Steamboat Springs makes the most of high school home Alpine race |

Steamboat Springs makes the most of home Alpine race

Steamboat Springs junior Ella Pietras speeds down the course on Friday, Feb. 1, at Howelsen Hill. (Photo by Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School Alpine ski team only gets one home race every season, which means not only a home-course advantage, but also a full night’s rest as the Sailors are spared an early-morning bus ride.

But the team does build the course from the ground up, which is something special.

Race results

1. Gretchen Pavelich, Battle Mountain
2. Kiilama Jonna, Colorado Rocky Mountain
3. Berit Frischholz, Battle Mountain
5. Ella Pietras, Steamboat Springs
7. Annika Ort, Steamboat Springs
11. Kendal Flake, Steamboat Springs
18. Mae Thorp, Steamboat Springs
19. Bryn O’Neil-Eliason, Steamboat Springs
29. AnnMarie Hackworthy, Steamboat Springs

1. Robert Harnick, Vail Mountain
2. Reed Beidelman, Aspen
3. Alden Wade, Steamboat Springs
4. Kai Scott, Steamboat Springs
18. Sam Clyncke, Steamboat Springs

“Basically our skiers put that race on — they put up the netting and did the announcing,” Sailors head coach Mike Farny said. “No other team does that. The Steamboat kids stepped up and took part in putting on their home race.”

Knowing the course’s twists and turns also helped some Sailors to qualify for state and others to push their limits to prepare to make the most of their state appearance. The top 32 girls and top 23 boys of the day qualified for a state appearance.

“It’s just so cool to compete in the place you train,” Alden Wade said. “And for me, I always say to ski how you train, and it takes off a lot of the nervousness of it because you’re so familiar with it.”

Wade raced for a combined 1 minute, 30.20 seconds to take third place in the slalom and qualify for state.

“I qualified in GS, but the last slalom, I was disqualified, so this race, I just qualified for state,” Wade said. “It’s a big weight off your shoulders. It just allows you to go out and give it even that much more in the next races.”

Steamboat Springs sophomore Alden Wade skis through the course Friday, Feb. 1 at Howelsen Hill. (Photo by Leah Vann)

Wade lingered at the finish line to watch his teammates, then talked to a skier from Summit, who marveled at the fact that Wade trains at Howelsen Hill every day.

Howelsen Hill is known for being one of the steeper destinations, which works better for Alpine skiers.

Steamboat Springs junior Ella Pietras, already a state qualifier, said her weakness at Cooper Mountain during last year’s state championships was skiing the flats.

“It’s technique,” Pietras said. “So not pointing your skis directly at the gate, but making your turn have body and shape instead of sliding around so you can carry speed.”

Pietras was the top Steamboat Springs finisher for the girls with a combined time of 1:31.65 to take fifth overall. Her second run at 44.21 seconds topped her first run by more than three seconds and was the fourth-fastest second run time.

“Most of the races now I’m just preparing and being race ready,” Pietras said. “So I’m not as nervous at the start.”

Steamboat travels to Ski Cooper on Thursday, Feb. 7, for its final giant slalom competition before traveling to Beaver Creek on Feb. 15 for the final slalom competition.

“It’s super exciting how much better they’re skiing now,” Farny said. “One more GS and one more slalom, and we will qualify more.”

Seniors from Aspen, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Summit, Steamboat Springs, Vail Mountain and Colorado Rocky Mountain schools pose for a picture with the Steamboat Springs High School band to commemorate the annual senior day at Howelsen Hill. (Courtesy photo)

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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