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Wild Rumpus Sports

Despite Challenges, ‘Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener’ Debuts Dec. 9

Blowing snow at the Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, Minnesota, in advance of the first annual Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener on Saturday, Dec. 9.

By Andrea Potyondy-Smith

Mother Nature has not been kind to cross country skiers of the Midwest so far this year. ABR (Active Backwoods Retreat) in Ironwood, Michigan, looked to be off to a good start, but rain over the Thanksgiving weekend shut down operations indefinitely. There has been no measurable snow that’s lasted anywhere near the American Birkebeiner trail, much less the Minneapolis metro area. Yet despite the snow drought, Three Rivers Park District of Minneapolis will be forging on with its first-ever Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener.

This event was the brainchild of Paul Erikson, who works for the district as development manager, and Karl Huemiller, the district’s volunteer and donor relations supervisor. The idea was to bring to nordic skiing something activities like hunting and fishing currently have: an “official” opener. Three Rivers already offers Rennet Activities at Hyland Park in Bloomington, Minnesota, in January, so the idea was, according to Bruce Bolduan, park operations supervisor, to “have an event prior in the season to kind of bring people out and explore the sport of cross-country skiing … both to celebrate the sport and introduce it to people.”

Though there will be snowboard and downhill lessons in progress during the Opener, the event is truly focused on nordic skiing, with free rentals and passes to participants. Activities will be held solely at Elm Creek Park. Though Hyland Park also has a snow-making loop for cross-country, Bolduan feels Elm Creek’s building and facilities offer benefits Hyland does not.

The park started snowmaking earlier this year, only to have a two-week stretch of warm weather in late November shut it down with a scant 1.2-kilometer loop for skiers to use. With rain pattering outside the building’s window and 50+ degree temps on Dec. 4, Bolduan spoke about holding the event on Dec. 9.

“We chose … a day where we felt fairly confident we would have the ski trails open by, and luckily, we have some cold temps coming this week so we can work on the trails,” he said. “[The weather] shouldn’t be an issue. I have 100 percent confidence we’re going to have ski trails open this weekend. I just don’t know what distance.”

Currently, the plan is to shut down the short loop that’s open to make snow essentially around the clock until the opener.

About 35 vendors and ski organizations will be at the opener, with seminars on the hour, every hour—from waxing and fitting skis, to what goes into the process of snowmaking. Major local shops like Pioneer Midwest, Finn Sisu and Gear West will be on hand, sharing their expertise and helping to promote enthusiasm for the sport.

The dearth of snow this season has made a lot of Minnesota’s skiers a little cranky; it is hard to get excited about the sport when one looks out the window only to see brown grass and rain-soaked asphalt. But, though the weather has not been very cooperative for the Midwest’s cross-country ski population over the past few years, it is clear that devotees are determined to keep its spirit alive by the creation of an official opener — weather be darned — and a lot of help from Three Rivers Park District.

More information:

Deep Fields, Fast Competition Highlight NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic

Harvard’s Chris O’Brien heads out of the start gate at the NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic on Oct. 7 in Jericho, Vt. (Photo: Liam John)

UVM racers dominate men’s and women’s open races

By Adam Terko

This past Saturday, Oct. 7, nearly 100 racers from all over New England and New York converged on the rollerski track in Jericho, Vermont, for the NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic presented by Mansfield Nordic Club and Ethan Allen Biathlon Club.

Another event in a string of area rollerski races that began with NENSA’s App Gap Challenge in July and the NYSEF Climb to the Castle in September, this race wound competitors through the twisting corners and steep hills of Vermont’s only paved rollerski trails. U16 racers competed in a 6 k individual start race, followed by open men’s and women’s races over 10 k.

The U16 categories were won by local Mansfield Nordic Club skiers Aidan Burt and Magdalena Lelito, respectively. Both Burt and Lelito train and race with MNC and are more than familiar with the climbs, curves, and descents of the rollerski track at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site.

After her race, Lelito was excited to see a summer and fall of hard work paying off.

Middlebury skiers Alex Lawson (52) and Cate Brams (53) mid-race at the NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic on Oct. 7 in Jericho, Vt. (Photo: Liam John)

“I felt great during the race,” she said. “The intervals we do during practice really help, and I felt stronger knowing the course and how to ski aggressively…I like the experience of racing before the winter season because I get a good idea of what to improve on before the real deal.”

The 10 k races featured deep fields, and a mix of both junior, collegiate and masters competitors. Attendance from EISA schools like University of Vermont (UVM), Middlebury, Bowdoin, Harvard, and St. Michaels gave the event the feeling of a big winter race without the snow, with familiar faces and rivalries playing out throughout the day.

