Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Ski Patrol capitalized on its French connection in Winter Park on Wednesday and came home from the 2010 Colorado Pro Ski Patrol Convention with the second-place trophy.
Steamboat dominated the giant slalom race with a one-two finish by John “Pink” Floyd and Charlie Reynolds, and a first-place finish by Paula Lepporoli in the women’s race. But Steamboat exchange patroller Fabrice Goudeau gave Steamboat an edge, capturing the grueling King of the Mountain Race over Duncan Robinson, of Vail.
Winter Park captured the team standings, and Vail was a distant third. Other professional ski patrols that participated included Wolf Creek, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Copper Mountain.
Steamboat’s Kyle Lawton put the finishing touches on Steamboat’s performance, placing third in the obstacle course, avalanche beacon search and King of the Mountain. Goudeau added a second place in the obstacle course competition. Ryan Thompson tied for second in the bamboo toss — flinging the equivalent of a patroller’s spear from a chairlift at targets on the snow.
The King of the Mountain competition is a Randonee ski race that requires the athletes to skate and sometimes jog to the top of Mary Jane at Winter Park and then race down steep chutes and mogul runs.
“I’m blown away,” Steamboat Ski Patrol Director John Kohnke said. “I had no idea Fabrice was that fit. I guess (Randonee races) are big in Europe.”
Floyd, whose age is north of 40, continues to dominate the event that is closest to an Olympic Alpine event.
“He’s one of the smoothest skiers I’ve ever seen, and he takes good care of himself,” Kohnke said.
Assistant Ski Patrol Director Wes Richey said Lepporoli is another 20-year-plus veteran of the Steamboat Ski Patrol who continues to out-ski younger women.
Kohnke said that while front-line ski patrollers competed for bragging rights in Winter Park, he and other ski patrol directors were conferring on more weighty maters.
Turnover on ski patrols is cyclical, Kohnke said.
“We usually go for years without much turnover and then one year you have a bunch,” he said. “One of the great things about Colorado ski areas is that although we compete for skiers, when it comes down to operations, everyone is so nice about sharing best practices. We talked about sharing best practices on bringing new patrollers up to speed.”