Local junior skiers race at Vail | SteamboatToday.com

Local junior skiers race at Vail

Marnie Smith

Steamboat Springs — On the opening weekend for the Smartwool Alpine Race Series, Dec. 22 and 23, 25 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes traveled to the Rocky Mountain Division competition in Vail. The series is designed for skiers ages 13 and older and provides a unique opportunity for young racers to compete against experienced competitors. — On the opening weekend for the Smartwool Alpine Race Series, Dec. 22 and 23, 25 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes traveled to the Rocky Mountain Division competition in Vail. The series is designed for skiers ages 13 and older and provides a unique opportunity for young racers to compete against experienced competitors.

— On the opening weekend for the Smartwool Alpine Race Series, Dec. 22 and 23, 25 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes traveled to the Rocky Mountain Division competition in Vail. The series is designed for skiers ages 13 and older and provides a unique opportunity for young racers to compete against experienced competitors.

In the Dec. 22 giant slalom event, Scott Ptach (J2) was the top SSWSC male athlete, finishing in 11th place. Closely behind him was Brant Crossan in 13th place, David Hoff in 20th and Ben Paley in 26th. Tommy Lyon was Steamboat’s top J3 competitor in the grand slalom, finishing in 25th place overall. Murphy Roberts, 13, had an outstanding race, moving from a start position of 103rd to 38th place. Jeff Gay also had a solid day, finishing in 34th position, along with Dane Dixson and Alex Rudolph, who both improved from their start positions.

The women had a solid grand slalom day, with top finisher Sarah White in 11th position, followed by Natalie Pearl (21st), Hannah Young (23rd), Jamie Gay (25th), Cassady Daley (26th), Emily Rabbitt (30th), Julia Cooper (32nd) and Lilly Wasser, who moved from 94th to 57th. Gracie Whelihan had a rough start on the first run, but bounced back to ski a top-25 second run.

The slalom on Sunday proved to be even more successful. Ptach again put in a great first run but had some bad luck in the second and was unable to finish. Sam Glaisher had a strong result finishing in 15th, followed by Paley in 28th, Lyon in 32nd and Jeff Gay in 34th. Dane Dixson, a 13-year-old new to the Smartwool circuit, finished his weekend by moving from 144th position to 67th. Rudolph put in a tremendous effort and unfortunately ran into some problems on his second run, but had the willpower to hike a gate and complete the race.

The women skied extremely well Sunday. Ciar Colgan, who spent last winter in Switzerland, returned to the Colorado racing scene and made a statement with a fifth-place finish. White again showed she was a strong competitor finishing in seventh. Kersten Sherer was on the podium for the J2 women with a 12th-place overall finish and Pearl, Whelihan and Daley finished in 16th, 17th, and 18th position, respectively. Lexie Baden, Young, Ali Pougiales, Rabbitt, and Jamie Gay rounded out the top 30 with respective finishes of 21st, 23rd, 24th, 26th and 30th. Cooper, Wasser and Katie Hostetler, all first-year competitors in the series, exhibited great skill and effort and had top-60 finishes.

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Overall, the Winter Sports Club’s athletes proved to the other RMD teams that they are strong competitors and should expect to produce more great results in the future.

Smith is the head alpine J3 coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.