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Roberts takes NorAm

On Thursday, Steamboat Springs ski racer Drew Roberts stood at the bottom of the slalom course in Sunday River, Maine, waiting to know his fate.

He had just completed his second slalom run of the day and taken the lead, but there were two skiers at the top of the hill with legitimate chances to knock him out of the top spot.

“I felt pretty good about the way I had skied, but I had no idea I was going to win it,” Roberts said.

But when Canadian Paul Stutz and American teammate Paul McDonald, the only two ski racers to post faster first-run times, skied off course, it became clear that Roberts would become the first Steamboat Springs skier in recent memory to win a NorAm event.

“Winning a NorAm as a junior is a very big deal,” coach Chris Puckett said. “I can’t remember the last time a Steamboat skier has done it.”

Roberts said the conditions were tough, but he didn’t think the courses were that difficult. His two-run combined time of 1 minute, 47.59 seconds helped him top second-place finisher Brad Spence of Canada and American Cody Marshall, who finished third. Steamboat’s Patrick Duran was 20th.

Roberts said he was inspired when Paul McDonald, a skier Roberts has been skiing with for most of this season, finished third in Wednesday’s NorAm slalom race at Sunday River. Canadian Patrick Biggs won that race, but McDonald’s finish gave his teammate hope.

“When I saw him standing on the podium, I knew I could do it, too,” Roberts said.

Roberts finished second to McDonald during a Rocky Mountain Trophy Series held Dec. 22 in Steamboat Springs.

Before Thursday’s race, Roberts’ best finish in a NorAm was 11th. That result came Wednesday.

Roberts will return to Steamboat this week for a short stay, but is scheduled to leave for Europe early next week. He hopes to earn a Europa Cup start during his visit to Europe.

–To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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