Shimko soars on home snow
Steamboat skier twice a champ in moguls comp
January 8, 2017
Steamboat Springs — It was so cold during the first day of Rocky Mountain Division moguls competition this weekend — as low as minus 10 degrees — that frostbite was a real concern for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skiers.
Things warmed up considerably Sunday, but no matter what the weather threw at them or how numb their fingers and toes may have been, Steamboat's skiers came away with some positively hot results after a weekend of action on VooDoo Run at Steamboat Ski Area, especially the women, who took the top four spots in Saturday's competition and the top two in Sunday's.
None could have been better than Avital Shimko, the New York City-native skier who's been climbing the ladder with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for six seasons.
Shimko emerged undefeated from the weekend's two events, winning Saturday's frigid individual moguls event, then coming back a day later to win again in the dual moguls.
"I was really happy to get back-to-back gold at home," Shimko said. "It was really exciting to have supporters out here, friends and family."
The RMD moguls events don't necessarily rank highly in importance for a skier such as Shimko. She has her eyes on the NorAm Cup circuit, which kicks off with four weekends of bump skiing in February.
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That circuit is the avenue to the U.S. Ski Team, and Shimko is one of a handful of Steamboat women hoping to travel that path this year.
Winning Saturday and Sunday wasn't exactly a step toward that U.S. team goal. There were no points accrued or advantages earned. Still, it was proof Shimko's on the right path, evidence that, when the competitions do ramp up in meaning in February, she's capable of being at the top.
"It's reassuring, a big confidence booster," Shimko said.
The key for her, she said, came off the top air, where she went big with a 360.
"That nice to see," she said. "I did 360s last year, but they weren't going as well. I want to keep training that to bring it to NorAms this season."
It was a winning kind of weekend for Steamboat's women. Lane Stoltzner was second, Maggie Ryan third and Trudy Mickel fourth Saturday, while Kenzie Radway was 10th and Riley Hodges 12th.
Shimko defeated Mickel in the finals of Sunday's duals event, ensuring local skiers would account for the top two spots.
"Trudy's been stepping it up week after week," said Kate Blamey, Winter Sports Club moguls coach. "She's a young pup, and it's obvious she's taking away something from every competition."
Ryan also lost in a head-to-head dual with Shimko, but won her final dual of the day, out-skiing Olympian Heidi Kloser to place fifth. Radway was seventh.
"They all took away some hardware over the weekend," Blamey said. "The girls are going great. They're doing really well."
Australian skier Cooper Woods-Topalovic won Saturday on the men's side, ahead of Aspen's Colby Lee and Winter Park skier Jordan Strande. Steamboat had strong finishes on the boys side Saturday from Ben Hoefer, eighth, Tyler Strnad, ninth, and Landon Wendler, 10th.
Winter Park's Tanner Lyle won Sunday's duals competition. Strnad finished eighth but came up injured after a fall during his last dual.