Middle Park High School will host this year's Colorado High School Activities Association State Ski Meet, which will bring the top high school alpine and Nordic skiers from across the state to Winter Park Resort and YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center on Thursday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 15.
Grand County offers an attractive venue for the state championships because the alpine course and the Nordic course are separated only by a 20-minute bus ride and both courses are among the best in the state, if not the country, said Todd Bittner, athletic director and assistant principal at Middle Park High School.
"These kind of events can be complicated," Bittner said. "But Winter Park Resort and the folks at Snow Mountain Ranch have worked in tandem as a unit to do what is best for our students at the high school."
Middle Park High School will have 19 athletes representing the school during the events, with five athletes competing in the alpine events and 14 athletes competing in the Nordic events.
The Giant Slalom events will be held Thursday morning starting at 9 a.m. The course for Giant Slalom will start on Hughes and will continue through the Meadows to Lower Hughes.
The Slalom races will be held Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. The course for the Slalom race will be on Lower Hughes.
Parents and spectators can watch the alpine races for both days from the base of Winter Park Resort
After the alpine race finish each day, competitors and spectators will make the short trip over to Snow Mountain Ranch where the Nordic events will begin at 3:30 p.m. each day.
The women's 5k Freestyle Individual race is set to start at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday with the men's 5k Freestyle Individual races starting at 4:15.
The women's 5k Classic Mass Start race will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and the men's will start at 4:15 p.m.
A banquet awards ceremony will take place after the Nordic events on Friday with awards going to the top individual racers and teams as well as to the top Ski Meisters, or top finishers who race in both the Alpine and the Nordic events.
"Talk about the birth of backcountry skiers," Bittner said about the Ski Meister award.
With the events being held in Grand County this year, MPHS has an opportunity to have a slight leg up on their competition. Recent snowstorms have also provided an ample base for the race courses and snow is expected to fall, though not heavily, during the days of the events.
Much work has put into this event throughout the community, with the Nordic and alpine coaches from MPHS, Dave Zink and Scott Sutcliffe, providing a tremendous amount of logistical support to the large event.
"The school district has been very supportive of the time it has taken to make this a premier event," Bittner said.
Middle Park racers
Rebecca Bolen, Francesca Cuttica, Kelsey Fagen, Allison Freeman, and Lauren Rimmer will be representing MPHS.
Amelia Clancy, Jenna Curran, Rowen Gallagher, Kaylene Loo, Abrah Masterson, Sera Smith, and Elly Zietz will be representing the girls for MPHS, while Kip Dearduff, Daniel Kopp, Logan Miyauchi, Taber Miyauchi, Joe Rupp, Steve Simmons, and Simon Zink will be representing the boys.