Steamboat skiers fare well at Telemark championships

“It was really tough there. It’s exciting to see the level of competition at the championships,” Anderson said. “It was also great to see our program, and Steamboat athletes, do so well at this event.”

Anderson highlighted the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s finishes by winning three of the four events including the giant slalom race Thursday, the classic race Friday and the sprint classic, which was held Saturday. He placed second to Cory Snyder, of Franconia, N.H., in Sunday’s dual slalom, but his points were more than enough to earn him the overall national title. Anderson finished with 78 points to beat out Montana skier Reid Sabin. Steamboat’s Charlie Dresen was third in the overall standings, and Jeffrey Gay was fifth.

“It was great to see so many skiers from the Steamboat Springs on the podium,” Anderson said.

Anderson has coached at the club for the past three years but still lists his hometown as Cody, Wyo. He said he was thrilled to have won this year’s national title, a feat he also accomplished two years ago. But he got just as much enjoyment watching some of the program’s other skiers step onto the podium in Montana last weekend.

One of those skiers, Steam­boat’s Erika Walters, also was no stranger to the podium. She won last Thursday’s giant slalom event and the classic Friday in the women’s elite division. Unfortunately, she placed fourth in Saturday’s sprint classic and struggled in the dual slalom race, which was held Sunday. Steamboat’s Madi McKinstrey found the podium with a third-place finish in the sprint classic and then wrapped up the championships with her best finish of the week — a second in the dual slalom. McKinstrey was fourth in both the giant slalom and classic events, and finished fourth in the overall standings. Walters took the early lead for the national title but could not hold off Montana skier Kelsey Schmid-Sommer in the final two races. Schmid-Sommer won the final two events and slipped past Walters in the race for the overall title.

Steamboat, however, did claim the overall national title in the men’s junior 1 and junior 2 divisions thanks to strong showings from Rick Walters and Tanner Visnick.

Walters won the giant slalom, classic and slalom events at last week’s championships. He was second in the classic sprint on Saturday, and also won the overall title in the junior 1 division. His teammate Visnick earned top finishes in the classic, sprint classic and dual slalom events to win the title in the junior 2 group.

“Our program is growing and developing,” Anderson said. “It’s great that we have so many young skiers in our Telemark program in Steamboat Springs. I think we will only get stronger in the future.”

Anderson said he also sees a lot of promise in the program’s other skiers who attended last week’s national championships, including Annecy Hillmuth, Zoe Taylor, Elizabeth Klemer and Aiden Rohde.

— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail