Five local ski racers compete at Smartwool series finals

Season drawing to a close

Five local athletes traveled to Winter Park on March 27-30 to race in the Tom Garner Games/Smartwool Finals.



Skylar Kraatz from the Crested Butte Ski Club joined Crested Butte Academy athletes Cole Byron, Annie Ochs, Mick Osmundson and Anthony Romano to race in two giant slaloms, one slalom and a dual slalom held on Sunday.
For athletes 13 and older, every race is a chance to “score,” meaning to lower their points, and the Smartwool Series Finals was a great place to do just that. The biggest challenge for ski racers is, the lower your points become, the harder it is to lower them.
The series started on Thursday with giant slalom and the skies unleashing their March lion. A wet six inches of snow accumulated throughout the day, drenching athletes and coaches just in time for the temperatures to drop and freeze everything.
Lucky for Skylar, she missed Thursday’s race due to her commitment to school and CSAP testing. Mick, wearing the orange Smartwool Finals leader bib, placed 15th, lowering his points by 18. Cole raced to the 43rd position to better than his points by 20. Anthony hit a rut, which popped off his ski not allowing him to finish the race. Annie raced better than her points by 17 to finish 34th overall.
Blue skies emerged for Friday’s GS and Skylar proved her toughness and determination to better her GS points when, in the first run, she went down on her side but was able to get back up on both skis in just enough time to make the next gate and secure herself a second run. Starting at the back of the pack for her second run, Skylar muscled her way through ruts to an overall finish, which bettered her GS standings by 738 points. Annie finished 53rd on Friday. Mick was running into trouble and unable to finish his first run. Anthony put two runs together to finish 71st and Cole had a great day finishing 53rd and bettering his points by 45.
Saturday’s slalom proved very promising for the ladies. Skylar raced both smartly and conservatively which resulted in bettering her slalom points by 110! Annie, starting 61st, had an incredible two runs, which placed her 32nd overall and improving her slalom points by 40. Mick started the day with the orange leader’s bib, but a hike in the first run cost him the overall title. It is impressive that a 14-year old, competing all year against 18 year-olds, could have that orange bib at all—great job, Mick!
Cole put together two solid runs on Saturday to better his slalom points by almost 80. Anthony, even with forgetting to buckle his boots on the first run, had a great day of slalom and raced better than his points by 25. Congratulations to the Gunnison Valley J-3 athletes for a great job this season—you make us proud!
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