Steamboat Springs Alpine team to open season at Howelsen
According to the Las Vegas bookies, home field advantage always is worth a few points in the NFL.
It’s worth more than a token field goal to the Steamboat Springs High School Alpine team, Sailors coach Kate Warner said. The team will break out its racing skis for the first time this season at 9 a.m. today, and the squad could not be happier to be taking its first competitive runs down the familiar Howelsen Hill.
“It’s a pretty steep hill, especially for a first race,” Warner said. “On a steep hill like that, there’s less room for error. It will really help us, just being used to it.”
The Sailors will open their season by welcoming five others schools and 131 racers. The Sailors are hoping first-day jitters, bolstered by the intimidating run and the high level of precision required by the day’s slalom competition, add up to give them the edge against teams from Vail, Battle Mountain, Aspen and Eagle Valley.
“It will be a little bit of a shocker for kids coming from other schools,” program director Chad Bowdre said. “It will be steeper and a much harder pack than they’re used to.”
The key for the Sailors will be taking advantage of the built-in edge.
They may have just the squad to do so.
Steamboat will field 35 athletes today and returns powerful skiers to the boys and girls teams.
Sam Glaisher, Connor Bernard and Jeffery Gay all return from last year’s squad. The team also will be supplemented by experienced Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skiers Josh Fix and Nelson Kane, who are skiing for the high school for the first time this season.
“They’re just fast,” Bowdre said. “Skiing on Howelsen for them is like skiing in their own backyard. They will definitely have an advantage over other teams.”
The girls welcome back plenty of experience, as well. A trio of seniors headlines the team. Hanna Berglund, Jamie Gay and Sarah Dixson all raced well at state last year.
“We have a strong group coming back, and those three are great leaders for our team,” Bowdre said. “Their enthusiasm is extremely contagious for the rest of the team.”
It all could add up to another strong season from the Alpine program.
“There’s the chance to be really good,” Bowdre said. “We have some fantastic skiers this year in Steamboat.”
– To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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