Four Summit County athletes competed at the U.S. Alpine Skiing National Championships last weekend - two with Team Summit and two alumni of Summit's alpine skiing team.
The competition took place in Squaw Valley, Calif., from March 20-24 and included three events: Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G. Athletes from the Rocky Mountain Division, which includes Summit County, are chosen based on their national rankings and season results.
Katie Hartman and Nicole Anderson, previously athletes on Team Summit, attended with different groups. Hartman further distinguished herself by winning the overall competition championship - the combination of the fastest Super G and Slalom races.
"It was awesome," Hartman said, of winning the combined championship.
Hartman, 24, attended her first national championship competition at age 16.
"I have a good amount of nationals under my belt," he said. "Every year's different and every year brings different girls there, different levels of competition."
Hartman, who graduated from the University of Colorado last year, put together a team - Independent Ski Racing - of herself and two other athletes, to attend the championships.
"I love this sport," Hartman said. "I still am as fast as a bunch of those girls on the team, so I decided to keep going with it and it was really awesome that I did. I had a great year and had a lot of fun."
A bonus for Hartman this year was the ability to compete alongside her younger sister, Ellie. Ellie and teammate Miranda Sheely came to represent Team Summit at Squaw Valley.
"I think it was pretty good for both of us to be there and to get to share that moment together," Katie Hartman said.
Ellie Hartman and Sheely graduated from Summit High School in 2012. Both took a year off to dedicate their time to skiing, training hard with the goal of making the national championships.
"We're extremely proud of them," said Erik Leirfallom, Alpine program director for Team Summit. "They've put the hard work in this season and it's taken off."
Ellie Hartman placed 45th in the Giant Slalom, 29th in the Super G and 35th in the Slalom. Sheely placed 46th in the Giant Slalom and 30th in the Slalom.
"It was a pretty tough field, so it was a good learning experience," Ellie Hartman said, of her first time competing in the national competition. She had to deal with nerves a little, she said, "but you're just there to have a good time and just ski, so that was good."
Ellie Hartman said she also enjoyed meeting the other competitors, girls from all over the United States coming to compete at a national level. From the experience, she said she took away "learning how to compete at that higher level and how to calm your nerves when you're on a pretty intimidating field of girls, a pretty intimidating hill."
Team Summit coach Bart Bradford, who also went along to the national championships, said that he was pleased with how Sheely and Ellie Hartman handled themselves.
"It's a very intimidating atmosphere. There's a lot of people and there's a lot of activity and you've got the best female skiers in the world there. It's pretty awesome to be in the arena with them," he said. "Regardless of how they finished in the running order, it was just a victory for them to be at that event."
Attending the national championships was definitely a major goal of the season, according to Ellie Hartman. Bradford worked closely with her and Sheely to achieve that goal. It wasn't an easy road, with Ellie coming back from an accident last February that resulted in a broken leg
"For her it was a long road back, but you never know how it's going to play out," Bradford said. "She stayed on task, stayed focused and kept moving forward, and both of them stayed healthy."
In the end, all the hard work paid off.
"They achieved their goals, they went to nationals, they skied with the best in the world," Bradford said.
With nationals over there are only a few races left in the season for the athletes. The Hartman sisters are currently competing in Mammoth, Calif., and both plan to race their final races of the season at Breckenridge and Vail in the first week of April.
"That's going to be exciting, to have our last race there," Ellie Hartman said. "So we're excited and just ending a good season at home will be good."
Undoubtedly, Summit County will be happy to welcome local skiers back to its slopes.
"The whole county should be proud of them," Leirfallom said.