Holiday Classic Alpine skiing back at Howelsen this weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Holiday Classic Alpine skiing back at Howelsen this weekend

Ben Ingersoll

University of Colorado sophomore Alpine skier Katie Hostetler was one of many college-level skiers who took to Howelsen Hill for last year's Holiday Classic. More top-flight talent is expected this weekend when the Classic kicks off Saturday morning.

— Some of the premier collegiate skiers will be sharing Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs with local and international Alpine talent this weekend at the annual Holiday Classic.

This year’s three-day competition will start Saturday, continue with Sunday’s event-favorite night races under the lights and conclude by early afternoon Monday.

Reminiscent of last winter’s Holiday Classic, the athletes may be battling a little extra snow on the hill as much as their competition but not quite the sudden blizzard Howelsen saw last year. Last season’s Classic started Friday and ended Sunday, a concluding day that delivered more than 10 inches of fresh snow.

This weekend, snow is expected to kick back up Saturday and into Sunday for the visiting and hosting competitors.

Saturday will serve as a Junior National Race for U21 skiers and younger. The women will kick off the Classic at 9 a.m. with their first run, and the men will follow at 12:15 p.m. with their opening slalom.

Sunday is when the true Holiday Classic competition ramps up. The final two days serve as International Ski Federation opens featuring racers from the U16 to senior level.

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"It’s a lot of college and U.S. Ski Team kids," said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine Director Caroline Lalive Carmichael, who will be coaching her first home competition since taking over as director. "It’s really the best local, national and international kids, as well. It’s a big event."

Sunday’s runs will be under the lights, beginning with women’s first runs at 2 p.m., men’s at 3:15 p.m. and the final runs for the women and men coming at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., respectively.

"It’s a great spectator event," Lalive Carmichael said. "Especially Sunday under the lights. There is quite a bit going on."

Also on Sunday night, in between men’s and women’s runs, there will be a special memorial for Ashley Stamp, a Winter Sports Club skier who died in 2004 at age 13 while practicing for a race at Vail’s Golden Peak Race Course. Some of Stamp’s family will be in attendance.

Monday’s races also will be FIS opens, starting at 9 a.m. with the women and 9:45 a.m. with the men.

Last season’s Holiday Classic drew a host of Winter Sports Club alumni, including the University of Colorado ski team’s Katie Hostetler, who is now a sophomore for the Buffaloes. There were representatives from last winter’s NCAA champion Denver University, as well as third-place University of New Mexico.

Friday night, there will be a coaches meeting during which a full start list will be finalized and more names of skiers will emerge.

Admission is free to the public all three days.

"The Holiday Classic is a longstanding tradition here in the club," Lalive Carmichael said. "A lot of people we’ve heard say it’s their favorite race all season. I think it’s just a great opportunity for people who maybe aren’t familiar with Alpine ski racing. It’s such a big part of our heritage here, and it’s so fun to showcase that."

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

Holiday Classic Alpine ski races at Howelsen Hill

Saturday, National Junior Race

9 a.m. Women’s first run

10:30 a.m. Women’s second run

12:15 p.m. Men’s first run

2:15 p.m. Men’s second run

Sunday, FIS open race

2 p.m. Women’s first run

3:15 p.m. Men’s first run

5:45 p.m. Women’s second run

6:45 p.m. Men’s second run

Monday, FIS open race

9 a.m. Women’s first run

9:45 a.m. Men’s first run

Noon Women’s second run

1:15 p.m. Men’s second run