Steamboat skiers earn chance to race at home with top finishes at Prater Cup | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat skiers earn chance to race at home with top finishes at Prater Cup

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A large contingent of Alpine skiers from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club have earned the right to compete in the Rocky/Central U14 Championships, slated for March 13 to 18 in Steamboat Springs, after posting top finishes last weekend at the Prater Cup Memorial in Crested Butte.

"Steamboat had great representation at the race, qualifying 11 athletes," coach Michael Britton said. "We’re prepping the next few weeks to get the kids all dialed in, ready to go for championships."

The local skiers were led by Spencer “Speedy” Richeda, who finished second in the mens super-G, 13th in the mens first run of slalom and second in the mens second run of slalom. At the younger ages in ski racing, each slalom and giant run is treated like a separate race.

Other top results on the mens side included Colin Kagan, fifth in the super-G, and Jeremy Nolting, 13th, and Alex Orozco, 17th in the first super-G race. Orozco was also 19th in the first slalom race, and Nolting was also 22nd in the second mens slalom. Jonah Fleischer was 17th in the first run of giant slalom.

On the womens side, Caroline Gilchrist led the way, placing 10th in the super-G, 16th in the giant slalom, 16th in the first slalom and 18th in the second slalom.

Her teammate Annika Ort was 24th in the super-G, 20th in the giant slalom and 21st in the second run of the slalom. Rylee McLouth was 26th in the first run of the slalom.

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The Steamboat skiers also dominated the Skills Quest event where the athletes are evaluated on commonly used drills like  one-ski skiing and pivot slips.

“We swept the podium," Britton said. "We had six out of the top-10 athletes in the Skills Quest."

Nolting was first in the field, Richeda was second, Fleischer was third, Roman Elvidge was fifth, Kagan was seventh, and Luke Olson was eighth.

For the women, Ort was eighth and Gilchrist was 10th.

Athletes who qualified for the Rocky/Central U14 championships in Steamboat include Gilchrist,  Ort, McLouth, Richeda, Kagan, Nolting, Orozco, Fleischer, Erik Sandvik, Charlie Welch and Brooks Overstake. The competition takes place at Howelsen Hill and Steamboat Ski Area.

"We are super excited to be able to hosting it on our home hill, " Britton said. "It's a huge advantage to be skiing in your backyard for championships. The kids are all pretty pumped on it."

The week-long competition will kick off with event registration and unofficial super-G training March 13 on Steamboat Ski Area’s All Out trail. Official super-G training takes place the next day and first official race of the week happens March 15. 

That same day there will be an athletes fun night at Howelsen Hill that will include activities on the Nordic jumps, a speed trap on the landing hill of the big jump and a chance to try out the freestyles jumps and land in the Winter Sports Club’s giant airbag. There will also be pizza, music, games, contests and a photo booth.

On March 16, the racers will return to the slopes of Mount Werner for the giant slalom race, and on March 17, action returns to Howelsen for a dual slalom race. Events will come to a close March 18 with the slalom race at Howelsen.

Three Winter Sports Club racers — Roman Elvidge, Adi Lage and Dawson Holmes — will also be competing at the Council Cup, which will be held at Ski Cooper this weekend.

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