In both races, UVM left a strong impression on the results sheet. The Catamount women swept positions 1-4, while the men placed 1-6.

UVM sophomore and northern Vermont native Bill Harmeyer won the men’s race with an 18.1-second margin over teammate Juri Miosga. Another Catamount, senior Cully Brown, rounded out the podium in third.

UVM skiers Bill and Henry Harmeyer power toward the finish line at the NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic on Oct. 7 in Jericho, Vt. (Photo: Liam John)

“Awesome to have NENSA and my home club, MNC, put together a stellar event. It’s not everyday you get 100 skiers together during the fall to throw down,” remarked Harmeyer. “Really nice to have an event to remind myself what it feels like to go fast wearing a bib. Also reassuring to know that the fitness is there, and I’m looking forward to transferring that to snow soon!”

In the women’s race one of the newest members of the Catamount roster, Evelina Sutro, finished atop the podium. Sutro edged UVM teammate and 2017 All-American Alayna Sonnesyn by a scant 3.7 seconds, while third place went to Margie Freed, also representing UVM.

The only non-UVM skier to finish in the top-five in either of the 10 k races was Harvard’s Tegan Thorley, who raced to fifth in the women’s event.

NENSA’s Competitive Programs Director Justin Beckwith was in attendance to help with the running of the event, and also to observe the atmosphere and competitions.

“We are excited to see such strong participation from throughout New England and New York,” remarked Beckwith. “The fall classic had the distinct feel of a ski race and the camaraderie of the teams is healthy for our Nordic community. This was a great opportunity for several college teams to get in a hard effort and for junior skiers to run elbows with some of their peers and role models.”

Results and timing, courtesy of EABC and TrembleBach Timing, can be found at,, and below.

Fall Rollerski Classic 2017 Results

For additional photos, please visit the following galleries:

Fall Classic photos by Carl + Dave Priganc

Fall Classic photos by Liam John

For those looking to view or compete in more rollerski races before the snow flies, consider NENSA’s Elite Invitational rollerski race and winter kickoff party on November 4th, or the NY State Rollerski Championships presented by HURT Nordic on November 12th.

U16 athletes Aidan Burt, Ali Priganc and Magda Lelito take in the scene during the open races at the NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic on Oct. 7 in Jericho, Vt. (Photo: Liam John)


To submit a recap of a regional event, please email

Longtime BEA Executive Director Husaby Steps Down

Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) staff

(Press release)

The Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) Board of Directors announced today that Ben Husaby, its founding Executive Director, has decided to step down from his position after eight years of leading the organization. BEA is a Bend-based non-profit organization that offers kids the opportunity to learn, play, compete, and explore the outdoors through their participation in endurance sports. Under Husaby’s direction, BEA has grown to serve nearly 1,000 participants annually in programs ranging from play-based pre-school groups to professional-level competition training in the disciplines of Nordic skiing, cycling and climbing.

“It has been such an honor to have been a part of a truly remarkable organization.  I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished in a relatively short period time.”  Husaby goes on to say, “We have great coaches and families, van-fulls of kids and a new facility.  Now is the perfect time for me to step aside.  I have been tied to the sport of Nordic skiing, coaching, and youth education for over 35 years and it’s time to ski off into the woods for myself again and let the next generation of leadership forge ahead.”

“It has been an honor to work with Ben as BEA has grown and evolved over the last several years.” Board President, Cris Himes, commented. “Ben is truly driven by the mission of the academy to get kids outside and active.  He has left a lasting impact on BEA’s culture and values, and his recruitment of some of the best professionals in their disciplines to BEA will be part of his immeasurable legacy.”

Husaby will be directing the organization through September 1 in close coordination with the board and the organization’s three program directors and associate director. A Board Executive Search Committee will oversee the recruitment and selection of the right individual to lead BEA into its next stage of development.

“Ben helped build a strong and dedicated community of parents, kids, coaches and staff that supports kids and young adults in their sports and other adventures.  He’s leaving us with a team of excellent staff, an expanded training facility, and a solid financial foundation.” Himes said. “BEA has a bright future and I’m excited to continue to guide it as we get more and more members of the community involved in and inspired by our mission.”

Gregg Second at OPA Cup Finals; Halvorsen 10th in Mini Tour

Some of the American team members and staff at 2017 OPA Cup Finals in Seefeld, Austria: (from left to right) U.S. development coach Bryan Fish, Hannah Halvorsen, Logan Hanneman, Ben Saxton, Anne Hart, and Caitlin Gregg. (Photo: Garrott Kuzzy)

Caitlin Gregg led a contingent of American cross-country skiers in Seefeld, Austria, last Friday through Sunday, starting OPA Cup Finals with a freestyle prologue win, then placing seventh in the 10-kilometer classic, and finally second in the 10 k freestyle pursuit.

