Steamboat Springs Mary Rachel Hostetter has finally found her comfort zone.
The 2009 Steamboat Springs High School graduate skied collegiately for two years at the University of Denver but recently transferred to the University of New Mexico.
“I feel like it was such a good switch,” Hostetter said. “I’m so much happier now.”
Happier apparently translates into top results.
Hostetter, a junior, wrapped up a brilliant week of slalom skiing Thursday in the final day of the Surefoot FIS Holiday Classic by picking up a win at Howelsen Hill.
Hostetter had the second- and fourth-fastest runs Thursday en route to a combined time of 1 minute, 32.63 seconds.
Fellow Lobo Kate Williams was second in 1:33.53, and Argentinian skier Maria Simari Birkner was third in 1:33.53.
New Mexico continued its dominance with Joonas Rasanen winning the men’s race Thursday in 1:20.69. Teammate Chris Acosta — who won Tuesday — was second in 1:20.81, and University of Denver skier Charlie Reynolds was third in 1:20.92. Steamboat’s Max Marno was eighth, and Hig Roberts was 10th.
But Thursday was all about Hostetter and a group of Steamboat girls who are dotting Division I skiing rosters across the country.
Hostetter’s week just kept getting better. She was sixth Monday, fourth Tuesday and third Wednesday. She set herself up for Thursday’s win with a slick first run, after which she trailed Argentinian skier and Wednesday’s winner Macarena Simari Birkner by 9/100ths of a second.
The second run came out of the top pitch and into a flush setup that caused trouble for several girls. But Hostetter handled the section with ease, and Birkner eventually went off course.
“Our coaches always tell us to set up at the top of the pitches to carry speed through the bottom of them,” said Hostetter, who picked up her first FIS win. “But right now, I’m just enjoying ski racing. It’s just super fun.”
Hostetter was part of a group of Steamboat skiers who made it home for the holidays.
Also skiing in college from Steamboat were Cassady Daley (Montana State), Maria Hillenbrand (Saint Lawrence University), Jenny Allen (Colorado), Cassady Roberts (Colby College) and Shane McLean (Colorado).
All five girls were in the top 30 in the first run, with Allen finishing seventh, Roberts eighth and Daley 23rd.
“This is a great place, you know,” said Allen, who is in her senior year with the Buffs.
Thursday’s event wrapped up a Holiday Classic that featured four days of slalom competition, including two days on Mount Werner, something that hasn’t happened since 1993.
“Our Steamboat program is a very solid contributor to these collegiate teams,” said Deb Armstrong, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Alpine director. “It is really fun for all those athletes to come home for the holidays and represent our club and their universities. It’s fun to see them more mature, stronger and ripping it up.”
Surefoot FIS Holiday Classic Results
Men’s top 20
Joonas Rasanen 1:20.69
Chris Acosta 1:20.81
Charlie Reynolds 1:20.92
Max Lamb 1:21.06
Nick Cohee 1:21.18
Cristian Simari Birkner 1:21.28
Andreas Adde 1:21.38
Max Marno 1:21.46
Juho-Pekka Penttinen 1:21.64
Hig Roberts 1:21.73
Fletcher McDonald 1:21.89
Torjus Krogdahl 1:21.90
Bart Mollin 1:21.90
Michael Bansmer 1:21.94
Taylor Shiffrin 1:22.12
Eric Davis 1:22.16
Mark Miller 1:22.38
Kitt Flowers 1:22.80
Sean Horner 1:23.20
Luc Henri Chevalier 1:23.22
Women’s top 20
Mary Rachel Hostetter 1:32.63
Kate Williams 1:33.53
Maria Simari Birkner 1:33.92
Erika Ghent 1:34.23
Abby Ghent 1:36.34
Joelle Chevalier 1:36.42
Jenny Allen 1:36.50
Cassady Roberts 1:37.27
Miranda Sheely 1:37.53
Elizabeth Koprucki 1:37.54
Paige Whistler 1:37.77
Annie Ochs 1:38.36
Angelica Simari Birkner 1:38.56
Elizabeth Strong 1:39.36
Reid Silverman 1:40.01
Vreni Lupear 1:42.09
Taylor Grauer 1:42.12
Laura Post 1:42.16
Destrey Enders 1:42.53
Ali Pougiales 1:44.01
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com