Krause tandem fares well in Powder 8’s
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BRECKENRIDGE ” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Frosty and Cooper Krause confirmed that old adage Thursday during the 26th annual Colorado Powder 8 Championships at Breckenridge.
After winning a handful of Powder 8’s with event chairman Rick Ascher over the last three decades, Paul “Frosty” Krause opted for a new partner: his son.
“He’s old enough,” Krause said of the 16-year-old Cooper Krause. “He said ‘Dad, I want to do it this year’ and I said okay. I figured I had to pass the torch.”
Team Krause turned some heads Thursday as the first-ever father-son duo to enter the competition, then they turned a few more heads when they qualified as one of four semifinal teams out of a field of 16.
Alas, the Krauses were narrowly outdone in the semis by champions Randy Veeneman and Jim Grotemeyer. Ascher and Ted Chrobak were runners-up.
“I’ve always kind of looked at (the Powder 8’s) because my Dad’s always done it,” Cooper Krause said. “I figured, ‘why not do it with him?’ He usually skis with (Ascher), but I took over this year.”
Team Krause advanced to Thursday’s semifinals despite having little preparation. They’re first practice, in fact, was Wednesday afternoon.
“My dad hasn’t skied since January,” Cooper Krause said. “He was complaining about lactic acid in his legs but he got it out.”
In the mind of Frosty, initiating his son into a local rite of passion is worth a day off from school … as long as it’s earned.
“(Cooper) gets good grades,” Paul Krause said. “That’s the pre-requisite to skip every once in awhile.”
Thursday’s anomalous father-son team faced off in the first semifinal against perennial favorites Veeneman and Grotemeyer. The second semifinal featured Ascher and new partner Chrobak against Vail’s Sofi Soderstrom and Kalina Simeonova.
The five judges presiding over Thursday’s competition found themselves in a tough position following the semifinal round.
“We scored it out of 100 points,” judge Josh Galvin said. “Even though there’s five of us and we score differently, it still shook out pretty close.”
Galvin should know what it takes to look good in the Powder 8s. He won the inaugural event 26 years ago with fellow-Breck ski patroller Butch Peel.
According to Galvin, the judge’s evaluation criteria included synchronization, adaptability, dynamic skiing, roundness of turns and symmetry.
With the competition’s relative lack of powder, residual tracks were a non factor. This year’s bone-dry event, which took place underneath Breck’s new Imperial chairlift, seemed ironic to some.
“We had the best winter ever and all of a sudden there’s no snow,” Ascher said.
Soderstrom and Simeonova took second place in their first Powder 8’s at Breck.
The pair of ski instructors has had quite a winter since they decided to hook up as 8’s partners back in December.
The duo took second place at this year’s Powder 8’s U.S. Nationals in Aspen, qualifying them for the last week’s World Championships in British Columbia, Canada. Sweden’s Soderstrom and Bulgaria’s Simeonova left Canada after advancing as far as the quarterfinal round.
“I’ve always wanted to do this but I never thought I was good enough,” Simeonova said. “Now we practice every morning.”
The newly successful 8s skiers decided to enter Thursday’s competition on a whim.
“We just found out about it when we got back from Canada,” Soderstrom said. “We called (Ascher) this morning and said we were coming.”
Ascher and Chrobak finished third in front of Paul and Cooper Krause in fourth. Ascher won last year’s competition with Tom Riggins.
Brothers Mike and Todd Saemisch of Littleton fell short of the semifinals after qualifying for them the past three years. They started competing in the Powder 8’s in 1986.
“It makes us feel old to see people’s sons coming into the contest,” Todd Saemisch said. “But it’s also good to get some new blood out here.”
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