The Europa Cup, or OPA Cup for short, is Central Europe’s International Ski Federation (FIS) Continental Cup series, similar to the U.S. SuperTour and Canadian NorAm circuits. The overall male and female winners of the OPA Cup circuit earn World Cup starts for next season.

This year’s OPA Cup Finals were held in Seefeld in the form of a three-day mini tour. It was Seefeld’s first test event leading up to the 2019 Nordic World Championships. The next test event will be the 2018 Cross-Country World Cup scheduled for next Jan. 26-28 in Seefeld. Athletes competing in OPA Cups are selected by their respective national teams, which creates a field of the best athletes not competing on the World Cup.

While most Canada’s top talent was racing in North America, either at World Cup Finals or Canadian Ski Nationals, several Americans made the trip, led by U.S. Ski Team Development Coach Bryan Fish and assisted by Justin Beckwith and Jon Fillardo. Four U.S. senior skiers competed, Gregg, Anne HartLogan Hanneman, and Ben Saxton, along with 16 juniors in the under-20 junior age category. These included athletes from the Dartmouth Ski Team, Stratton Mountain School (SMS), Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV), and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC).

Caitlin Gregg (c) after winning the women’s 2.5 k freestyle sprint prologue on March 17 at OPA Cup Finals in Seefeld, Austria. She was joined on the podium by Germany’s Elisabeth Schicho in second and Sofie Krehl in third. (Photo: Garrott Kuzzy)

Coming off a third-place finish in the Engadin Ski Marathon a week earlier, Gregg (Team Gregg/Loppet Nordic Racing) won the OPA Cup Finals women’s 2.5 k skate prologue on Friday, March 17, finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of German runner-up Elisabeth Schicho in 6:23.7 minutes. Germany had two on the podium with Sofie Krehl in third (+2.8). Hart (SMS Elite Team) finished 14th (+11.8) out of 46 competitors.

In the men’s 3.3 k skate prologue that same day, France took first and second with Jean Tiberghien finishing first in 7:30.1 and Paul Goalabre placing second, 1.9 seconds back. Italy’s Maicol Rastelli finished third (+4.9). For the U.S., Hanneman, of Alaska Pacific University (APU), placed 15th (+15.2) and Saxton (SMS Elite) finished 38th (+28.3) out of 79.

Also on Friday, Hannah Halvorsen, of Sugar Bowl Academy and the U.S. Ski Team Development Team, placed second in the junior women’s 2.5 k skate prologue. She finished 4.8 seconds off the winning time of Germany’s 2017 Junior World Championships silver medalist Antonia Fräbel (6:38.5), and ahead of France’s Laura Chamiot-Maitral in third (+6.4).

American Hannah Halvorsen (l) of the U.S. Ski Team D-team and Sugar Bowl Academy, on the podium after placing second in the junior women’s 2.5 k freestyle pursuit at OPA Cup Finals in Seefeld, Austria. Germany’s Antonia Fräbel placed first and France’s Laura Chamiot-Maitral (r) with third. (Photo: Garrott Kuzzy)

Seven U.S. women competed in the junior women’s prologue, with Lauren Jortberg (Dartmouth Ski Team) placing 20th, Maddie Donovan (SSCV) 33rd, Katja Freeburn (Ski Club Vail) 38th, Waverly Gebhardt (SSWSC) 39th, Gracelynn Shanley (SSCV) 40th, and Lyle Shipp (SSCV) 42nd.

Nine American men competed in the junior men’s 3.3 k skate prologue, with Ben Ogden (SMS) leading them in 25th, 28.4 seconds off the winning time set by Germany’s 2017 Junior World Champion Janosch Brugger in 7:37.0. Italy’s Luca Del Fabbro finished 0.8 seconds back in second and France’s Martin Collet was 1.7 seconds behind in third.

For the U.S., Nolan Herzog (SSCV) placed 40th, Conor Munns (SMS) 47th, Wyatt Gebhardt (SSWSC) 48th, William Haig 51st (SMS), Adam Witkowski (SMS) 53rd, Eli Eppolito (SMS) 55th, Ty Willoughby (SSCV) 56th, and Christopher Seabury (SSCV) 57th.

In the classic individual-start races on Saturday, athletes of all levels were literally competing side-by-side. Event organizers wanted to run the races early, before rain in the forecast began to fall to prevent the courses from deteriorating before Sunday’s pursuit. Despite classic skiing for only the third time this season due to injury, Gregg was able to finish seventh in the women’s 10 k classic, 1:48.5 behind German winner Theresa Eichhorn, and stay in the running for Sunday’s pursuit final.

