Steamboat skiers win slalom races at Howelsen Hill
In her final out of four runs, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Logan Grosdidier flew down the slalom course on Howelsen Hill Ski Area.
Grosdidier was second after the first run of the afternoon race, so she was giving it everything she had.
About two thirds of the way down, just over a knoll, Grosdidier’s skis slid out from under her. She stayed on top of them but wobbled through the next two gates as her feet moved slightly faster than the rest of her body.
Despite the setback, Grosdidier maintained her speed down to the bottom of the course, which carried her through a flat section and across the finish line. The 13-year-old’s efforts earned her first in the second of two Sync Cup races.
As she teetered on her skis, Grosdidier stayed focused on the ultimate goal: completing the course.
“I just think, ‘You got to finish,'” she said. “Get to the bottom. You never know.”
Moments earlier, SSWSC skier Abby Olson had skidded out on the same section that threw Grosdidier. Olson stumbled a bit more, though, getting a slower time and taking fifth in the race. Olson won the morning race after earning the fastest times in both the first and second runs.
The 14-year-old dominated the first race. She is a first-year U16 skier and already has high hopes for herself, aiming to do well at the U16 championships and make it to nationals. Thursday’s victory and consistency throughout the day gave her a confidence boost.
“It helps me feel like I’m closer to that goal,” Olson said.
Doing well in the slalom races at Howelsen not only demanded speed but flexibility and versatility, as conditions weren’t ideal for racing and changed throughout the day.
About 18 inches of snow had fallen in Steamboat Springs over the past day, leaving the face of Howelsen Hill shimmering and fluffy. That would have been excellent for skiers, but it was not great for slalom races.
“The course was kind of rough with the soft snow — really wet,” Grosdidier said. “Definitely not Champagne Powder.”
With the shifting snow on the course, skiers were sent down between racers to slip the course or push snow off it.
Typically, slippers travel in a line or small groups of two or three. The idea is to push snow toward the outside of the course. Some keep their skis parallel and move sideways down the hill. Others slowly slide with their ski tips pointing together. Either way, it gets the job done, and they were necessary Thursday.
The Sync Cup continues Friday, Jan. 7, with two men’s races, and Saturday, Jan. 8, and Sunday, Jan. 9, on All Out at Steamboat Resort with giant slalom development races. Also taking place this weekend at Steamboat Resort will be the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Moguls competition, beginning at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8.
Top 3: 1. Abby Olson 1:30.59. 2. Noelle Roth 1:31.92. 3. Viktoria Zaytseva 1:33.42.
Other Steamboat finishers: 8. Emma McHaffie 1:42.13. 9. Avery Olson1:43.66. 20. Hazel Fernley 1:54.39.
Top 3: 1. Logan Grosdidier 1:34.72. 2. Viktoria Zaytseva 1:35.59. 3. Ashley Anderson 1:35.6.
Other Steamboat finishers: 5. Abby Olson 1:38.84. 10. Mollie McTigue 1:42.21. 12. Hazel Fernley 1:45.73. 15. Avery Olson 1:47.0.
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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