Steamboat Springs High School Alpine skiers still find 2-race season worth it
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the conclusion of its home race last Thursday, the Steamboat Springs High School Alpine ski team was halfway through its season. After Friday’s race at Keystone, the Sailors will only have state left.
Despite the extremely short winter, more Sailors than ever are competing with the team, which is seeing more success than it’s seen before.
Senior Kai Scott is used to a much longer winter, with more races leading up to the state competition, but he doesn’t feel like he’s being jipped out of anything.
“We’re still getting to train two times a week which is great,” Scott said. “That’s exactly what we were training last year. And we got in some races, which is way better than none. I think we’re pretty fortunate to have a season.”
What every Sailor on the team seems to value isn’t the races themselves, but their teammates.
“I really like the team and how supportive they are and being able to train and not be as competitive as Winter Sports Club but still have competitions,” junior Annika Ort said.
Both the girls and boys won their home competition for the first time ever last week, and according to head coach Mike Farny, it’s their attitude that’s allowed them to ski so well. Everyone is still taking the season seriously, even though it’s hardly a season, but at the same time, they are enjoying the sport that very well could have been taken from them.
“The kids come to practice really excited,” Farny said. “There is a great energy amongst the group, so training has been really competitive and really focused, which is great to see. With COVID, they’re just excited to be outside and doing what they love.”
There are true newbies on the team, who have zero racing experience but just wanted to be part of the team. Then, there are skiers like Ort, who have the chance to place high at state. At home, Ort finished second with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 35.39 seconds. Senior Emily Schneider, senior Eliza Fox and sophomore Audra Gowdy rounded out the top five.
On the guys side of competition, Steamboat senior James Lahrman was the victor, while senior Alden Wade finished fourth.
“This is the group I’ve started with four years ago. It’s an amazing group of seniors,” Farny said. “They really pull everyone together and create a team feeling. It’s going to be sad seeing this group go.”
The success is great but will ultimately make it more difficult to decide who will go to the state competition, which will feature a smaller field than normal. Rather than the top third of competitors qualifying, only the top quarter will qualify for state at Loveland on March 11 and 12.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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