Led by Eichhorn, who won by almost a minute and a half in 31:38.2, Germany swept the top five in that race, with Julia Belger and Pia Fink reaching the podium in second (+1:24.6) and third (+1:29.5), respectively. Hart finished 22nd (+3:20.3).

The men’s 15 k classic was considerably closer, with Rastelli pulling out a 3.1-second victory over Germany’s Hannes Dotzler in 42:07.5. Switzerland’s Jason Rueesch rounded out the podium in third (+31.4), while Hanneman placed 40th (+3:43.9) and Saxton 63rd (+5:45.7).

Halvorsen again led the U.S. women in the junior 5 k classic on Saturday, finishing 18th, 1:39.8 behind Italy’s Anna Comarella, who won in 15:47.2. Fräbel took second (+10.5), and Chamiot-Maitral third (+18.4).

Four other Americans placed in the top 40 in that race, with Jortberg in 34th, Gebhardt in 37th, Shanley in 38th, and Shipp in 39th. Freeborn and Donovan were disqualified for skiing on a wrong section of leaving the marked course.

Ogden led the Americans again in the junior men’s 10 k classic, placing 21st and 2:16.4 behind France’s Hugo Lapalus, who won in 28:31.1. France went 1-2 with Collet reaching the podium again, this time in second (+13.4), and Italy’s Simone Dapra placed third (+31.2), just 3 seconds ahead of Brugger in fourth.

Herzog finished 37th, Gebhardt 40th, Munns 42nd, Eppolito 48th, Willoughby 49th, and Seabury 50th. Haig did not start.

On Sunday, Gregg jetted from fourth at the start to second at the finish in the women’s 10 k skate pursuit with the fastest course time (28:32.6). She finished 8.9 seconds behind Germany’s Eichhorn, who started first and held on for the overall win in 29:50.7. Germany had two on the pursuit podium with Fink in third (+27.8). Hart placed 16th in the mini tour (+3:43.2), moving up from 19th at the start.

Logan Hanneman (APU) competing at OPA Cup Finals in Seefeld, Austria. (Photo: Garrott Kuzzy)

In the men’s 15 k skate pursuit, Rastelli defended his lead to finish first in 40:26.4, just 1.6 seconds ahead of Dotzler in second. Ruessch placed third overall (+32.2) and the top three all held their starting positions. Hanneman finished the mini tour in 37th (+6:51.1) and Saxton 41st (+7:07).

Halvorsen notched 10th place in the junior women’s 10 k skate pursuit, finishing 2:42.1 out of first with the ninth-fastest course time. Fräbel started first and won it by 13.2 seconds over Comarella, who started second, in 30:13.6. Chamiot-Maitral held onto third place (+33.9), and two other Americans completed the mini tour, with Jortberg in 25th (+6:13.5) and Shanley in 33rd (+15:13.3).

In the junior men’s 15 k skate pursuit, Ogden repeated in 21st, finishing 4:01.8 behind the winner, Brugger, who started third and raced to first in 42:56.3. Del Frabbro skied the fastest course time to race from sixth at the start to second at the finish (+9.4), just 0.2 seconds ahead of another Italian, Dapra, in third (+9.6).

Six U.S. junior men completed the weekend, with Munns placing 33rd overall, Herzog 36th, Gebhardt 38th, Eppolito 39th, and Willoughby 40th.

Gregg, who was second overall in the mini tour, told FasterSkier contributor and founder of Lumi Experiences Garrott Kuzzy that competing at OPA Cup Finals was almost an afterthought. When she realized she would be in the region for the Engadin, she decided to compete and said she was excited to join the trip with athletes of various experience levels.

Gregg mentioned how the enthusiasm of young athletes like Wyatt Gebhardt, competing in his first European ski races, is infectious and helps inspire her skiing. Likewise, younger athletes are able to experience how athletes like Gregg prepare for and handle themselves at European races. Gregg thanked the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) for its support in making trips like the OPA Cup Finals possible for all the athletes and coaches involved.

Seeing Gregg on top of the podium and Halvorsen in second place on the junior podium on the first day showed their teammates what is possible — taking away some of the mystique around competing in Europe.

— Garrott Kuzzy contributed reporting


Skate prologue: Women | Men | Junior women | Junior men

5/10/15 k classic: Women | Men | Junior women | Junior men

10/15 k freestyle pursuit: Women | Men | Junior women | Junior men

Kornfield, Kern, Norris, and Miller Win at Ishpeming SuperTour

Two days of SuperTour races and a Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) race were held this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, Mich., with SuperTour freestyle sprints and 5/10-kilometer classic races on Friday and Sunday. It was the fourth stop on the circuit, including U.S. nationals, and the last one before the season-ending SuperTour Finals.

