Steamboat Winter Sports Club opens strong |

Steamboat Winter Sports Club opens strong

Skiers travel to Yellowstone training camp

Steamboat Springs J1 Nordic skier Charlie Von Thaden, left, charges during a race last week in Wyoming. A team of 16 Steamboat skiers traveled to West Yellowstone to train and compete.

— A two-day blizzard followed the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic program into West Yellowstone, Mont., last week as the team prepared for an eight-day training camp interspersed with season-opening competitions.

Once the weather relented, however, it was the Winter Sports Club's skiers who blew across the course, capturing a number of top finishes and setting the table for what coaches say will be a strong season.

"It was a great experience," club Nordic coach Brian Tate said. "There were great trails, there was great grooming, and we are pretty excited with the way the kids preformed."

Among the J1 women, Emily Hannah placed first twice and second once on the weekend, and Michaela Frias was on top once. Haley Piske had first-, second- and fourth-place finishes, while Lucy Newman bagged one second and a fourth, and Mary O'Connell had two thirds.

Mallory Richey had two 14th-place finishes and a 16th.

"Emily really put together three strong races," Tate said about Hannah.

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Charlie Von Thaden was fifth three times among the J1 men while Max Scrimgeour was third, sixth and ninth.

Madison Keeffe led the J2 girls with a first and two seconds. Gretchen Burkholder was second and third twice; Dori McNeill fourth and sixth; Cara Piske third, fourth and fifth; and Olivia Rose eighth and 12th.

Evan Weinman was first, second and third for the J2 boys. Tanner Heil was third, sixth and seventh while Lars Hannah turned in sixth- and ninth-place finishes.

"Even with our heavy training load, the kids were able to ski fast," Tate said. "That's a good sign. We were able to work on our fitness, our technique an also fit in the first race starts of the season, which helps get the jitters out and get the team into the race routine."

Tate said Steamboat's strong early snow season has helped the team get a leg up on its competition. The Winter Sports Club skiers have been skiing locally since before Halloween.

Now the group will prepare for a Breckenridge event next weekend.