Holiday Classic brings top-level slalom racing back to Steamboat Springs

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Surefoot Holiday Classic Schedule

Thursday

Men at Mount Werner

9 a.m. first run

11 a.m. second run

Women at Howelsen

5 p.m. first run

7 p.m. second run

Friday

Men at Howelsen

3 p.m. first run

5:15 p.m. second run

Women at Mount Werner

9 a.m. first run

11 a.m. second run

Saturday

Women at Howeslen

8:15 a.m. first run

10 a.m. second run

Men at Howelsen

11:30 a.m. first run

1:30 p.m. second run

— There really is nothing like it. Not in Vail or Salt Lake City. For that matter, not really anywhere in the United States.

But when the lights go on Thursday and Friday at Howelsen Hill and some of the top slalom skiers in the nation reunite in Steamboat Springs, the feel will be purely European.

Thursday and Fridays nights' slalom at Howelsen is the trademark event of the Surefoot Holiday Classic, a race series that brings in many of the top regional, collegiate and NorAm skiers.

“It’s one of the only venues where you can have a night race,” said Deb Armstrong, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Alpine director. “It’s a little more like a European race. At Howelsen you can see the majority of the race looking up the hill. You really are close to it. It’s very exciting.”

The event will feature three slalom races for both men's and women's categories, beginning Thursday. The men will race at Mount Werner with a 9 a.m. Thursday start, while the women will race under the lights of Howelsen starting at 5 p.m. The women will take to Mount Werner at 9 a.m. Friday, with the men racing under the lights at Howelsen beginning at 3 p.m.

The women will begin again at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, and the men will race at 11:30 a.m. at Howelsen.

A full event schedule wasn’t put in place until Tuesday evening. Armstrong said as much as the lack of snow through early December put a cramp on event scheduling, the influx of snow of the past week also have posed challenges.

“No snow early made things interesting,” she said. “Now we’re getting a lot of snow, which also makes things interesting.”

The event traditionally serves as a homecoming for a gaggle of local racers returning home.

Among those expected to return include Sam Glaisher, Ryan McConnell, Mary Rachel Hostetter, Shane McClean, Cassady Roberts, Hig Roberts, Murphy Roberts, Max Marno and Anna Marno.

The event will feature top-level collegiate racers from across the country, as well as high-end NorAm racers that are on the U.S. Ski Team's development team.

“For slalom racing this is the cream of the crop for regional races,” said Scott Tanner, the Winter Sports Club’s head Alpine coach. “This is the top level.”

The Winter Sports Club is looking for volunteers to help with the Holiday Classic. Those interested should email anne@barounos.com.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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