Interestingly, the sprint finals included just four skiers (as opposed to the regular six) and Tyler Kornfield beat out two of his Alaska Pacific University (APU) teammates and Paddy Caldwell of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) Elite Team for the win in 3:44.30 minutes. Caldwell finished second (+1.14), Reese Hanneman (APU) third (+4.2), and David Norris (APU) fourth (+9.27).

Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess (Bend Endurance Academy) won the qualifier in 3:38.32, but was eliminated after finishing third in his quarterfinal. Logan Hanneman (APU) qualified second (+1:33) and reached the semifinals, where he placed third in his heat. Kornfield qualified third (+3.23). Thirty-seven men competed in the master/senior men category.

In the women’s final, 19-year-old Julia Kern (SMS Elite) topped two Craftsbury Green Racing Project senior skiers, Caitlin Patterson and Kaitlynn Miller, as well as Jennie Bender (Bridger Ski Foundation) for the win in 4:04.27. Kern edged Patterson by 0.11 seconds, Bender finished 3.28 seconds back in third, and Miller took fourth (+4.57).

Erika Flowers (SMS Elite) won the qualifier in 4:13.31, but was eliminated after placing fourth in the semifinals. Kern was second fastest in qualifying (+1.67). Twenty-two women competed.

On Sunday, Miller captured the win in the women’s 5 k classic individual start, beating her teammate Patterson by 6.4 seconds in 14:29.9. Craftsbury swept the podium with Liz Guiney in third (+17.0). APU’s Rosie Frankowski, originally from Minneapolis, Minn., raced to fourth (+51.8), Kern was fifth (+1:05.4), Anne Hart (SMS Elite) sixth, Canada’s Lisle Compton (NTDC Thunder Bay) seventh, Flowers eighth, Becca Rorabaugh (APU) ninth, and Bender 10th. The field was much deeper Sunday, with 60 women finishing.

In the men’s 10 k, Norris notched a 3.8-second victory over Adam Martin of Northern Michigan University, finishing in 25:29.7. Matt Gelso of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) reached the podium in third (+6.8) and Caldwell missed it by 1.5 seconds in fourth (+8.3). Evan Palmer-Charrette (NTDC Thunder Bay) was the top Canadian in fifth (+11.7), Scott Patterson (APU) finished sixth, Jack Hegman (SVSEF) seventh, Michael Somppi (NTDC Thunder Bay) eighth, Logan Hanneman ninth, and Gaspard Cuenot (Michigan Tech) 10th.

The last SuperTour races of the season — SuperTour Finals, a.k.a. Spring Series — will take place in over a month, March 27-April 2 in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Results: FridaySunday



U.S. Nominates U23 World Championships Team

Ten athletes have been selected to represent the U.S. at the 2017 FIS Nordic U23 World Championships starting later this month at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah, according to an email from U.S. Ski Team Development Coach Bryan Fish.

The team includes five men and five women, with Patrick Caldwell of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS), Dartmouth College and U.S. Ski Team D-team prequalifying to earn his spot.

Also on the men’s team are John Hegman and Cole Morgan, both of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), Callan DeLine (Dartmouth Ski Team), and Adam Martin (Northern Michigan University).

Comprising the women’s team are Kelsey Phinney (SVSEF), Nichole Bathe (University of Alaska-Fairbanks), Jesse Knori (University of Colorado-Boulder), Alayna Sonnesyn (University of Vermont), and Corey Stock (Bridger Ski Foundation).

Additionally, 12 athletes were named to the U.S. team for 2017 Junior World Championships, also held Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at Soldier Hollow. Read more about that team here.

According to a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) press release, “more than 500 athletes from nearly 40 nations are expected to take part in the Junior World and U23 Championships.

“The team of five men and five women was chosen based on results of USSA SuperTour competitions as well as trials during the recently completed L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow,” the press release continued. The rest of the release is included below:

“The team is led by Patrick Caldwell (Lyme Center, NH) of Stratton Mountain School. Caldwell is a two-time veteran of the U23 World Championships who was 15th in the 15k freestyle event in 2015. Adam Martin (Marquette, MI) from Northern Michigan University and women’s team member Kelsey Phinney (Ketchum, ID) of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation were also on the 2016 U23 Team along with Caldwell.

Competition opens on Tuesday, Jan. 31 with a classic sprint. On Thursday, Feb. 2 men race a 10k freestyle with women running 5k. A skiathlon, featuring both classic and freestyle technique, is set for Saturday, Feb. 4.

