Steamboat Springs High School Alpine ski racers Suzanne Lyon and Ali Pougiales celebrate their successes in Friday's race at Howelsen Hill. Lyon won the girls race, and Pougiales was third.
2013 Sailors Alpine schedule
Steamboat Springs There’s a quirky “it matters, but it doesn’t, but it kind of does” aspect to high school ski racing, and that approach was on full display Friday at Howelsen Hill.
These races are supposed to be fun compared to the over-stressed world of FIS racing, where points matter and the skier who lives next door is as likely to beat you out for the last spot as is the skier who lives on the other side of the state.
Things were fun Friday, when the Steamboat Springs High School skiers marched away from their lone home meet of the season saying all the right things about their team and what it all means.
Fast matters, too, however, and the Sailors were also plenty successful in that aspect.
Suzanne Lyon laid down a pair of scorching runs on her home hill to lead a powerful group of Steamboat girls who together soared past the competition.
Lyon won, logging the day's fastest run and finishing with a combined time of 1 minute, 4.43 seconds. She won the event for the second consecutive year.
“It was really fun to repeat,” she said.
She had company atop the standings. Nederland’s Dayna Larsen was second, in at 1:04.51, and Steamboat’s Ali Pougiales finished third at 1:04.53.
McKenzie Milard, meanwhile, was eighth for Steamboat, in at 1:08.39, and Marnie Buckley was 12th at 1:09.95.
“Susanne skied really, really well and had two really good runs,” coach Jim Winn said.
Lyon didn’t have to contend with one of the day’s biggest factors, a twist that tied into the whole “this is for fun” thing. Friday’s course was essentially a hybrid of a slalom and giant slalom setup, and it included dual tracks, a style of racing more often associated with Alpine snowboarding or freestyle skiing.
Lyon raced alone on both of her runs, though even if she had been paired with someone, they’d have spent the entire race behind her. She had the best first-run time, then came back with the third-fastest second run.
She overcame a bobble on the top of the trail in the second run. That’s par for the course on Howelsen, and again Steamboat’s steep downtown pitch ruined plenty of plans. Even some of the Sailors’ best were left hiking back to catch gates they had missed.
“There was one turn on the red course and you really had to get across the hill,” Lyon said. “I got late up there on my second run.”
Steamboat’s Keegan Milard was in first place after the first run, but he lost a ski on the lower section of the run and was disqualified from his second run. Peter White, meanwhile, double ejected on his first run. He still went back up for his second, and that trip down, even though it didn’t count for anything, proved to be the day’s sixth fastest.
Evergreen skier Jake Bender won Friday’s boys race, finishing in 1:02.07. His teammate Christopher Morrison was second in 1:05.91, and Aspen’s Luke Prosence was third, also at 1:05.91. Dane Dixson finished eighth and was the top Steamboat boy in 1:10.05. Richard Walters was 13th, Matthew White was 16th and Andreas Foulk was 20th for Steamboat.
“I felt pretty good. That’s the best I’ve skied in a little while,” Dixson said. “This is the first duals race like that I’ve ever seen. It was a lot like a slalom, but with GS gates. The turns were a little wider. That benefited us because we’re used to the hill.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com