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Steamboat skiers finish on top

Promising young ski racers from across the state discovered Howelsen Hill’s reputation for hosting some of the toughest slalom races anywhere in the country last weekend.

It was the venue’s steep and unforgiving terrain that hampered the visiting skiers, but local athletes didn’t have any problems.

Steamboat skiers, or former Steamboat skiers, won all four of the SmartWool slalom races held on Howelsen Hill and captured eight of the 12 possible podium spots.



“It was a pretty good weekend for our racers,” said Chris Puckett, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Alpine director. “These are entry-level races, but finishes like these will help our skiers make it to the next level.”

Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Josh Bryan, who is a member of the University of Colorado ski team, set the mark to beat in Saturday’s slalom with a two-run, combined time of 1 minute, 14.33 seconds. Bryan trailed University of Utah skier Jed Schuetze by less than a second after the first run but rebounded with the fastest second-run time of 37.80 to win the race.



Schuetze was second at 1:14.73, and University of Colorado skier Jonas Kryzl finished third at 1:15.02.

Joel Adams, another former Sailor turned Buff, raced to fourth place followed by Steamboat Springs skiers Cory McConnell in fifth, Gary Beresford in seventh, Dylan Roberts in 10th and Ramsey Bernard in 15th.

Steamboat’s Thomas Allen took top honors in Sunday’s race with a time of 1:22.11. Eldora’s Teddy Berglund was second at 1:22.76 and Ski Club Vail’s Hunter Schleper raced to third place at 1:23.84.

Steamboat’s Freddie Clough was fourth, McConnell was fifth, Lane Shipley came in ninth, and Bernard was 11th. Hometown skiers Graham Hogrefe and Ryan Coe also enjoyed top-20 finishes in the race.

But it was on the women’s side that the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club really shined.

Local racers swept the podium both days en route to beating some of the region’s best young skiing talent.

Christina Roberts led the way Saturday by posting a two-run combined time of 1:21.38 — nearly two seconds faster than teammate Lauren Letson who finished in second place.

Letson finished at 1:23.38 followed by teammate Cassady Roberts in third at 1:24.80. Vail ski racer Delainey Ackerman, considered one of the best J-3 racers in the state, placed fourth with a time of 1:27.69.

On Sunday, Heidi Hillen–brand stepped to the front, finishing the race with a time of 1:26.56. Letson was second with a time of 1:28.61, and Jennifer Allen was third at 1:29.34. Steamboat’s Mary Rachel Hos–tetter was fourth, Kathleen Lyon was sixth, Cassady Roberts was seventh, and Anabelle Mc—-Lean was ninth.

Puckett said it was nice to host the slalom races in Steamboat Springs during January, and he thinks the events will be confidence boosters for many of the local racers who took part in the events.

The races drew 55 women and 80 men. The fields might have been bigger, but many of the younger racers were out of town at age class races.

“Most of the other teams sent their top J-3s, so it was a good field,” Puckett said. It was a little smaller than some of our other races, but there were some good skiers here.”

Puckett said the Winter Sports Club is gearing up for a series of college races coming up Feb 3 and 4 in Steamboat.

The events are expected to draw many of the same racers who will come to Steamboat in March for the NCAA Champ–ionship events.

The women’s giant slalom race is scheduled for Concentration ski run Feb. 3, with the men racing under the lights at Howelsen at night.

The next day, the men will move to the giant slalom course on Concentration, and the wom–en will compete under the lights that night.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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