(Name, hometown, USSA club, birthdate, age at start of championships)


  • Patrick Caldwell, Lyme Center, NH (Stratton Mountain School) 2/18/1994 (22) * **
  • Callan Deline, Avon, CO (Dartmouth Ski Team) 12/4/1995 (21)
  • John Hegman, Huntington, VT (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) 5/21/1994 (22)
  • Adam Martin, Marquette, MI (Northern Michigan University) 10/26/1994 (22) *
  • Cole Morgan, Bozeman, MT (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) 3/10/1994 (22)


  • Nichole Bathe, Fitchburg, WI (Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks) 3/17/1995 (21)
  • Jesse Knori, Wilson, WY (Univ. of Colorado Ski Team, 5/24/1994 (22)
  • Kelsey Phinney, Ketchum, ID (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) 4/9/1994 (22) *
  • Alayna Sonnesyn, Plymouth, MN (Univ. of Vermont) 6/22/1996 (20)
  • Corey Stock, Lincoln, MA (Bridger Ski Foundation) 6/20/1994 (22)

* Member of 2016 Junior Worlds team
** Member of 2015 Junior Worlds team

Cross Country Schedule (all events at Soldier Hollow)

Monday, January 30
7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)

Tuesday, January 31
10:00 a.m. Classic sprint qualifications
12:00 p.m. Classic sprint heats

Wednesday, February 1
7:00 p.m. Medals Ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Thursday, February 2
10:00 a.m. Women’s 5k freestyle
12:00 p.m. Men’s 10k freestyle

Friday, February 3
7:00 p.m. Medal Ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Saturday, February 4
10:00 a.m. Women’s 7.5k CL/7.5k FS skiathlon
12:00 p.m. Men’s 15k CL/15k CL skiathlon

Sunday, February 5
6:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony and Medals Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)


2 – Jessie Diggins, 2014 freestyle sprint (Val di Fiemme, ITA)
2 – Noah Hoffman, 2012 15k classic (Ezerum, TUR)
2 – Laura Valaas, 2007 classic sprint (Tarvisio, ITA)
3 – Liz Stephen, 2008 15k freestyle mass start (Malles, Val Venosta, ITA)
4 – Ida Sargent, 2010 freestyle sprint (Hinterzarten, GER)
4 – Liz Stephen, 2009 pursuit (Praz de Lys Sommand, FRA)
5 – Morgan Arritola, 2009 pursuit (Praz de Lys Sommand, FRA)
5 – Sadie Bjornsen, 2012 10k classic (Ezerum, TUR)
6 – Ben Saxton, 2015 classic sprint (Almaty, KAZ)”

USSA Names Cross-Country Junior Worlds Team

(Press release)

PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 13, 2017) – Twelve cross country ski racers have been named to the team that will represent the USA at the International Ski Federation’s 2017 USANA Nordic Junior World Ski Championships Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. It’s the first time the global junior event has been held in the USA since 1986 in Lake Placid.

The team of six men and six women was named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association following the completion of trials during the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow. Selection was based on results of USSA SuperTour competitions along with three trials events during the U.S. Championships.

“It was a great opportunity to have our trials here at Soldier Hollow and to have the Junior World Championships coming back to the USA,” said Coach Bryan Fish. “We witnessed a full spectrum of weather conditions at the trials and we’re very appreciative of Soldier Hollow hosting the event on the new trails that have been created for Junior Worlds.”

The women’s team brings some strong international experience with Stratton Mountain School skiers Katharine Ogden (Landgrove, VT) and Julia Kern (Waltham, MA) having experience at Junior Worlds. Two years ago Ogden skied to one of the best U.S. finishes in event history with a sixth in the skiathlon at Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kern was 16th last year in the freestyle sprint at Rasnov, Romania. It will be Hannah Halvorsen‘s (Truckee, CA) first Junior Worlds, but the Sugar Bowl Ski Team athlete was a strong sixth in the classic sprint last year at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

It’s the first time on the Junior Worlds Team for all six men. Hunter Wonders (Anchorage) of Alaska Pacific University Nordic was on last year’s Youth Olympic Games team where he finished eighth in the 10k freestyle.

In the trials events at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships, Ogden was second overall in the 20k classic and fourth in the 10k freestyle. Kern also recorded a seventh overall in the classic sprint.

The team will return to Soldier Hollow on January 23 for a pre-Worlds training camp.

Competition opens on Monday, Jan. 30 with classic sprint. On Wednesday, Feb. 1 men race a 10k freestyle with women running 5k. A skiathlon, featuring both classic and freestyle technique, is set for Friday, Feb. 3 with relays closing out the Championships on Sunday, Feb. 5.


