Carrying on the local tradition
The 28th annual Prater Cup came to a close Sunday, February 24, with the Nation Teams’ closing ceremony. The Nations’ flags snaked down Buckley and lined up near the finish, while the crowd hollered and clapped for an awesome week of racing. This is what the Prater Cup is all about; team camaraderie, good sportsmanship and the love of ski racing.
Bill Sweitzer took on the Prater Cup wholeheartedly 28 years ago. He was the timing and results guru of the day. He kept track of all the J4 racers in Colorado and put their results down in a ledger, as they raced throughout the year. He didn’t have a computer to automatically sort the results; he did it by hand and would update it every week. This is how he came up with the Nation Team idea. He sorted through each racer and assigned them to a Nation, hoping that each team would be equal, with all skiing abilities.
Having the Nation Teams in place, each team is assigned points on how they finish in the races; showing good sportsmanship; lending a helping hand, etc. What a great way to get kids together and learn about teamwork, when ski racing is such an individual sport.
We are so proud to carry on this tradition to this day. Prizes were awarded to the top four Nation Teams this year. Sweden won the overall points, which included Josie Byron and Morgan Hamilton. Luxembourg came in 2nd place, which included Nicky Romano and Tristan Kraatz. The winning team won a pair of skis, and the second-place team won a pair of goggles. These prizes were compiled by Stephanie Prater and were donated by a plethora of sponsors.
This year’s Prater Cup consisted of 86 women and 115 men from the Rocky Mountain Region. These fine athletes competed in one Super G race, two Giant Slalom races and two Slalom races. Mother Nature blessed us for most of the week, but unleashed her fury on the final day of racing, with wind and white out conditions. These athletes mustered through the last day, proving they can overcome any adversity. Everyone was racing for a Junior Olympic spot, which consisted of 31 women and 43 men. The Rocky/Central J4 Junior Olympics will be held in Winter Park on March 18-22.
Crested Butte had 11 athletes compete, which included Josie Byron, Lizzy Curvin, Morgan Hamilton, Ali McGuire, Hannah Watt-Sax, Alec Button, Meed Geary, Solon Gray, Nicolas Koch, Tristan Kraatz and Nicky Romano. We are so proud of all of these athletes!
There was stiff competition this year, and these guys proved that they are definitely among the best. As coaches, we want the best for these athletes and want everyone to make the Junior Olympics. Four Crested Butte athletes did qualify for the J.O.s. Congratulations to Josie Byron, Lizzy Curvin, Hannah Watt-Sax and Nicky Romano!
This week, the J4s who did not qualify for the J.O.s, will be competing at the Council Cup in Ski Cooper. This race will take the overall winner of the women and men to the J.O.s. This last chance qualifier not only offers another chance to make it to the J.O.s, but allows these athletes to improve and gain more experience in the racing arena.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who makes the Prater Cup possible year after year! We couldn’t have done it without any of you and know that you are truly appreciated.