While the older ski racers have been tearing up the slopes for a couple months now, the Juneau Ski Club's younger athletes got their chance to compete Saturday.
Twenty-five youth racers took to Eaglecrest Ski Area's Sourdough run on Saturday in the Silver Surfer Giant Slalom, the first event of the Juneau Ski Club's three-race Youth Ski League.
It was the first event for the JSC's Mitey Mites, a group of 7- to 12-year-old skiers.
"I'm pleased with the kids we have," said Mike Satre, JSC Mitey Mite coordinator and developmental coach. "Our goal is to have a really big youth program because that's the basis for the future. It's a great crowd we have and they're excited about ski racing and they're looking forward to building on that for next year."
Ryan Moritz captured first place in the Mitey Mite men's division, finishing his two runs with a combined time of 1 minute, 8.29 seconds. Moritz nipped second-place finisher Nathan Klein by a scant .25 seconds.
In the Mitey Mite girls division, Zoey McDonald won with a combined time of 1:15.94.
Saturday's races were the first for the Mitey Mites since they started training four weeks ago.
In addition to the Mites, there were men's and women's developmental races. The DEVO program, for 9- to 12-year-old racers, is a step up in competition from the Mite program.
Elia Romanoff won the boys race in a time of 1:05.48 while Hava Rohloff captured the girls title in 58.81 seconds.
There were also to J4 races for the Juneau Ski Clubs more experienced racers.
"What they do is that you start as a Mitey Mite, and if you want to commit more time you go to the DEVO program," Satre said. "The J4 are really skilled athletes and they're up there training starting on Friday afternoons and going all weekend."
Ezekial "ZJ" Rohloff completed his two runs in 49.75 seconds for first place while Nicole Stangeland won the girls race in 53.91.
The next youth races will take place March 17.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org