Sailors Alpine team looking forward to full schedule of races
In the 2020-21 season, the Steamboat Springs High School Alpine ski team had just two races, plus state. It wasn’t ideal.
This year the schedule features six races and state, including one home race at Howelsen Hill Ski Area.
The Sailors always do well at home, partly because Howelsen Hill is a unique venue. The hometown skiers are extremely familiar with the changes in pitch along the slopes, so they are looking forward to performing well during the home slalom race Jan. 13.
“It’s definitely harder terrain than most high school ski racers are used to,” said junior Erik Sandvik. “Since we’ve been training here, it’s definitely an advantage.”
Senior Brodie Skinner has a goal of placing in the top 15 at Howelsen, which he thinks he should be able to accomplish with little issue since Howelsen is all the team trains on.
“It’s kind of like training for a marathon and then only going out and running a one-mile race,” he said. “You overtrain for it.”
Skinner hopes to make state this year, as well, and Sandvik wants to finish in the top 15 in slalom at state. They are just two members of a strong boys team.
Dawson Holmes, another junior, is aiming to consistently finish in the top 10, while junior Fisher St. John is hoping to consistently finish his races. When he crosses the finish line, he’s speedy, but he has struggled with doing that every race.
The team hasn’t been able to train GS, or giant slalom, since it requires use of the entire face at Howelsen Hill, which has yet to open.
“There’s a lot of new kids who haven’t skied before or trained gates,” said junior Sophia Gowdy. “For them, it’s affecting them. And our first race is a week after we get back from break, so we’ve only had a few weeks of training.”
As of this week, the team has had only three days on snow, but there is still tons of time before the first race of the year Jan. 5 at Loveland.
More races this season also mean more bus rides, more time to build friendships and more time spent on some of the best ski slopes in Colorado. Annika Ort said her main goal is to simply make the most of her senior year.
“Everyone on the team is super supportive and there for you and fun to be around,” Ort said.
With more chances to do well, the Sailors are optimistic they can qualify a large number of athletes and perform well at state this year. St. John said the boys could potentially fight for a top-three spot.
“I feel like our girls could do even better,” St. John said.
“On a good day, they could be top two at state,” added Skinner.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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