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Holiday Classic perfect homecoming for skiers from Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs ski racer Serina Kidd negotiates the gates during her second run on the first day of the SureFoot Holiday Classic at Howelsen Hill. Kidd, who now races for the University of Denver, placed third in Monday's race, which was won by Buck Hill's Rosie Hust.
John F. Russell

— She didn’t win, but that didn’t stop Steamboat Springs ski racer Serina Kidd from enjoying a happy homecoming at Howelsen Hill on Monday or earning a place on the podium.

“This is the first time I’ve raced here in several years,” Kidd said after finishing third in the Holiday Classic. “I love this hill. The college circuit is a little more moderate, so this is a lot of fun. We train in Loveland, which isn’t bad, but this is a nice hill for us to race on.”

Kidd grew up racing in Steamboat and spending the days before Christmas on the slopes of Howelsen Hill hoping for a solid showing in the Holiday Classic FIS race, which is part of the Surefoot series in Colorado.

But injuries and surgeries have kept the 2015 Steamboat Springs graduate away from the Classic the past couple of years.

She underwent shoulder surgery during her senior year of high school, and then six months later, Kidd blew out her knee. The injuries sidelined her for several months, but she returned to ski racing during a post-graduate year and found a place on the University of Denver ski team this season.

Her event Monday was the first time she has raced at home in several years, and while it wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t complaining after placing third behind winner Rosie Hust, of Buck Hill, and Swiss skier Anne-Solene Bregou, who was second.

“It was OK,” Kidd said of her race. “I had quite a few mistakes, and I was hoping to ski a little better, but now, I’m ready for the night slalom.”

Hust set the pace in Monday’s race with a blistering first-run time of 39.60 seconds. The fast start was what the high school senior was hoping for.

“It was really important,” Hust said of winning the first run. “I’m a mental disaster in the start. I’m always thinking about being aggressive in the first run. It’s what I’ve been working on in training, and it paid off today.”

Hust is from the Midwest but isn’t a stranger to Howelsen Hill or it’s steep terrain. She said it’s not unlike many of the resorts she sees in Minnesota, which are smaller and feature an ideal pitch for a slalom.

She had raced twice at Howelsen before Monday’s race. She placed third in the opening run of her first race and held the lead in the opening run of her second appearance. But in both cases, she failed to finish the second run and went home empty handed.

This wasn’t the case on Monday as she posted the fastest first run time and capped it off in the second run to finish at 1 minutes, 20.49 seconds. Bregou finished second at 1:21.21, and Kidd who placed third at 1:21.69.

Kid, a former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club ski racer, was already excited about getting back into the starting gate for Tuesday evening’s night-time slalom events.

“I’m excited for tomorrow,” Kidd said. “I’ve been having some equipment issues, and I’m slowly getting those fixed. I know that I made some mistakes in this race, and if I can clean those up, I should be fast.”

The second slalom of the 2016 Holiday Classic will start Tuesday afternoon with the women’s first run set to begin at 1:45 p.m. and the men’s at 2:45 p.m. The second runs will take place under the lights with the women’s main event beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the men expected to start at 6:30 p.m.

Winners in both the men’s and women’s races will earn $1,000 for their efforts, making the events a popular attraction for skiers not only from Colorado but from around the country and the world.

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


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