Nicholas Richeda skis Saturday in a Steamboat Cup event at Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Nicholas Richeda skis Saturday in a Steamboat Cup event at Steamboat Ski Area.

Optimism reigns at Steamboat Cup slalom race

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— The day was about ski racing, but a lighthearted atmosphere defined the season’s second Steamboat Cup event at Steamboat Ski Area on Saturday far more than slalom gates or run times. The participants ranged in age from 7 and older and in that span was packed seemingly countless ability levels. But they all shared a wide-eyed optimism.

“I am probably going to want to be in the Olympics,” 7-year-old Pacey Kuhlman said after the post-race awards ceremony.

And why not? She took the first step, winning her division in the first race of her career. Speed suits and slalom skis are still down the road, of course.

“I want to get perfect,” she said. “I like racing because you get to learn stuff and you get to be a better skier. You also get to go fast.”

The event drew more than 150 young racers for a day on the slalom course. Not even all racers went particularly fast. Some, especially in the upper range of the age bracket, did consider and assault the course with the dedication of their more grown-up racing brethren.

That was the case for skiers like Jake Olson, 11. He said he’s raced the Steamboat Cup for three years now and usually competes in about 10 races per year, most coming in various age-class events across the region.

Saturday offered another chance to shave some time off his run, something he’s being doing since he started racing three years ago.

“Every race is important. I always go all out on all my runs,” he said. “I wasn’t very fast when I started, but I’ve improved a lot. I’m way better than when I first started.”

Other athletes were happy to make it to the bottom of the run. The Olympics may not be in their future, but that didn’t at all diminish their experience.

“There’s every body type and some kids are more mature than the others. Some kids know what they want to do, and some don’t have a clue,” Winter Sports Club Alpine Director Deb Armstrong said. “Some of them are just experimenting. You have every mentality, every ability level, and we don’t have a clue where these kids are going. That's why the important thing is instilling the passion and love for this sport and laying the foundation for their future, whatever that is.”

There were more than 150 kinds of racers Saturday, but the end result for most was the same.

“It was a lot of fun,” Jake said.

Other age-class champions included Fisher St. John, Jenna Smith, Spencer Richeda, Riley Smith, Cooper Puckett and Amy Speer.

