Steamboat Springs Skiers in Saturday's Colorado Junior Ski Cup Championships flew down the face of Howelsen Hill in a steady, quick stream, one competitor after another launching from the starting gate as the previous competitor neared the finish.
It made for a quick run through the 69 competitors in the women's slalom competition, and it made for a few exhilarating moments as the day's championship was decided in a matter of seconds.
The race lead changed four times in a single two-minute stretch, a pair of Steamboat skiers knocked off the podium's top spot before they could even remove their helmets.
Maddie Strachota, from Minnesota's Team Gilboa, came out of the melee on top, winning the competition and recording the fastest time of the day's two runs.
With a combined time of 1 minute, 19.58 seconds, she edged out University of Colorado and former Steamboat skier Jenny Allen and 16-year-old Steamboat Spring Winter Sports Club skier Anna Marno.
Allen was second at 1:20.92, and Marno third at 1:20.92.
"I'm happy," Marno said. "I'm just trying to take this race a little easier because we're going to Alaska in a couple of days for U.S. Nationals."
Despite the furious fight to the finish, the second run didn't alter the first run's rankings.
Strachota's first-run time of 38.16 was the fastest of the day. Marno, third after the first run, came close to doing what was necessary to move up.
She said she slammed a gate with her elbow on the first run and lost a few moments, but she made up for it on the second and logged that run's fastest time, finishing in 41.34 seconds, 0.08 seconds better than Strachota's second run time and 0.25 seconds ahead of Allen.
"It's your home hill, so it's always fun," Marno said. "We don't get to actually race here much.
"You had to adjust to (the slushy conditions.) You have to adjust the way you work your skis and how you position your body."
The Winter Sports Club also got top-20 finishes from Shane McLean, who was seventh, Emily Sackett in 10th, Sarah White in 18th and Chrissy Ford in 19th.
Steamboat's Sam Glaisher led the way for the club on the men's side.
Glaisher finished sixth, recording the seventh-fastest run on his first and second trips down the Howelsen slalom course. Mark Miller, of Summit, won the day's competition with a combined time of 1:12:30.
Glaisher finished at 1:15.87.
Nelson Kane at 29th and James Schindler at 31st were the next two best Steamboat skiers.
Saturday's slalom race was the third in a busy four-day weekend for area J1 and J2 Alpine skiers.
Marno was close to a championship Saturday, but she grabbed one Thursday, dominating the first of two giant slalom races. She had the fastest times on both of the runs at Steamboat Ski Area and finished with a combined time of 1:58.78.
She was the only racer to crack the two-minute barrier and finished ahead of Whitney Setterberg, who was second at 2:00.75.
McLean made it another podium with two Steamboat skiers by finishing third at 2:01.33.
McLean also earned a spot on the podium with a third-place finish in Friday's giant slalom race.
Abby Ghent won Friday's race with a time of 1:57.04, ahead of McLean's time of 1:57.59.
The Winter Sports Club boys racers dominated the Thursday and Friday giant slalom events.
Ryan McConnell logged two podium finishes, winning Friday's race with a time of 1:49.78 and finished second Thursday at 1:54.29.
Hig Roberts won Thursday at 1:54.26. Max Marno was third in that race, making for a all-local podium. His time was 1:54.86.
Steamboat's skiers will get one more crack at a top finish today. The final slalom event in the weekend's competition begins at 8:30 a.m. at Howelsen Hill.