Steamboat Springs’ two-teamin’ Jett Seymour picks up speed after season’s slow start | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs’ two-teamin’ Jett Seymour picks up speed after season’s slow start

University of Denver and U.S. Ski Team racer Jett Seymour cuts down Howelsen Hill last winter during the Holiday Classic in Steamboat Springs.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Put it down on paper and it doesn't seem like much of a surprise.

Steamboat Springs skier Jett Seymour was granted an extremely rare opportunity last spring when he was both named to the U.S. Ski Team and given a scholarship to compete on the University of Denver ski team.

As it turns out, competing for two different teams can make for a busy, complicated life.

"The whole situation is actually overwhelming," Seymour said Friday after wrapping up three days of competition at the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic slalom races at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat.

"It is exciting, though," he said. "There are a lot of moving parts, with different teams, travel and school's obviously a big one."

He didn't have the results he was hoping for in his return to his home hill. He won the week's first race, Wednesday, a National Junior Race, but placed fourth both days against the tougher competition of the Holiday Classic.

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Nolan Kasper, a 2010 Olympian, capped off a winning weekend in Steamboat on Friday, winning the men's race for the second consecutive day.

Kyle Negomir was second Firday and Vegard Busengdal third.

Seymour was next.

"Coming into as the best-ranked skier, I should be winning, but everyone else skied better than I did," he said. "I'm off to a bit of a slow start, but I'm starting to ski a lot better."

In his first eight races this season on the Nor-Am Cup circuit, he's logged just one top-10 finish. He attributes some of that slow start to his unique dual-team status.

He was able to work with the U.S. Ski Team through much of the summer, but in the fall, he was in the classroom while the rest of the U.S. squad was working in training camps in Chile and New Zealand.

When those early-season Nor-Am races came through the last month, he hadn't logged nearly as many on-snow hours as many of his competitors.

The situation has made connecting with coaches complicated, too.

"The athletes they're spending more time with, they get know better," Seymour said. "They don't know me quite as well yet. When I'm not there, it's out of sight, out of mind almost."

Things should get simpler soon. The college season starts in January, and for Seymour and the rest of the Pioneers, it will be a race to get back to Steamboat, site of this year's NCAA Ski National Championships.

Then, the focus can just be skiing … and school, of course. He survived a tough calculus last in his first quarter, but econ looms.

Does it all add up to too much, to a decision he regrets?

"No," he said. "It's a great setup."

McJames, Christensen duel in women’s race

Megan McJames finished off a strong two days of racing on the women's side with a second-place finish Friday. Combined with her win in Thursday's race, it gave her just enough of a lead over University of Colorado racer Nora Christensen to win the overall trophy for the event.

"This race is really fun, No. 1 and its good to come get some slalom points and win some money," said McJames, a Park City, Utah skier aiming this winter to make her third Olympics.

Friday, Christensen finished with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 19.69 seconds. McJames was in at 1:19.93 and CU's Tonje Trulsrun third in 1:20.69.

Steamboat's top result came from Elsie Halvorsen, 15th place. Sequoia Anstine was 25th.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.