(Name, hometown, USSA club, birthdate, age at start of championships)


  • Logan Diekmann, Bozeman, MT (Univ. of Utah Ski Team) 3/28/1997 (19)
  • Wyatt Gebhardt, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) 8/291999 (17)
  • Bill Harmeyer, S Burlington, VT (Univ. of Vermont Ski Team) 6/19/1997 (19)
  • Kamran Husain, Hartland, VT (Stratton Mountain School) 10/18/1997 (19)
  • Lance McKenney, Fort Fairfield, ME 7/5/97 (19)
  • Hunter Wonders, Anchorage (Alaska Pacific University Nordic) 8/7/1998 (18) ***


  • Hannah Halvorsen, Truckee, CA (Sugar Bowl Ski Team) 2/19/98 (18) ***
  • Lauren Jortberg, Boulder, CO (Dartmouth Ski Team) 9/28/1997 (19)
  • Julia Kern, Waltham, MA (Stratton Mountain School) 9/12/1997 (19) * **
  • Taeler McCrerey, Frisco, CO (Univ. of Denver Ski Team) 5/26/1997 (18)
  • Katharine Ogden, Landgrove, VT (Stratton Mountain School) 11/17/1997 (19) * **
  • Hailey Swirbul, Carbondale, CO (Univ. of Alaska – Anchorage) 7/10/1998 (18) **

* Member of 2016 Junior Worlds team
** Member of 2015 Junior Worlds team
*** Member of 2016 Youth Olympic Games team

Cross Country Schedule (all events at Soldier Hollow)

Monday, January 30

10:00 a.m. Classic sprint qualifications
12:00 p.m. Classic sprint heats
7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)

Wednesday, February 1

10:00 a.m. Women’s 5k freestyle
12:00 p.m. Men’s 10k freestyle
7:00 p.m. Medal ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Friday, February 3

10:00 a.m. Women’s 5k CL/5k FS skiathlon
12:00 p.m. Men’s 10k CL/10k CL skiathlon
7:00 p.m. Medal ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Sunday, February 5

10:00 a.m. Women’s 4×3.3k relay
12:00 p.m. Men’s 4x5k relay
6:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony and Medals Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)


4 – Lindsey Williams, 2003 freestyle sprint (Solleftea)
5 – Leif-Orin Zimmermann, 2003 freestyle sprint (Solleftea)
5 – Torin Koos, 2000 freestyle sprint (Strbske Pleso)
6 – Katharine Ogden, 2015 skiathlon (Almaty)
6 – Ryan Foster, 2003 freestyle sprint (Solleftea)
6 – Kristina Trygstad-Saari, 2002 5k (Schonach)
6 – Andy Newell, 2001 freestyle sprint (Karpacz-Szklarska)
6 – Kikkan Randall, 2001 freestyle sprint (Karpacz-Szklarska)
6 – Kris Freeman, 2000 freestyle sprint (Strbske Pleso)

Cross Country Canada Announces U23/Junior Worlds Teams

On Wednesday, Cross Country Canada announced its teams for the International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic Junior & U23 World Championships, which will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.

Below is an excerpt from its team-nomination press release:

“Selections were based on the results of the 3 races at the U.S. National Championships, a great opportunity to race at altitude on the Championship courses against deep fields of competition. The top Canadians were automatically selected to the team, and Dahria Beatty and Maya Macisaac-Jones were preselected based on scoring World Cup points, this season and last.

The rest of the selections were a bit of a challenge, with a lot of competition for places on the team. The variable weather conditions also made ski preparation sometimes difficult. It is always good to have a challenge with selection with so many promising athletes. While some may not have made the final team, there will be many more opportunities to prove they can represent Canada on the World stage.


Canada's 2017 Junior World Championships team

Canada’s 2017 Junior World Championships team

Junior Women

  1. India McIsaac, Rocky Mountain Racers
  2. Annika Richardson, Thunder Bay NTDC – Hollyburn
  3. Claire Grall-Johnson, Nakkertok
  4. Natalie Hynes, Whitehorse
  5. Lisle Compton, Thunder Bay NTDC – Kenora

Alternate: Benita Peiffer, Whistler Nordic

Junior Men

  1. Gareth Williams, Telemark
  2. Étienne Hébert, Montériski
  3. Remi Drolet, Black Jack
  4. Ryan Jackson, Team Hardwood
  5. Reed Godfrey, Canmore Nordic
  6. Ty Godfrey, Canmore Nordic
  7. Antoine Blais, Skibec
  8. Philippe Boucher, CNEPH – Skibec

The Junior team is represented by a mix of experience, including Philippe Boucher who will be attending his 3rd World Junior Championships, and 16 year old Remi Drolet attending his first after skiing to a dominant win in the 10k classic race at the trials. Drolet credited some good altitude preparation for his performances. ‘I wasn’t quite expecting to qualify, but knew after I had a good race the first day, that the opportunity was there if I skied well in the mass-start. I am proud to be representing Canada at the Championships and will ski as hard as I can.’

