Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Rolf Wilson lands a jump Saturday during the Pro Alpine Ski Flying competition at Howelsen Hill. Wilson is the current record holder in the sport with a jump of 366 feet. He and 10 other competitors will try to outpace that mark at 1 p.m. today.
The details have yet to be worked out for how Steamboat Springs High School seniors Sarah Dixson and Jasper Gantick will compete in four skiing events in two days.
They know that as part of the Skimeister event and qualifying for all four events at the Colorado Skiing State Championships, they'll be doing classic, skate, slalom and giant slalom events.
But the elements of what wax to use, how to get from the classic race to the slalom the first day and then from the giant slalom to the skate event on the second day are still a little bit foggy.
What is for sure is that Dixson and Gantick have done something not many high school skiing competitors have done. By qualifying for state competition in all four events, Dixson and Gantick have entered into a unique club.
"It's pretty amazing," Steamboat Nordic coach Chrissy Lynch said. "At the state championships, they have the 5K Classic race in the morning. As soon as that is done, they jump in the car (and) race over (to) the Alpine. Their technical muscles will be fatigued. They will be tired, then they jump up and go do a slalom race. It's extremely hard to do. It's a scramble for those people. You have to admire these people, because it's exhausting both mentally and physically."
The Skimeister is an event where high school skiers compete in all four high school skiing disciplines - skate, classic, slalom and giant slalom.
It certainly will be a test of stamina for the two. But it's a task both said they are glad they're undertaking.
For Dixson - who competed in the Skimeister last year - it's been the Nordic part that's been the toughest. An Alpine skier for most of her life, Dixson picked up Nordic skiing two years ago and competed for the first time last year.
"It's really fun," Dixson said. "It's busy. I like going to two races each week instead of just one. I'm stronger at Alpine, but I'm starting to really like Nordic. If you crash you can just get back up. It doesn't ruin your run."
Gantick is the opposite. He's always been a strong Nordic skier, but had never raced in an Alpine event. He wanted to do the Skimeister last year, but didn't have the time. This year he decided to do it and race in an Alpine event for the first time in his life.
"I haven't raced ever - never before this year," Gantick said. "I just didn't want to mess up. I was definitely nervous and then I got a 21st place finish in slalom."
Dixson and Gantick said the focus now is just taking one race at a time. Dixson said she'd love to win the Skimeister, while Gantick wants a top-20 finish in each of his events.
Either way, both are glad they competed in the Iron Man event of winter sports.
"I'm certainly going to miss it," Dixson said. "I'm sad I didn't start it earlier."
The State Ski Championships take place Feb. 19 and 20 at Ski Cooper.