Holiday Classic features challenging course, tight races
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a blazing fast second run in the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic slalom race, Andrea Komsic sat in the lead with three skiers left to go. The first had a successful run, but it wasn’t enough to top Komsic, leaving two more racers.
Rosie Hust was just a few gates into her run when she missed one and was disqualified.
That left run-one winner Storm Klamhaus. On the steepest part of the hill, she, too, missed a gate, making Komsic the victor and winner of the $4,000 prize on Sunday, Dec. 22.
“I didn’t expect it to happen, but I’m not surprised,” Komsic said of her competition missing a gate. “That happens all the time. It happens to me when I’m the leader in the first round. I usually mess up in the second round because I have too much pressure on me.”
Komsic, a Croatia-born skier for the University of Denver, won with a combined time of 122.83 seconds, with the first one clocking in at 42.27.
She said she was trying to find herself on the first run, but it didn’t work well. The second, she had nothing to lose, so she flew down the hill in 40.66 seconds. Komsic said it didn’t feel like it was fast enough to win the event, though.
“Honestly, not really,” she said. “I thought it was a little messy. I thought, ‘OK I made it to the finish.’ I heard I was the leader, but I knew there were still three girls who were faster than me in the first run, so I didn’t know if it was a winning run.”
The race featured the 30 fastest racers from the afternoon, running slowest to fastest. Sophie-Ann Robinson, the seventh person on the course, recorded a time of 125.6, good for first. She sat in the leaders saddle for a long time, hinting at a potential upset, since she was the 23rd fastest in the afternoon.
No such thing happened in the men’s race. Every few skiers, a new racer hopped on the saddle. At one point, Steamboat Springs native Cole Puckett was the leader, but only for a few short minutes.
With Bridger Gile in the lead, just one racer remained: round-one victor Garret Driller.
The Team America skier seemed to speed through the course, but so had many others who were not quite fast enough to take over the first-place spot.
“Was it enough?” asked the announcers over the loudspeaker.
Driller’s second run 45.76 seconds was indeed enough to win with a combined time of 128.59 seconds, making him instantly $4,000 richer. The California native used his 42.83 second afternoon run to put himself in first going into the night event.
“I kind of went out of the gate going for it,” he said. “That’s what you have to do. So, I charged my way down the hill and ended up alright in the first round, held the lead.”
He said the start of the second was stressful, but he did the same thing and just went for it.
Many skiers struggled with the final combination. On the flat, just ahead of the finish line, was a hairpin turn. That wasn’t the biggest challenge, though, it was the last red gate to the left of the hairpin that skiers couldn’t get their tips around it. Driller managed to get by it without sacrificing time.
“We had our coach here and we had a lot of warnings ahead of time,” Driller said. “We knew it was coming, it was still challenging, all of it was really challenging, but you just had to pay attention and look ahead. If you knew it was coming, you could make it.”
Komsic and Driller are both fans of Howelsen Hill and have raced there many times in the past.
“I like this hill. I love night skiing a lot,” Komsic said. “And it’s so nice because there are so many people here and everyone is cheering for everyone. It’s so fun.”
Friday, Dec. 21
Junior National Race Results
1. Brynne Hitchcock, Park City, 1:27.28
2. Kendahl Roufa, Vail, 1:28.46
3. Sophie-Anne Robinson, Canada, 1:29.26
4. Lauren Geary, SSWSC, 1:29.75
7. Elsie Halvorsen, SSWSC, 1:30.47
11. Sequoia Anstine, SSWSC, 1:30.85
12. Bella Amico, SSWSC, 1:31.21
16. Riley Grosdidier, SSWSC, 1:32.01
19. Shiau-Tau Ciecierska, Colo Mtn College, 1:32.56
21. Jaelie Hovey, SSWSC, 1:33.05
23. Mary Kate Hackworthy, Colo Mtn College, 1:33.42
36. Helenka Ostaszewski, SSWSC, 1:38.73
43. Nicole Nolting, SSWSC, 1:42.33
45. Maren Elvidge, SSWSC, 1:43.61
1. Louis Nguyen, SSWSC, 1:20.94
2. Tucker Strauch, Vail, 1:21.23
3. Chase Seymour, SSWSC, 1:21.93
6. Cam Smith, SSWSC, 1:22.39
7. Jack Lindsay, Colo Mtn College, 1:22.78
8. Bode Flanigan, SSWSC, 1:22.91
11. Kyle Kagan, SSWSC, 1:23.94
12. Jordan Simon, SSWSC, 1:24.42
13. Nick Unkovskoy, SSWSC, 1:24.59
16. Cole Gedeon, SSWSC, 1:24.70
30. Louis Weiner, SSWSC, 1:29.25
32. Colton Sankey, SSWSC, 1:29.68
33. Jevon Hovey, SSWSC, 1:30.14
37. Connor Crossen, SSWSC, 1:30.90
49. Will Russell, SSWSC, 1:36.27
54. James Lahrmann, SSWSC, 1:38.93
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