Sailors Alpine skiers head to state championships |

Sailors Alpine skiers head to state championships

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Steamboat Springs High School senior Ashley Spiegel arrives at Ski Copper near Leadville for the State High School Skiing Championships, she will not need to find motivation to ski.

"Going into state, I want this to be my best race of the year," she said Tuesday afternoon. "I want to feel really good about my run. I think that is one of my biggest motivators — just knowing that this will be one of my last chances to race. This is a sad and a happy moment at the same time."

Spiegel, who grew up skiing in FIS level races with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is part of a core group of seniors who have led this year's team. She is joined by fellow seniors Olivia Flake and Amy Speer, and Amber Elliott (slalom) . Sophomores Ella Pietras and AnnMarie Hackworthy and freshman Sophia Gowdy are also on this year's state-qualifying team. 

Senior Caroline Lapori also qualified to race at state but will miss this year's finals.

"The girls team has been really strong all year," coach Mike Farny said.

Earlier this month, the girls team won a meet in Winter Park fueled by top finishes from Flake, who was second, Pietras, who was fifth, and Spiegel, who came in 10th. At the time, Farny said the team had a solid chance at finding the podium at this year's state championships.

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The coach is expecting both the girls team and the young boys team to be competitive against the state’s other top teams including defending champions Battle Mountain and Aspen.

"That boys team, when they are seniors, they are going to be dominate," Farny said.

This year, the boys team will be sending three of the six skiers who started the season with the team. Freshmen Alden Wade and Scott Kai as well as sophomore Sam Clyncke, a Soroco student who travels from Oak Creek to compete with the team, will represent Steamboat at the championships.

"I'm blown away by how committed these kids are," Farny said."They train six nights a week. There is something special about this group of kids we have right now. They are really into it, they have a great time together and they are into skiing. It's fun to coach them because they want to be there, and they want to do something for the school."

The Colorado State Skiing Championships open Thursday with the giant slalom race at Ski Cooper. The mens first run is slated to begin at 11:45 a.m. The second run is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. The womens race will begin at 12:45 p.m. and followed by the second run at 3:45 p.m.

The slalom races will take place Friday with the mens first run at 9:45 a.m. and the second run at 12:45 p.m. The womens first run begins at 10:45 a.m. and will be followed by the second run at 1:45 p.m.

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