Jenna Feldman, right, holds a narrow lead on Chloe Banning during Sunday’s USASA snowboard cross event in Steamboat Springs. Banning went on to pass Feldman on the course at Steamboat Ski Area, but the pair, both Steamboat riders, finished first and second in the women’s open class.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Jenna Feldman, right, holds a narrow lead on Chloe Banning during Sunday’s USASA snowboard cross event in Steamboat Springs. Banning went on to pass Feldman on the course at Steamboat Ski Area, but the pair, both Steamboat riders, finished first and second in the women’s open class.

Ski, snowboard cross event in Steamboat readies participants

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Steamboat ski cross racer Penn Lukens leads a pack down the Bashor Bowl course at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday.

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Steamboat's Matt Larson leads Cristhian Ravelo on Sunday during a ski cross race at Steamboat Ski Area.

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Cameron Misegadis flies down the snowboard cross course at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday.

— Chloe Banning let out a quick laugh before answering.

What’s the difference between the United States of America Snowboarding Association ski and snowboard cross races that set down in Steamboat Springs on Saturday and Sunday, and the NorAm Hole Shot Tour ski and snowboard cross event that will kick off competition on the same course on Thursday?

“It’s going to be way different. There will be a lot more racers and a lot more higher-level racers,” she said. “There will be a lot more carnage.”

Banning was one of a number of local skiers and snowboarders who stood out Sunday. She won the women’s boarder open class, edging out teammate Jenna Feldman in the finals.

It wasn’t anything like she’s expecting to find Wednesday when the Hole Shot Tour touches down, however.

“It was really fun out there,” Banning said about Sunday’s event. “It was nice not having to worry about the competition like you do at NorAms, and it was good preparation for the next week.”

The Hole Shot Tour is filled with skiers and boarders aspiring to the World Cup circuit and is much more competitive than Saturday and Sunday’s races.

Some of the weekend’s divisions featured top competition and a few local competitors signed up for both events. For most of those athletes, the weekend was just a warm-up, however.

The Hole Shot Tour will feature an amped-up version of the course that cut through Bashor Bowl at Steamboat Ski Area during the weekend. Still, the weekend’s competition was a valuable asset to those Steamboaters looking ahead to Wednesday.

“You learn and experience so much and put so much into the vault of knowledge with every race, every run,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Brett Buckles said. “They’re getting that much more training. It really helps to be out on that course.”

Jarryd Hughes, an Australian training with the Winter Sports Club, won his youth men’s class Sunday and said he picked up valuable knowledge for the Hole Shot races.

“I’m hoping for a top-10 finish,” he said. “I was in the top 10 in my first NorAm this year and that was exciting. To get that again would be great.”

Steamboat also got podium finishes from Skyler Kauf, second, and Brant Crossan, third, in the open skier men’s division; Shea McCarthy, second, and Garrett Denney, third, in the youth men’s class; Peter White, first, Logan Banning, second, and Matthew White, third, in skier men 13 to 15; Billy Winters, second, and Spencer Vaughan, third, in the breaker boys class; Winston Vaughan, first in the gormett boys class; Cody Winters, second in the menehune boys class; Savanna Atkins, tops among the breaker girls class; Maggie McElhiney, second in the skier women’s 13 to 15 class; and Chris Rogers, first in the masters men’s class.

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