Sunday's results

Slalom-Bashor at Steamboat Ski Area

U9 Girls

Name, Age, Result

1 Pacey Kuhlman, 7, 42.17

2 Ava Rose, 8, 43.41

3 Audra Gowdy, 7, 44.01

4 Zoe Leach, 7, 45.36

5 Norah Pietras, 8, 45.83

6 Caroline Gilchrist, 8, 46.08

7 Leah Allen, 9, 46.23

8 Katie McLaughlin, 8, 47.82

9 Aidan Rose Kerrigan, 8, 48.07

10 Aspen Bennett-Manke, 7, 48.57

11 Ellie Brown, 8, 48.79

12 Isabelle Mathey, 7, 49.98

13 Rylee McLouth, 7, 50.01

14 Emma Poper, 8, 51.35

15 Caroline Henninger, 8, 52.42

16 Isabella Brinkman, 8, 52.7

17 Taylor Connelly, 7, 52.82

18 Jonah Anstine, 8, 52.87

19 Avery Duty, 7, 53.14

20 Abby Voorhis, 8, 54

21 Kileigh Robinson, 7, 58.81

22 Elizabeth Hager, 7, 59.41

U9 Boys

Name, Age, Result

1 Fisher St. John, 7, 44.06

2 Cade Gedeon, 7, 45.06

3 Baden Park, 7, 46.04

4 Tomas Niedermeier, 7, 46.43

5 Charlie Welch, 8, 46.44

6 Jonah Fleischer, 7, 46.53

7 Wiley Wagner, 7, 46.61

8 Ryan Kitchen, 9, 46.67

9 Erik Sandvik, 7, 47.2

10 Cael McCarthy, 7, 47.34

11 Noah Robinson, 8, 47.86

12 Jack Fox, 7, 48.62

13 Indiana Kretzschmar, 8, 49.75

14 Scott Anderson, 10, 49.98

15 Luke Wichelhaus, 9, 50.03

16 Gavin Geer, 8, 50.8

17 Levi Allen, 7, 51.81

18 Reid Sias, 8, 52.07

19 Pete Wichelhaus, 7, 52.52

20 Will Scheer, 8, 53.54

21 Brodie Pearson, 8, 56.65

22 Nick Harris-Hammer, 7, 58.27

23 Michael Robinson, 8, 58.37

24 Stefan Grabowski, 9, 58.72

U10 Girls

Name, Age, Result

1 Jenna Smith, 9, 39.79

2 Emilia Cooper, 9, 40.25

3 Zoe Bennett-Manke, 9, 40.37

4 Sydney O’Hare, 9, 41.01

5 Annie Hager, 9, 42.17

6 Sophia Gowdy, 9, 42.75

7 Annika Ort, 8, 42.95

8 Tess Arnone, 9, 43.12

9 Ellie Blair, 9, 43.26

10 Marissa Drobek, 9, 44.84

11 Rowan Sisk, 9, 47.71

12 Emily Watson, 8, 48.21

13 Harper Danielson , 8, 48.64

14 Emi Ramirez, 9, 48.82

15 Isabella Shoebridge, 8, 51.1

U10 Boys

Name, Age, Result

1 Spencer Richeda, 7, 35.37

2 Alden Wade, 9, 36.3

3 Jake Filler, 8, 38.81

4 Jordan Simon, 9, 39.54

5 Colin Kagan, 8, 39.55

6 Max Rotermund, 8, 39.68

7 Luke St. John, 9, 42.07

8 Luke Olson, 8, 42.72

9 Asher Lesyshen Kirlan, 8, 42.8

10 Joseph Berlet, 9, 45.1

11 Brooks Overstake, 8, 45.36

12 Brodie Skinner, 8, 47.04

13 Andrew Henderson, 9, 47.07

14 Ben Schott, 8, 52.43

15 Misha Jensen, 9, 54.51

16 Caiden Dardanis, 8, 58.68

U12 Girls

Name, Age, Result

1 Riley Smith, 11, 28.78

2 Ryli Adrian, 9, 34.31

3 Molly Mueller, 10, 34.67

4 Abigail Berlet, 11, 34.95

5 Sequoia Anstine, 11, 35.09

6 Isabelle Boniface, 11, 35.66

7 Alex Blair, 11, 36.43

8 Allison Schlicht, 11, 38.73

9 Raffaella Pietras, 10, 38.94

10 Emily Craig, 10, 39.06

11 Bianca Perez, 10, 41.39

12 Sophie Shoebridge, 11, 42.19

13 Eliza Fox, 10, 42.37

14 Riley Schott, 10, 43.31

15 Julia McCarthy, 10, 44.67

16 Kendall Flake, 12, 45.87

17 Lily VanNess, 10, 47.25

18 Thea Dardanis, 10, 55.28

U12 Boys

Name, Age, Result

1 Cooper Puckett, 9, 27.98

2 Kyler Armstrong, 11, 29.33

3 Kyle Kagan, 11, 29.89

4 Bode Flanigan, 10, 31.16

5 Nicholas Richeda, 10, 31.2

6 Ben Fenley, 11, 31.89

7 Finn Sadler, 10, 32.17

8 Beck Kuhlmann, 10, 35.37

9 Jake Olson, 11, 35.94

10 Marat Washburn, 10, 36.91

11 Cole Gedeon, 10, 36.99

12 Oliver Rotermund, 10, 37.68

13 Noel Airoldi, 10, 40.28

14 Colton Sankey, 11, 40.44

15 Dawson Gill, 10, 41.96

16 Barret Taylor, 10, 46.69

17 Benton Sherman, 9, 47.03

18 Finn Sias, 10, 47.93

Mountain Carvers/U14

Name, Age, Result

1 Amy Speer, 12, 34.09

2 Emily Shoebridge, 1, 34.92

3 Gabe Everard, 12, 35.12

4 Caitlin Smith, 12, 36.6

5 Ruthie Gorrell, 13, 46.99

6 Cole Sias, 12, 52.07

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