Sailors Nordic ski team readies for upcoming season
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs High School Nordic skiing coach Harry Niedl expects Matai Curzon to be one of the faster boys this winter. However, that doesn’t mean the sophomore is feeling any pressure, considering he spent last winter in the competition-oriented Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“I wasn’t really feeling all the training, and I didn’t really want to race,” Curzon said. “I wasn’t into competing. So I decided to come over here, because I heard it’s more just fun and games and a casual environment.”
Curzon was an Alpine skier early on before a crash while downhilling forced him to move over to cross country skiing in sixth grade. He’s excited about the laid back atmosphere the Sailors’ coaching staff has created and should be a solid addition to the Nordic team.
The boys’ team settled for eighth place last season in the 12-team league, but Niedl thinks the bar should be set a little higher this winter.
“The boys side is different this year, and we should be able to get top five,” said Niedl, who is in his second season coaching the Sailors. “Peter Myller (a senior) and Matai Curzon are the fastest skiers right now, but a lot of other boys are improving and catching up.”
The girls’ team took second last season, but doesn’t have a lot of returners to lean on. However, the girls should be strong up top with senior Natalie Bohlmann back for one more go.
Bohlmann took 10th overall at the state championship classic skiing race and fourth in the state skate ski finals as a sophomore. As a junior, she took 12th in the skate ski race and seventh in the classic race at state.
“Not really. I kind of just like to have fun with it,” Bohlmann said when asked if she is feeling any pressure entering the season. “It’s more about just getting out and skiing and having fun.”
Bohlmann did set a goal of getting top 10 in each of her races and once again qualifying for the state meet.
The remainder of the team — both boys and girls — is a fairly open slate, according to Niedl. There are 24 athletes on the roster — 14 boys and 10 girls — including four sets of siblings. Experience ranges from veterans such as Curzon and Bohlmann to first timers just learning the basics of Nordic skiing.
The Sailors will open their season Jan. 9 in Frisco before traveling to Minturn on Jan. 16. The third race of the season will be Jan. 30, the Individual Classic Start hosted by Steamboat at the Touring Center.
The final two regular season races will be Feb. 6 in Edwards and Feb. 13 in Leadville. The state championships take place Feb. 25 and 26 in Aspen.
“I think so. It’s hard to say,” Bohlmann said about the team being ready for its first race. “You don’t really know until you have your first race, like where you’re at. But we’ve been doing a lot of long-distance skiing, and I feel like we are ready.”
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