Strategy on the slopes

There are skiers, racing skiers, and then there are Skiercrossers.

I like going fast and going over the jumps and stuff. It's a freedom involved that there's different lines you can take and everybody will take the course different, said Peter Palumbo.

Palumbo is a sophomore at Saratoga Springs High School and from April 9 to 12, he spend his days on a Colorado mountain competing in the USASA Ski Nationals.

"It was fun and fun to meet new people and in Colorado, the mountains are so different that it was really fun to have a bit more challenging skiing and the snow was better," said Palumbo.

Palumbo competed in the Skiercross event as a member of the high school's Alpine Ski Team, traveling with junior Joshua Nixon. Skiercross is similar to downhill ski racing except with obstacles built into the course and multiple skiers simultaneously navigating the route.

"There's usually four or six people on the course and it will range in distance but there's usually gates and rollers and jumps and stuff in the middle and obstacles that you have to figure out how to take and get by and a lot of turns," said Palumbo.

Finding a strategy to master the course"whether that's jumping over bumps or absorbing them"isn't the hardest part of Skiercross.

"The biggest obstacle is the other people on the course," said Palumbo. "It's accident prone and you really have to know how to handle yourself and get around people and make sure that you don't hook skis and crash."

The event might seem more hardcore than regular ski racing, but Palumbo said it's actually a little friendlier of a sport.

"Racing is a little more competitive but in Skiercross everybody is on the course at the same time and you have to be friendlier to make sure nobody's really out to get you and take you out when you're on the course," said Palumbo. "You have to think of what the other people are doing and where they're going so you don't cross paths and crash."

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