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Skiing: Nederland ready to face ‘different’ season

Snow conditions, later start and less races will present challenges

NEDERLAND – Like almost literally everything else, the high school ski season in Colorado will be quite different than any other year.

The season will start later and teams will compete in roughly half the number of races they normally would. Snow conditions could be significantly different as a result and limits placed on the number of race-day competitors will force racers to pick and choose their events. Even the state championships themselves won’t have the same feel.

But high school skiing in Colorado has long been a welcoming community, and racers at least on the Nederland squad are happy they will still get to experience that in Season B.

“It totally is going to be a very different season,” Panthers sophomore Maz Finch said. “We’ve already seen that in the one race we’ve has so far. There was like a third of the field we would normally have but it’s still fun. It’s still a community even without the big huddles and other activities. High school skiing really is like a family and we’re just happy that we’ll be able to ski.”

Like Finch, who attends New Vista High School in Boulder, athletes from schools across the Boulder County area come together each winter to compete for Nederland.

That confluence of local skiing talent allowed the Nederland girls team to finish 10th overall at state last season, led by Emily Creek’s seventh-place finish in the giant slalom. The Panthers boys team finished seventh, with Max Lynch placing seventh in the slalom.

Many local skiers are also grateful for a chance to improve on last year’s finishes, both as a team and individually. Parker Newby, a senior at Nederland, is one of them after he fell during last year’s state slalom event and dislocated several ribs.

“I think the team evolves every year,” Newby said. “Obviously, we always lose seniors but at the same time, we always get freshmen coming in. This year, we have a really strong group on incoming freshman. Hopefully, we’ll have a great upcoming season this year.”

The season is already underway, though it began around the time Colorado’s skiers would be gearing up for the season’s home stretch in a normal year. The Panthers also have their home meet at Eldora this Friday and are working on scheduling another. And as grateful the Panthers are to simply have a season at all, they certainly expect to be a competitive group and to see just how far their collective talent will take them in Season B.

“We have some really good athletes in both Nordic and alpine this year so I’m looking forward to states and seeing what we can do,” Finch said.