Steamboat seniors look to cap off skiing careers with top showings at state |

Steamboat seniors look to cap off skiing careers with top showings at state

Steamboat Springs senior Andrew McCawley races earlier this month in a high school skiing event at Beaver Creek.

— The athletes competing at the Colorado State High School Skiing Championships later this week will be looking for fast times and state titles.

But for Steamboat Springs High School seniors Alex Coffey, Andrew McCawley, Wyatt Reynolds, Kelly Ryan and Nolan Sankey, the races are much more personal.

"I just want to come down the hill knowing that I left it all up there," Coffey said. "I don't really care about where I finish place-wise as long as I ski my best. I want to come down and not have any regrets."

Coffey grew up skiing in Steamboat Springs, first with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and then with the high school team. For friends Coffey and McCawley, the high school team was a way to stay connected without paying the price to ski at the higher level and not giving up time in the classroom during their senior years.

McCawley echoed his teammate’s sentiments as he heads into his final high school races. This season, he has won two races and was in the top five in his others. He is also one of the team's better cross-country skiers and a favorite to win the Ski Meister Award, which goes to the athlete who sets the bar in both Alpine and Nordic skiing events in the regular season.

"This is the first year that I've done both constantly," McCawley said. "I had cross-country skied only a handful of times before this season. It was a lot more fun than I had expected, and I had to learn a lot."

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Like Coffey, McCawley grew up skiing in Steamboat Springs.

"Ski racing is a huge part of my life, and these will be my last two races," McCawley said. "I want to do well … I'm going to ski fast as I can and leave it on the hill."

Though his ski racing career will end this week, his connection to Steamboat and skiing are sure to remain. He is an instructor at Steamboat Ski Area in the winter, and during the summer, he volunteers with the STARS program.

McCawley and Coffey will be joined by in the state completion by fellow seniors Sankey and Reynolds.

Reynolds also grew up skiing with the Winter Sports Club but gave it up in middle school. He said the races this week will most likely be his last and he’s looking forward to a chance to race on All Out Thursday.

“I have not raced on the new run on the mountain yet, so I’m pretty excited,” Reynolds said. “It means a lot, and I’m really happy that state is in Steamboat. This is my second year on the high school ski team, and it’s a good way to finish it out.”

Sankey is a ski jumper who decided to give Alpine ski racing a try at the start of the season, along with Ryan, who also came over from a Nordic background and was a telemark ski racer.

“This is my first and last year Alpine ski racing,” Ryan said. “It has been a lot of fun … We have all been skiing our whole life. This has been a great group to ski with. We are all there to have fun and have a good time — that’s what it's all about.”

The squad's final senior Alessandra Peliari also joined the team this year. She is an exchange student from Italy with a competitive skiing background who came to the team hoping to make some friends.

McCawley hopes that friends and family will be able to watch the races and cheer for the local team.

"It's really cool to be at home. We don't have to get up at 4 a.m. and travel somewhere to race," McCawley said. "I'm super excited to be here, and I expect this to be a great event.”

The Colorado State High School Skiing Championships include both Alpine and Nordic skiing events. The results from both disciplines are combined with the team scoring the most points being crowned as the state champion.

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

Colorado State High School Skiing Schedule


Giant slalom

All Out trail at Steamboat Ski Area

9 a.m. — boys first run

11 a.m. —boys second run

Noon — girls first run

1:30 — girls second run

Individual Nordic skate race

3:30 p.m. — boys race

4:10 p.m. — girls race


Slalom at Howelsen Hill

9 a.m. — girls first run

10 a.m.— boys first run

Noon — girls second run

1 p.m. — boys second run

Mass start classic race at Howelsen Hill rodeo grounds

3 p.m. — boys race

3:30 p.m. — girls races

7 p.m. — Awards ceremony at Steamboat Springs High School