DURANGO — On a snowy opening day of the 2019 state skiing championships at Purgatory Resort, the weather played a definite factor as Giant Slalom and Nordic events carried on.
Leading in total points after day one, Battle Mountain girls (340 points) and Aspen boys (338 points) head into the final day with confidence and points on their side.
Despite the postponement of the Slalom round Thursday — it will be held Friday at 9 a.m. at Chapman Hill — and the last-minute change of just one lone run of the GS, these two dominant programs didn't struggle to rack-up numbers.
Winning the GS by one point, Battle Mountain's girls recorded 171 total as three racers finished in the top seven of the contest: No. 2 Gretchen Pavelich, No. 3 Berit Frischholz and No. 7 Kiana Brausch.
Aspen, nipping at their heels, placed three in the first eight, including the leader, Levyn Thomas (39.61 seconds). Both groups found themselves far ahead of the rest of the teams: Steamboat (143), Summit (140) and Vail Mountain (136).
As for the boys, three teams in the Giant Slalom were neck and neck (and neck) of each other.
With a two-way tie atop the leaderboard, Battle Mountain and Vail Mountain both recorded 167 behind six skiers combined on the two teams in the top 12.
For Battle Mountain: Will Bettenhausen (3rd, 40.37), Max Timm (4th, 40.73) and Dominik Lettovsky (10th, 42.47) led the Huskies.
With a competition-best time of 39.81, Shane Cole, along with Robert Harnick (5th, 41.28) and Cole Pattison (12th, 42.75) had their squad right in the thick of things all day.
In third, and only a point back, Aspen, hoping to reclaim their title as boys champion liked their chances with nine of the top 18 performers on Thursday.
The Skiers were headlined by Trey Thorpe (2nd, 40.34), Noah Forman and Charlie Olsen (tied for 7th, 41.62). Fourth and fifth place in the event went to Nederland (148 points) and Middle Park (131 points)
Switching over to Nordic and the 5 Kilometer Classic, the girls of Battle Mountain found themselves atop of the leaderboard behind second, third and ninth-place finishes from Grace Johnson, Liz Harding and Naomi Harding with times of 19:27, 19:49 and 20:25 respectively.
Winning the event and dominating in doing so, Tai-Lee Smith of Summit recorded an impressive time of 19:14 to help her squad hang in at third-place with 157 points.
In second Aspen (No. 6 Emma Barsness and No. 7 Eva McDonough top finishers), recorded 158 points on the afternoon as seven of the first 20 to cross the finish line were Skiers.
Rounding out the top five in team points in Nordic No. 4 Steamboat (145 points) and No. 5 Durango.
In the boys team category of the Nordic, Aspen finds themselves with a 14-point lead with 172 points and eight skiers in the top 21 slots.
Winning the race, Vail Mountain’s Cameron Wolfe edged out Aspen’s Everett Olson by a toe length as both competitors finished with a time of 16:01.
Coming in third, Aspen’s Colt Whitley finished with a time of 16:06 as Durango’s Logan Moore and Middle Park’s Tyler Scholl rounded out the top five with times of 16:32 and 16:47, respectively.
As a group, Middle Park snuck its way into the No. 2 spot in the event despite only Scholl and Sebastian Brower making the first 13 slots.
Host team Durango finished third with 153 points, followed by Summit (147) and Battle Mountain (136).
The championships will resume at 9 a.m. Friday at Chapman Hill with the Slalom event. The two-day festivities will wrap up with Nordic once again at Purgatory Resort starting at 3 p.m.