Grins, spills all part of Ski Spree
Girls planning to compete in today’s Need for Speed race at Ski Spree at Sunlight Mountain Resort may want to beware the scent of Jasmine.Jasmine Vanthoff has taken the title of fastest female under 13 for three years in a row, and hopes to four-peat today.On Saturday, she looked as if she had her ski legs ready. Jasmine, 11, was the sole female competitor in the youth category of the bumps competition on the Showdown run, and mastered the moguls with ease.”All right, Jas, that was awesome,” her dad, Adriaan, enthused after catching up with her in front of Sunlight’s sundeck. “You made it all the way down without a crash.”That’s more than some of the male entrants could say. At least one was left to gather his gear at the bottom after multiple falls.Jasmine was smiling and keyed up for today’s speed competition. Her fastest speed in past years was 54 mph, when she was 9 and conditions were fast.”I’m going to try to beat my dad; he went 60 mph,” she said.An injury will keep him out of this year’s race, but he’s expecting a great showing from his daughter if the weather remains as nice and sunny as it was Saturday.Brian Long, special events director at Sunlight, said it was a beautiful day for Ski Spree. He praised Jasmine’s performance, and said he also has watched her excel on the climbing wall at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.”She’s always in there at the bouldering contests, tearing it up too. She’s just a budding young mountain athlete,” he said.Competition of different sort Saturday also featured another standout performance by some other repeat Ski Spree champions. Long said Dave Jacobson and Jake Wolfe, competing as Dick Danger and the Pleasure Seeker, posted another strong performance in the cardboard box derby, making it down the Dotsero run in 11.5 seconds in an event that saw about 15 teams enter.Asked how Jacobson and Wolfe do it, Long said, “I think that’s proprietary; it’s secret.”Pressed, he let on that it might have something to do with their race machine not being flat-bottomed. Rather, it had runners covered with tape, the only other material other than cardboard allowed to be used for the sleds.Saturday also featured a slopestyle competition in the terrain park, snowskating, a torchlight parade, and broomball at the Community Center.In addition, some 20 green-jacketed representatives of the White River National Forest were in attendance, as part of what will be a year-long celebration of the 100th birthday of the U.S. Forest Service. Smokey Bear made an appearance, and a display board provided information about the agency’s history. About 75 percent of Sunlight Mountain Resort is on Forest Service land.Forest Service spokeswoman Sue Froeschle said she enjoyed talking to people on the chairlifts about the agency and its role in Colorado’s skiing industry. One woman was amazed when Froeschle told her more skiing occurs in Summit County alone than in all of Utah, she said. Froeschle also helped serve about 200 pieces of Forest Service birthday cake.”I’ve got frosting all over me,” she said.Coming right on the heels of the X Games in Aspen, Ski Spree offers competitors a similar chance to test their skills against the mountain.”That stokes everybody’s internal drive, there’s no doubt about it,” Long said. “But we’d be doing it whether there was an X Games or not.”Ski Spree is a decidedly more low-key, local celebration of winter at Sunlight and in Glenwood Springs.”Usually for this event we see a lot of the same faces we see all season long up here,” Long said. “It’s just they’re grinning a little bigger.”Look for one such grin today on the face of a girl whose helmet bears the name of Jasmine.
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