Top 11-12 year olds coming to town
More than 200 junior alpine ski racers are expected to compete in the 29th annual Dan Prater Memorial C13up, February19-22 at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
The Prater Cup is a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) J4 Championship event for athletes age 11-12 and a qualifier for the Rocky Central Junior Olympics at Winter Park March 18-22.
The event originated in 1980 in memory of local ski club promoter Dan Prater, a Wichita, Kansas man who fell in love with Crested Butte in the early 1970s, moved here and devoted much of his free time and financial support to helping the junior ski racers compete on the regional racing circuit.
For the last 29 years, first as a J4 Championships and then as a Junior Olympic event, the Prater Cup has been the most celebrated race in the Rocky Mountain region for J4 racers.
“The kids take this race very seriously, because if they don’t do well here, their season could be almost over,” said Steve Hamilton, chief of race.
Local skiers Summit Wallace, Tristan Kraatz, Derek Shomler, Ansley Potoker and Levi Kinateder will compete for a berth to the Junior Olympics.
“I think we’ve had some great preparation the past month,” says Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team director Drew Cesati. “They have a good opportunity to stuff some results on their home hill and get to the Junior Olympics.”
The event opens with a Super G training day on Thursday, February 19. Super G races will be held on Friday starting at 10 a.m. with the course starting on International, continuing on Championship and ending on Buckley at the base of the West Wall Lift.
Slalom and GS races will be on both Saturday and Sunday on Championship and Buckley starting at 9 a.m.
The event is also a great opportunity for socializing and sportsmanship with the country team awards (a Prater tradition) created by the late Bill Sweitzer.
The kids are divided into teams upon arrival and not only compete with race results but must also show good sportsmanship, do good deeds and help others while they are here to be rewarded with great prizes that Dan’s daughter, Stephanie Prater, receives from the ski industry.
First place will receive roller bags from Salomon; second place will receive Oakley goggles; third place will take home Smith goggles; and fourth place will get Spyder backpacks.
This approach helps build long-lasting relationships and supports the whole “Team Spirit” aspect of things. The community and the Prater family help make this event extra special by donating money for the event t-shirts and Red Lady Realty, the Garcia family, Lobar, McGills, Artesanos and Maxwells provide a wonderful barbecue on Saturday for the racers, parents and coaches. Thanks to all the local business, Crested Butte Ski Club and CBMR for all the support. Come out and watch the Crested Butte kids rip it up.