Steamboat Springs Howelsen Hill closed for the season March 18, and the snow that covers it only will continue to melt as warm spring weather becomes more common in Steamboat Springs.
But for three hours Sunday, the ski hill still was very much alive when more than 100 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes took some final turns down the hill during the Christy Sports Steamboat Cup Terrain Race.
“This is always such a fun event to celebrate the end of the season here,” said Blair Seymour, the Winter Sports Club’s Alpine Youth Program Director. “With the perfect spring weather and soft snow, it’s a good culmination of the season.”
Racers ages 7 to 11 took to the course that included several GS turns, bumps, a 3-foot jump and a slalom line. Madeline Boucher, who was wearing a tutu, reflected on the spirit of the day’s race after she crossed the finish line.
“It’s not for winning; it’s just for having fun,” Madeline said.
Madeline wasn’t the only one who chose to dress up for the race. Several racers were adorned with such things as pom poms, capes, a tuxedo and a Boston Bruins hockey jersey. Every racer was cheered on by the group of parents who camped out at the bottom of the hill on bleachers and lawn chairs. And when the race was done, and the racers’ final times announced, the youths hurried to the lines that had formed in front of the grills where hamburgers and hot dogs awaited.
Chatting with friends near the finish line, Isabelle Boniface, 11, said she will fondly remember her 2011-12 ski season and the two days a week she spent skiing on Howelsen.
“I got to ski with a lot of my friends,” she said. “It’s been a fun and exciting season.”
Jack Ignatius, a J6 coach for the Winter Sports Club, said the course was designed to give the young racers the chance to show off what they learned this season.
“Today, we can really see what kind of progress they’ve made since November,” he said. “I like to see how far they have come.”
But he said training doesn’t stop after the slopes close, and the young athletes soon will begin training by running and biking trails, throwing Frisbees and playing soccer.
“We’ll be doing anything to keep the same muscles firing,” Ignatius said.
Terrain Race results
1 Annika Belshaw
2 Emi Cooper
3 Eliza Fox
1 Colin Kagan
2 Alden Wade
3 Oliver Rotermund
1 Alison Speer
2 Amy Speer
3 Cole Sias
1 Riley Smith
2 Caroline Lupori
3 Abi Berlet
1 Kyle Kagan
2 Kyler Armstrong
3 Jack Rotermund
1 Margaret Dickson
2 Taylor Olson
3 Amber Elliot
1 Chase Seymour
2 Trey Seymour
3 Matai Curzon
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com