Steamboat Springs Storm Klomhaus is humble, so much so that when asked about completing an eye-popping sweep of the Rocky/Central U16 Regional Championships this week in Steamboat Springs with a win Saturday in slalom, she professed to be hopeful only for a top-three finish.
“There are a lot of good girls here,” she said, even after admitting that slalom is her best event.
View results from Thursday's women's giant slalom here.
No doubt she’s correct that there is a talented field racing in Steamboat this week, but on Thursday, Klomhaus went even further in demonstrating that no matter how good her competition is, she’s on a different level.
She dominated the women’s giant slalom race on Sitz and See Me at Steamboat Ski Area, earning her third win of the week. The stats from Thursday’s race and the two previous show why Klomhaus is one of the top young racers in the country.
Consider this: She won Tuesday’s downhill race by 1.31 seconds, the largest gap in time between two racers for the next 71 finishers.
She won Wednesday’s super-G by 2.19 seconds, once again an absolute aberration in a race decided by fractions of a second.
On Thursday, she won by 4.42 seconds, again an eternity, a time so far out there that 16 racers crammed into a 4.42-second span behind the second-place finisher.
“It was awesome,” she said about the race. “The snow was really hard. It was a bit chillier this morning, but it was awesome.”
Klomhaus is sure to earn a trip back to the U16 Alpine Junior National Championships — one of the big prizes spurring athletes this week — but that honor, like her lightning-quick times, comes as little surprise.
That’s a pressure-packed event filled with curious U.S. Ski Team coaches and the chance to earn a spot at the U.S. Ski Team Academy, a private high school in Park City, Utah, for the elite up-and-coming American skiers. Klomhaus, a Winter Park skier in her second year with the Academy, knows all about that pressure: She’s the defending champion.
Of course, none of that made her race Thursday easy, and midway through her second run, a third win in the week didn’t seem like a given.
“Coming off the pitch, I had a bit of a scare,” she said. “I went really wide on a gate, but the course was good enough on the bottom I could pull it back before I hit the flats.
“Other than that, it was a really good day.”
Sunny, warm and fast, it wasn’t a bad day for anyone screaming down See Me to the finish line.
Klomhaus won in 1:35.51. Lucia Bailey was second at 1:39.93, and Galena Wardle was third at 1:40.00.
Steamboat got a racer into the top 10 with Lauren Chavez, eighth in 1:41.79. Logan Sankey raced strong, as well, finishing 17th in 1:44.00.
The men race on the same trails Friday at Steamboat Ski Area before the event wraps up Saturday with men’s and women’s slalom races at Howelsen Hill.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1