Young skiers sparkle at Howelsen Hill as Holiday Classic draws to a close
Steamboat Springs — Hig Roberts is no stranger to the Holiday Classic in Steamboat Springs, and after a come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s race, who could blame him for wanting a repeat Monday afternoon?
Roberts was close to a repeat after taking the lead with only two other racers who had a chance of beating him waiting at the top.
The final skier, Seppi Stiegler, laid down a solid run to grab the lead with a time of 1 minute, 28.25 seconds. Roberts, who had the third-fastest first run time, placed second at 1:28.43.
“I grew up on Howelsen Hill,” Roberts said. “Course conditions were interesting with that kind of wet snow last night, but it’s always fun to come back here. Seppi (Stiegler) is my teammate. I nipped him last night and got him by a little bit, and he got me by a little bit today. I’ve probably taken a couple thousand runs on this hill, so it’s pretty familiar to me, and I never feel like I’m out of it.”
Roberts grew up with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club before leaving for college. He skied for Middlebury College and now is part of a development team made up of elite skiers hoping to get a World Cup bid. That team is based in Vail and is called Team America, of which Stiegler also is a member.
“The conditions were a little difficult,” Stiegler said. “It was a little soft, so it makes it hard for the guys that have to run in the back. I got a pretty good draw first run and backed it up with a pretty solid second run. It was rutty, but I know how to ski that stuff.
“Hig and I have been going back and forth … it was super close, which is really fun,” Stiegler added.
Roberts was able to overtake Cristian Javier Simari Birkner on the second run. Simari Birkner finished third with a time of 1:29.11.
Other Steamboat racers posting top finishes included: Max Marno, who currently is skiing with the University of Denver, in 12th place with a time of 1:31.60; Winter Sports Club skier Zak Kjos in 18th with a time of 1:34.39; Devon DeJong in 22nd place at 1:35.81; and Will McConnell in 26th at 1:38.14.
Mateja Robnik, from the University of New Mexico, raced to the top spot in the women’s race with a time of 1:30.06. She was followed by Thea Grosvold, from the University of Colorado, in second place at 1:30.71, and Macarena Simari Birkner, from Argentina, who finished third with a time of 1:31.13.
Former Winter Sports Club skier Shane McLean was 10th with a time of 1:35.38; Serina Kidd was 12th at 1:36.29. Despite finishing in the top 15 in their first runs, Ellese Lupori and Mackenzie Gansmann were unable to finish the second run.
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Time seemed to stop for Matthew Engle for a few seconds after he heard crunching metal last week while he was in downtown Steamboat Springs.