Seymour scores huge win on NorAm circuit
Steamboat Springs — Jett Seymour said he knew things were going well, that his skiing was on point as he entered a pair of NorAm slalom races at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont.
Even he didn’t know quite how well he was actually skiing, however, not even after he and his top competition had finished the day’s runs.
Panting for breath Wednesday, he headed from the finish corral to where scorers were tabulating results, and it was only there that he realized he’d won one of the day’s two races.
It amounts to a huge win for the young slalom specialist, proof that in his first year racing on the NorAm circuit, the top regular circuit in North America, he’s fitting right in.
Seymour was fourth in the day’s other race. He was actually joined in putting down great performances by fellow Steamboat Springs skier Hig Roberts, who was second on slalom then won a NorAm giant slalom event a day later on the same mountain.
“It’s incredible,” said Seymour, 18. “For me, it was unexpected. I didn’t see it coming.”
Seymour’s been climbing the Alpine skiing ranks for years, but Wednesday’s result represents something of a breakthrough. He raced just three NorAm events a year ago and didn’t place better than 36th in any.
He added eight more starts earlier this season and didn’t do much better. Some came in super G and giant slalom, but even in slalom, to which he’s proven best suited so far, he only placed 25th.
That changed in a big way in Stowe, and it started with the first of the day’s two races.
Because of his relative lack of NorAm results, he started well back in the pack on the first run of his first race — a significant disadvantage as the course becomes rutted and worn. He finished that run in 13th, however, and, with the best time of the second run, surged all the way to fourth.
Those results shot him way up the standings and earned him a much better spot for the second race. There, he was third after the first run and, after the second, alone in first.
“I came down and knew it felt like a solid run,” he said. “I was so out of breath. I didn’t know I’d won until I walked over to the scoreboard and everyone started congratulating me.”
He wasn’t the only Steamboater to shine. Roberts, skiing with the U.S. Ski Team, was second in the first slalom. He didn’t finish the second but bounced back to win in GS on Thursday, laying down the fastest first-run time to take the lead, then easily hanging on for the win.
Nick Santaniello, who trained in Steamboat and now skis for University of Denver, also had a strong week. His best result was fifth in one of the slalom races.
For Seymour, the NorAm win could be a tremendous opportunity.
Roberts is currently first in the overall NorAm standings, ranking second in slalom and third in GS. Seymour rocketed all the way up to fourth in slalom and 20th overall.
That’s the kind of move, he said, that could draw the eyes of the U.S. Ski Team and perhaps earn him a spot there next winter.
“It’s definitely a massive step, and I couldn’t be happier with where things are going right now,” he said. “It definitely gets me on the U.S. team’s radar, and it drops my points a lot, so I’ll be starting early in every race. I’m also in the running for the NorAm Cup overall for slalom. If you win that, you get to race all the World Cups next year.
“That’s definitely a goal,” Seymour added. “We’ll see what happens. I have to keep skiing well.”
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