Image Credit: Susie Theis

The annual Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic brings top collegiate and FIS athletes from the Across the country to Steamboat Springs for holiday racing on Thursday, December 20th through Saturday, December 22nd. Featuring an exciting evening race at the oldest continuously operating ski area in the United States, complete with Santa Claus himself forerunning the course down Howelsen Hill’s face, as well as three days of high intensity slalom racing and a larger cash prize purse than any other divisional race in Colorado, the Holiday Classic is a highlight for both spectators and participating athletes.

This year’s cash purse is the top FIS level cash purse in the country and the longest running cash prize of any FIS race in the country. Such a large sum will add increased incentive and draw in even more racers than previous years, with nearly double the award money from last year’s $9,000 purse to $16,000, provided by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s partnership with the T2 Foundation and thanks to the work and fundraising efforts by co-chairs Chris Puckett and David Baldinger Jr.

“T2 is thrilled to be supporting the Holiday Classic again this year. Racing for cash always makes for an exciting race, but we’re also happy to be helping support athletes. It’s a win, win for us,” said Marina Knight, T2 Foundation Director.

Locally, Fleischer Sport, Edward Jones, Sotheby’s Realty, Emich Volkswagen, Integrated Water, Alpine Bank, Peter Daly, and Steamboat Pilates and Fitness have generously contributed to the athlete cash purses as well.

The incentive of prize money also serves to bring out local college racers who are home for the holidays, with $2,000 awarded to 1st place winners, $1,000 to second place, $500 for third place, $125 for 4th and 5th place, and $250 for the top U19 finisher.

“The Holiday Classic started out as a way to give back more reward to the racers with Prize Money,” said Chris Puckett, local Olympian and co-chair. “We hoped it would draw better racing and bigger crowds. It has exceeded our expectations. We are getting amazing competition, and families can bring their aspiring young racers down to watch some of the best slalom racing that happens in the country all year. We are very proud of how big the race has become, and the fact that the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic is frequently referred to as the favorite race of many racer’s careers.”

“Due to tremendous volunteer effort, we’ve hit record setting prize money goals,” said Adam Chadbourne, Alpine Director of SSWSC. “The Roberts Family has also set up a generous scholarship fund in memory of their son Murphy, for whom the race is named.”

The annual Murphy Roberts Award is an additional scholarship presented at the evening awards ceremony following the night race. Criteria for the scholarship will narrow it down to one athlete who best demonstrates a passion for alpine ski racing while selflessly providing a level of enthusiasm, fun, and team participation: traits of the late Murphy Roberts, a former SSWSC alpine athlete who passed away unexpectedly in 2016 at the age of 22.

“The Holiday Classic is a truly magical event: It brings together aspiring young racers and elite athletes under the lights of Howelsen Hill to participate in both a high level of competition, but also a sense of belonging and community,” said Murphy’s family. “Murphy grew up watching the state and country’s best racers gather in Steamboat to race the Holiday Classic each year, and eventually participated in it for many years. The scholarship given at this race seeks to recognize an athlete in the race that embodies the type of ski racer Murphy was – an athlete as wholly devoted to his or her teammates as they are devoted to their own results. The Roberts Family hopes that this scholarship and race will continue to encourage athletes to push one another and cheer loudly – just as Murphy would.”

Scholarship entries must be turned in by December 18th to be eligible for the award. To ender, please click here.

Trophies are awarded to the top overall finisher and top U19 finisher for the Dec 21-22 races combined using World Cup points. There is a complimentary Champions Dinner for past Holiday Classic winners and the NJR race winners on December 20th. Contact Dave Baldinger at david.baldinger@steamboatsir.com to RSVP.

Races will all take place on the face of Howelsen Hill. The second run of the iconic night slalom will start at 5:30pm on December 21. The first runs start around 1:00pm. The races on Saturday, December 22, kick off at 9:00am. The junior race on December 20 also starts at 9:00am. “We are excited to show off our wonderful hometown hill and all of Ski Town USA,” said Chadbourne.

For additional information and a full schedule of events, please click here. Be part of the online conversation using #SteamboatMurphyRobertsHC.

Release Courtesy of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

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