Steamboat sports briefs for Dec. 20 |

Steamboat sports briefs for Dec. 20

Top-tier slalom racers return to town

— Opportunities don’t come much rarer than this.

Sure, people get the opportunity to see top-level skiers tear down the slopes in Steamboat Springs.

And of course, Santa Claus is available every holiday season to listen to the wishes of children.

But both? In one place? That’s only going to happen Sunday at Howelsen Hill at the FIS Holiday Classic.

The event features some of the top skiers in the nation, plus the uber-rare opportunity to ride tubes across the snow with the old man himself, Santa.

“This is a premier race event,” organizer Deb Anderson said. “Members of the U.S. Ski Team are coming. There will be top collegiate racers here. If anyone wants to see the highest end slalom racing, this is the opportunity.”

The event begins at 4:45 p.m. Sunday with a women’s race. Another women’s slalom event will follow at 7 p.m.

All the racing Sunday will be under the lights, and it all will come interspersed with plenty of Santa.

He’s certainly busy this time of year, but he will be in Steamboat from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The cost of tubing will drop to just $5. Organizers also ask that fans bring along nonperishable food items for the LIFT-UP food bank.

Sunday’s activities are only the start of a solid week of racing at Howelsen.

Another women’s race will start at 8:30 a.m. Monday, followed by the men at 10:30 a.m. The men then will race at 4:45 p.m., before the women at 7.

The men and women will race again Tuesday morning, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Anderson said she expects about 100 competitors for each the men’s and women’s divisions.

Lodwick misses win sweep, eyes World Cup ’09 return

Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick made it three-for-four in the win column as the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup wrapped up its North American swing.

Lodwick, a four-time Olympian returning after a two-year absence, came off his two wins in Utah last weekend to pick up a third straight at the Whistler Olympic Park on Wednesday. A day later, though, he was 1.4 seconds short of a perfect mark as Austrian Tobias Kammerlander took the win.

The Americans continued their strong showing with, Park City, Utah’s Brett Camerota finishing fifth both days. Steamboat’s Bryan Fletcher was fourth in Thursday’s event.

The Continental Cup resumes Jan. 3 and 4 in Eisenerz, Austria. Lodwick is expected to join the World Cup after Christmas, with events in Oberhof and Schonach, Germany.

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