Powder hounds ditch the race | VailDaily.com

Powder hounds ditch the race

J.K. Perry
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyPowder fans had no qualms about ditching U.S. skier Daron Ralves and the men's World Cup giant slalom race for some turns on the fresh snow Saturday.

BEAVER CREEK – Can you blame skiers and riders for ditching the race Saturday to get some turns in the foot of snow that fell on Beaver Creek the past two days?Indeed many Beav’ powder hounds knew the races were over at the Birds of Prey, but they couldn’t help themselves.”I’ve seen it before,” Keezo Pancoast said. “I’m not gonna go cheer for skiers in tight pants when there’s a foot of powder.”The closest Pancoast and his buddy Eric Fenster got to the race were a few stashes of powder next to the race course. Fenster said he wanted to see the race, but the conditions overrode that notion.”The skiing is too good,” Fenster said over a couple beers at McCoy’s Cafeteria.To boost attendance, Fenster said race officials could improve advertising. He wouldn’t need any cowbells or whistles to get him to the race, “It’s just a great ski day.”Stephanie Leija wanted to check out the race because she’d never seen one in person. Not badly enough to leave the powder.

“We we’re going to try but never did,” Leija said. “The snow is too good.”Getting to the race was another problem. Leija said the race information she got when she arrived at Beaver Creek could have been better. The info didn’t tell her where or when the races were. She said she also didn’t see any signs.There were signs pointing the way, but they should have been hot pink, rather than drab brown to grab people’s attention, Jess Stone said. She also suggested ski racing officials make events more like their rowdier snowboard counterpart competitions.”They’re so fun,” Stone said. “They get the crowd involved.” Still, she said seeing Saturday’s race would have been somewhat interesting.”It’d be cool to see, but it’s not like ‘Ski racing! Ski racing!’ ” she said as she threw her arms in the air.Rob Martin and Tracy Smith traveled from Glenwood Springs to hunt the elusive powder. They weren’t about to give it up for the race.”We didn’t even know about it,” Martin said. “We just knew the snow was good.”

Martin said newspapers in his area could have done a better job of letting people know about the race.Just because a person skis, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would want to go to a race. “Some sports you might do them, but not watch,” Smith said.Kim Goscha doesn’t follow racing. Besides, the Denver resident said she doesn’t get to Beaver Creek enough to spend a day at the race.”Even if I knew about it I wouldn’t have gone,” she said. “We’re up here for the friends and the partying.””We were just coming up to ride,” friend Heather Beckey said. “We knew it was going on but weren’t sure of the specifics. The only reason I knew about it was because my professor was going to be up here.”I thought it would be busier,” Beckey said. “I was a little worried about it.”Approximately 3,500 people attended the Giant Slalom race on Saturday.

On the Rose Bowl Lift, Michael Calkins was content during his first day on the mountain this year. Getting to the Birds of Prey course would have been a hassle, he said.”It’s just not one of my priorities to go see the race,” he said. “I’m not a huge downhill fan. I snowboard so to me it’s not quite as thrilling.”Saturday was Kim Ehley’s first day snowboarding in powder. She chose to improve her riding rather than hit the race.”I’m being selfish,” she said.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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