Steamboaters slip, slide to podium
Steamboat Springs — Virginia “Gigi” Boyd didn’t have a perfect run down the face of Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs on Sunday afternoon, as she tried her best to bob and weave between alpine snowboarding slalom gates.
In her defense, however, she’s only 9 years old, she’s only weeks into her first season of racing and she was far from the only one who had trouble in Sunday’s conditions.
Nearly a foot of fresh snow awaited Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director Tori Koski when she arrived early to set up for the second day of racing in a United States of America Snowboard Association Alpine snowboarding event.
She sent her volunteers up the lift and down the race course for three powder laps before anyone got serious about setting up gates, and an army of slippers helped knock the course throughout the day, as the 50 competing athletes took their runs.
When powder wasn’t the problem, ice was; it was buried beneath the powder and caused headaches for the hugely wide range of riders who took on the course.
The race brought together newcomers learning the sport and veterans hoping to make it on the World Cup, plus riders with nearly every combination of age and experience in between.
Those veterans, some of the best in the country, slipped on the ice as they tried to weave their way through the slalom gates, and so did Gigi.
The athletes also raced a giant slalom course, which had fewer gates and a more wide-open setup.
“Slalom’s hard, because the gates are so close together,” Gigi said. “I like GS more, because it’s easier, and I’m better at it.”
She’s also taking on snowboard cross this year and has learned to love that, as well.
“I like going fast,” she said. “I like the momentum you get, and it’s fun.”
In the end, a huge heap of Steamboaters ended up on top of the podium in both the slalom and giant slalom races, including Gigi, who was there in the grommet girls division in both events.
Others to win twice included Rebecca Dillon in Breaker girls, Robby Burns in men’s open, Maggie Rose Carrigan in women’s open, Rochelle Weinberg (only 7 years old) in the Ruggie division and Winston Vaughan in youth men. Walker Overstake also won in the Menehune boys in the giant slalom.
“The day was awesome,” Koski said. “It was pretty tough with the conditions, but our athletes handled it well.”
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