Snyder’s slalom victory leads Summit High girls Alpine to third at Loveland Valley
Masters, Cunningham Mentch shine for Tiger boys
LOVELAND SKI AREA — Olyvia Snyder had no choice but to send it “full beans,” as the Summit High School Alpine ski teams says, at Loveland Valley on Friday.
As of Friday morning, Snyder — an accomplished club skier — had yet to qualify to the Colorado High School state meet due to DNFs (did not finish) at high school meets earlier this season. As a result, at the final slalom event of the high school season at Loveland Friday, Snyder needed to cross the finish line without a hiccup to find her way back to the state slalom competitions where she finished fifth last season in Durango.
Snyder skied fast and clean when it counted Friday, winning the girls competition in a field of 96 skiers at Friday’s Loveland Valley meet to earn her way to the state meet at Beaver Creek at the end of the month.
“I gave it full beans the whole way and made it down,” Snyder said.
“Full beans?” It’s a fun-loving phrase brought to the team by senior boys team skier River Mentch, who is one of the energetic, vocal leaders of this year’s Tiger bunch. Friday’s bluebird conditions on what Snyder described as soft, crumbly snow on the Loveland groomer — which goes from a wide-open start to turns on a steeper pitch — were ideal to go “full beans.”
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“There’s a lot of space to make your turns,” Snyder said of the slalom course on the Twist intermediate run at Loveland Valley, “so you can really let your skis loose and go fast.”
Snyder combined a first-run time of 47.16 seconds with a second-run time of 49.44 for a winning total time of 1:36.60 — more than two seconds faster than runner-up Jenna Blatchford of Evergreen.
The Tiger girls received top-10 times from junior Olivia Westall (54.63, 53.50, 1:48.13) and sophomore Victoria Uglyar (53.52, 55.29, 1:48.81), who finished ninth and 10th, respectively. Westall earned the team 52 points and Uglyar earned the Tigers 51 points to pair with Snyder’s 60 points for a team total of 163 — just one point behind meet co-winners Evergreen and Steamboat Springs.
The Tigers’ other top finishers at Loveland on Friday were junior Sophia Henry (22nd, 58.64, 1:01.62, 2:00.26), senior Cydney Hurlbert (27th, 58.62, 1:05.01), 2:03.63) and senior Breanna Roach (39th, 1:06.40, 1:08.51, 2:14.91).
For the boys team, Landon Cunningham — a freshman who formerly skied moguls and aerials for Ski Club Vail — has been a surprise standout for Summit in his first year competitively ski racing. On Friday, Cunningham was the second-fastest boys skier for the Tigers, finishing 15th with a total time of 2:00.83 (1:00.42, 1:00.41) on the Loveland Valley course.
Members of the boys and girls team praised Cunningham for his skiing Friday a season after he “retired,” as he said, from moguls due to a serious injury.
“As I kept skiing this season,” Cunningham said, “I kept understanding and I got to the point where everything really clicked for me and then I was able to improve much faster. Just understanding how racing works — delays and flushes and things like that. I’d never heard of that.”
“Today, I mostly focused on finishing,” Cunningham added, “because I saw a lot of people DNF-ed and fell during the run today. I figured if I can at least finish, it’ll set me up for my second run and potentially be able to do better and help the team out.”
Cunningham’s 49 points for the team combined with Mentch’s 22nd-place finish and 47 points (1:07.48, 58.84, 2:06.32). The Tigers also got 56 points from their fastest male skier on the day, Gavin Masters. Masters (53.53, 53.21) finished in fifth place with a combined time of 1:46.74 that included the third-fastest time of any of the 72 boys skiers on the day on his second run.
“Gavin has a positive attitude toward skiing,” Cunningham said. “He really enjoys skiing both for fun and as a team.”
With their 152 points, the Summit boys finished fourth Friday, behind Aspen (177), Steamboat Springs (159), and Durango (153).
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