While this year’s U.S. Olympic team members put the finishing touches on preparations for next month’s games in Sochi, Russia, some potential future Olympians will take to the slopes at Breckenridge Ski Resort this weekend for four days of alpine super G competition. Races start today with a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association–sanctioned U16 men’s qualifier for the Junior Championships — formerly Junior Olympics — set for Steamboat Springs in March.
The event — originally scheduled for Aspen, Jan. 12 — was moved to Breckenridge because of a weather-related cancellation. As one of the only USSA-sanctioned super G courses in the state, Breckenridge became a suitable alternative for race organizers. The women’s U16 competition was held as scheduled.
For members of the Team Breckenridge Ski Club, it’s a move to their home turf.
“We’re really thrilled to be hosting this,” Team Breck spokeswoman Mara Sheldon said. “This is like a feather in our cap.”
The races will take place on Cimarron on Peak 10.
“It’s a great run for competition. For the U16s to be competing on this run is really exciting,” Sheldon said.
The regional competition is expected to draw athletes from across the state.
“It’s definitely a competitive race,” Team Breck head coach Chelsea Lynch said.
The competitive advantage for her club is minimal, she said, but added, “Anytime we’re able to host races on the trail you train on there’s an advantage.”
Junior Championship qualifiers for slalom and giant slalom will be at Copper Mountain Resort and Winter Park in February.
Thursday’s U16 men’s competition will be followed by the already scheduled annual regional U14 Bolle Super G races hosted by Team Breck.
Friday will be a practice day followed by two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s one of the only events that athletes from the entire region are at,” Lynch said.
While the U16 race has an expected field of 55-60 athletes, the U14 competition will have close to 200 competitors.
Summit High racing note: The Summit High School alpine and Nordic racing teams’ seasons continue Friday with a GS competition at Beaver Creek and duathlon race in Aspen.