Freestyle skiers travel to Steamboat for competition

— The best freestyle skiers in the Rocky Mountain Division will come to Steamboat Springs this weekend to compete in aerial, halfpipe and mogul competitions.

"We should have between 85 and 95 skiers here for these events," Winter Sports Club coach Erik Skinner said. "We had training yesterday, which was a lot of fun, so we are expecting a pretty good time."

The events will get started today at the Steamboat Ski Area as 30-40 of the region's top aerial skiers go to work. Skinner said the aerial competition will feature upright tricks, but some of the skiers were already testing some new school maneuvers in training Thursday.

Training for that event will begin at 9 a.m. and the competition should start at 10:15 a.m.

The halfpipe at Howelsen Hill will light up with action Friday evening as the freestyle skiers get underway.

Training is scheduled to run from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. The actual competition will start at 4:15 p.m.

The skiing action will return to Mount Werner on Saturday and Sunday with two different mogul events.

The junior mogul skiers (ages 13-18) will compete on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

Sunday's event will be open and could include many of Steamboat's top-ability skiers and a few U.S. Ski Team athletes looking for something to do during the holiday break.

Skinner did say that a few of the local top dogs will be missing -- those skiers are at NorAm events this week.

"We should have about 45 local skiers competing this weekend," Skinner said. "Steamboat is always one of the most popular stops in the Rocky Mountain Division -- and I don't think this year will be any different."

Steamboat will host another Rocky Mountain Division meet on Jan. 24-26 and the Junior Olympics are scheduled to take place March 3-9.

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