Steamboat skiers land high in Winter Park
Steamboat Springs — One finish nearly a year ago in Steamboat Springs was partially responsible for fueling Lane Stoltzner’s desire to stick with freestyle moguls skiing this season. She placed third in that race — the national championship — her best result of the season and maybe her best in several seasons.
That result wasn’t enough to keep Stoltzner on the U.S. Ski Team — a case of too little, too late — but a strong showing this week at the U.S. Team Selections event in Winter Park showed Stoltzner is still skiing near the top of her game and that, while it will take strong results the rest of the season, her quest to regain her status on the U.S. team is alive.
Stoltzner was second in one individual moguls event and fourth — second among the field’s Americans — in the other. That left her just short of the one World Cup start up for grabs.
“Each round, Lane just kept stepping it up, skiing faster and going bigger, doing what she needed to do,” Steamboat moguls coach Kate Blamey said. “She did everything I asked of her. It just was not quite enough.”
Alex Jenson secured that World Cup start with two strong individual results, finishing first one day and second another, both just a hair ahead of Stoltzner.
Stoltzner was one of a four-some of Steamboat skiers hunting that World Cup start, and while she came the closest to grabbing it, all four turned in strong results
Avital Shimko had her best result in the week’s dual moguls event, placing third. She also had a fourth-place finish in an individual moguls event and was 10th in the other, losing ground there due to a mistake off the top jump.
That all but ended her bid for the World Cup spot but didn’t keep her from other strong results.
“It was a little disappointing there, but she’s come so far in the last 12 months,” Blamey said. “I was really happy with her performances.”
Steamboat’s Maggie Ryan, meanwhile, had two particularly strong finishes, seventh and ninth, then was 17th in the third event. Trudy Mickel also placed well, going eighth, ninth and 14th.
It was enough to get all four women onto this season’s Nor-Am Cup circuit, which kicks off in February. The only one missing from Steamboat’s five top womens skiers was Sophia Schwartz, who missed the event and will miss the entire season with a back injury.
The Nor-Am events offer the next chance for Stoltzner and the rest of the team to earn a spot on the U.S. team.
The overall winner of that circuit will receive a spot.
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Things have changed since Joe Ghiglia and Rick Bear graced the stage at the Ratskeller, located in the basement of Inn at Thunderhead in Ski Time Square, in the 1970s.