenged with the high altitude - Gold Run Nordic Center is at 9,800 feet - and the mass-start format.

"It can be real tricky," Smith said. "Getting out of the block, we've practiced a bunch of that."

The Alpine team will look to repeat the success it had in Summit County during the season's first meet. In December, the boys finished first and the girls finished fourth, including a first-place finish from Jenny Allen.

"It was fantastic," coach Chad Bowdre said. "It was absolutely fantastic."

Bowdre said Friday's race should be interesting because most of the high school ski team will be with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club at Keystone competing in a downhill event.

Nonetheless, Bowdre said the race - the first slalom of the year - should provide some Sailors with much-needed experience.

"This is kind of a quiet race," Bowdre said. "It's the first slalom race, and it's a great race for the newer kids. It's a great opportunity to ski a slalom race."

Both coaches said the teams are looking to qualify as many skiers as possible for the Feb. 14 and 15 state championships at the Steamboat Ski Area.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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