The Lake County High School Alpine ski team competed in its first race of the season at Loveland Ski Area last Friday, Jan. 7. The late arrival of winter this year resulted in a field full of athletes with little to no time skiing gates, with the Panthers as no exception.

“Very few of our athletes have gotten to ski Giant Slalom yet this year between the late snow arrival and then the holiday break. Luckily, we’ve been getting some time in gates training Slalom by hiking at Dutch Henry Hill, so we’ve gotten some training in,” said coach Danielle Ryan. The Lake County High School (LCHS) Alpine team is made up of skiers from Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida.

The girls team was led by senior Gwen Ramsey with a ripping second place finish after the first run, placing third overall for the day. Ramsey was followed by junior Rowynn Slivka in 15th place and Leadville sophomores Kiera King and Avery Milne in 40th and 49th places respectively. A pack of Panther skiers followed with Maya Nagel finishing 55th, Susie Bullock 63rd, Clara Kirr 65th, Lilly Leddington 66th, Amara Olsen 80th, Indigo Olsen 83rd and Catie Morgan 85th.

Gemma Nagel had a fast first run until she crashed in a compression. Tal Sheleg also skied well until she skied out on the steep pitch. Many of the athletes improved their times and placements between their first and second runs with Susie Bullock and Catie Morgan, both freshmen, skiing a full second faster on the rutted second run course.

The Panther boys were led by junior Matt Cairns, who skied his first Giant Slalom gates since February of last year, finishing 11th overall. Troy Baker raced to a 48th place finish and Raymond Harvey crossed the finish line in 54th place.  Teammate Brady Potts skied out early due to an equipment malfunction.

“We had our ups and downs, but considering the lack of training time we’ve had so far this season, overall the kids skied well and went for it,” said coach Kurt Glaser.

The Panthers qualified three athletes — Gwen Ramsey, Rowynn Slivka and Matthew Cairns — for the state championship Giant Slalom at last Friday’s event. The next race for LCHS will take place at Eldora on Jan. 14.

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