Hig Roberts pockets slalom title, turns in another strong showing at U.S. Alpine Championships | SteamboatToday.com

Hig Roberts pockets slalom title, turns in another strong showing at U.S. Alpine Championships

Steamboat Springs skier Hig Roberts flies down the course at the U.S. Alpine National Championships last year in Sugarloaf, Maine. Roberts won the slalom on Saturday,

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Huge is how Steamboat Springs ski racer Hig Roberts described his performance in the slalom Saturday at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships that were held at Sun Valley's Bald Mountain.

"It was huge for me and for my family," Roberts said when contacted Monday evening about the finish. "When you have an amazing day like I had, you think about the people who have helped you get there, and it’s the support of my family and my brother that  have allowed me to compete at this level and to be able to win ski races like this one."

Roberts grew up ski racing with his twin sister and his two brothers. He said the family has always shared the joy of success on the race course, and that has not changed despite losing his brother, Murphy — who died in a hiking accident in Utah caused by a diabetic seizure just months before the start of the 2016-17 season. Now, more than a year after the event, Roberts said he still feels his brother’s presence every time he steps into the starting gate.

It was Roberts second title in as many years and is a highlight in a season where he enjoyed solid result but fell short of his goal of reaching the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In March of 2017, he captured the national title in men's giant slalom on a foggy day at the 2017 U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf just months after his brother’s death. On Saturday, he led the first run of slalom and then, was able to hold on to win his second title in two years.

"I was focused on the giant slalom, so it was a little surprising to win the slalom title," Roberts said. "I learned a long time ago that it takes two runs to win in this sport. I knew that I had a good first run and that I've been skiing well all year. So, I just went out and did the same thing in my second run."

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The finish was exactly what Roberts was hoping for as he attempts to build momentum for the 2018-19 season. Roberts, who is just 27, had four years of successful collegiate ski racing for Middlebury before embarking on his latest quest to reach the highest levels of ski racing.

However, he is currently training independently of the U.S. team and must fund his own efforts. He said he has great support from the community of Steamboat Springs and said anyone wishing to support Roberts can write a check care of Hig Roberts to the Team America Foundation, 1397 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657.

Roberts said he feels like he is still on track and, after earning his second national title in two years, is already looking forward to next season.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.