Local athletes skied to winning results in early season event

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) hosted two days of giant slalom FIS racing on Golden Peak Thursday and Friday. The GS Holiday Classic is a new event the ski club intends to make an annual tradition. It is designed to precede and complement the long-standing slalom iteration of the Holiday Classic held every year on Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill.

The National Junior Race attracted some of the top junior athletes from around the Rocky Mountain Region. Current and former SSCV athletes, several of which have graduated onto the NCAA racing circuit, skied to solid results on their home hill in this early-season event.

“The reason behind this particular event is, Steamboat for a long time has hosted a wonderful event called the Holiday Classic, which is three slaloms,” said SSCV Chief of Race PJ Jenick. “And it’s a great event right in front of Christmas.”

While this year’s Holiday Classic overlapped with a NorAm in Nakiska, that isn’t always going to be the case, so the level of competition could be even greater in future seasons.

“Overall, it will be a very complimentary event added to the overall program ahead of the Holiday Classic up in Steamboat,” said Jenick. “We’ll do the early portion, GS. They’ll do the second portion, slalom, and then there’s a Christmas break for everybody. They’ll get a lot of racing in, and points are available.”

Racing kicked off on Thursday with SSCV claiming 10 of the top 20 spots on the women’s side. The club was led by Cleo Braun who cracked the podium in second place, followed by Kendahl Roufa and Ava Sunshine Jemison tied for fifth. On the men’s side Thursday, SSCV alum now racing for Colby College Tucker Strauch led the local contingent in second place. SSCV’s Wyatt Hall was next best in sixth.

On Friday, Strauch earned the overall win, joined on the podium by Fletcher Holm in second, a great result for his birth year (2002). Max Bervy was next best for local racers in sixth place. In the women’s race, SSCV dominated earning eight of the top 15 spots. The club was led by Daisi Daniels, who tied for first, and Roufa, who joined her on the podium in third. Kaitlyn Harsch, an SSCV alum now racing for the University of Colorado, cracked the top 5, followed Gabriella Holm, Jemison, Carissa Cassidy, and Hannah Soria in the top 10.