On the junior women’s side Annika Richardson, Canada’s Youth Olympic Games representative in 2016, was the top Canadian in the sprint and classic distance races, showing good promise for a successful World Junior event.

On the final day Canada managed a podium sweep versus the U.S. team on the junior men’s side and 3rd and 4th in junior women (minus the U.S.’s Katharine Ogden who claimed silver in the open 20k). These types of performances with our southern counterparts, suggest the team should be ready to compete with the rest of the World at the end of the month.

Canada's 2017 U23 World Championships team

Canada’s 2017 U23 World Championships team

U23 Women

  1. Dahria Beatty, AWCA – Whitehorse
  2. Maya Macisaac-Jones, AWCA – Rocky Mountain Racers
  3. Katherine Stewart-Jones, Thunder Bay NTDC – Nakkertok Nordique
  4. Frederique Vézina, CNEPH – Mont Ste. Anne
  5. Jenn Jackson, Lappe

Alternate: Isabella Howden, Team Hardwood

U23 Men

  1. Evan Palmer-Charrette, Thunder Bay NTDC – Lappe
  2. Julian Smith, Thunder Bay NTDC – Georgian Bay Nordic
  3. Scott Hill, Team Hardwood
  4. Julien Lamoureux, CNEPH – Montériski
  5. Alexis Dumas, CNEPH – Skibec

Alternate: Thomas Hardy, Telemark

The U23 team is led by Dahria Beatty, having skied to 25th and 26th place World Cup results so far this season. Her best result was a 4th place overall result in the sprint against a strong U.S. contingent:

‘It has been amazing to start the season with a World Cup top-30 result in both sprint and distance. I am really looking forward to carrying that positive energy forward into the championship events. The US Nationals has been a bit turbulent for me with the volume, altitude and challenging conditions but this was never a week I was planning to peak for and there has been lots of good learning from it and some decent results as well. I am confident that when I come back in 3 weeks I will be racing faster and smarter thanks to this week of races!’

On the men’s side there have been several athletes rising to the top of the Canadian group, with some good potential for breakthrough performances at the Worlds.

‘This is the largest team we have put together outside of Canada to compete at the U23-WJC. The team of 22 athletes represents the work and dedication of 3 training centres and 12 clubs from across Canada,’ said a very enthusiastic Thomas Holland, CCC High Performance Director.

Athletes who participated at US Nationals have now returned to the comfort of to their respective home training grounds. The U23-Junior World Championship Team will reunite in Canmore, Alberta for a camp starting on January 22nd, up until their departure for the big event in Utah on January 27th, 2017.”

U.S. Nationals Classic Sprint Videos

Thanks to The Utah Nordic Alliance’s (TUNA) Kirk Nichols for sharing the following race videos from the men’s and women’s classic sprints, held Sunday, Jan. 8, at 2017 U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow:

Men’s and women’s finals:

 Junior men’s and women’s finals:

More heats:

Junior men’s quarterfinals

Junior women’s quarterfinals

Senior men’s quarterfinals

Senior women’s quarterfinals


Junior men’s and women’s semifinals

Senior men’s and women’s semifinals


The Pre-Race Scene at Senior Nationals


The men's freestyle sprint final at last year's U.S. nationals in Houghton, Michigan.

The men’s freestyle sprint final at last year’s U.S. nationals in Houghton, Michigan.

SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah.–Conditions on the ground at Soldier Hollow (SoHo)? Cold.

Sipping an espresso in Deer Valley and checking weather temps in SoHo about 20 miles south, the temps on the phone read -12 degrees fahrenheit at 9:30 a.m. in Midway, Utah —  Midway is located only a few miles from the SoHo race venue. On his blog, Zach Caldwell said it was -18 degrees when he began testing. Cold.  

Throughout the day, snow guns blasted creating a mix of man-made snow to go along with the recent natural snow.

The course for tomorrow’s distance races, a women’s 10-kilometer freestyle and men’s 15 k skate, is stout; steep punchy climbs, a long grueling uphill, and little rest or recovery to balance the lactate loads. Although not the same 5 k loop to be raced during World Juniors contested from Jan. 28 – Feb 5, 2017 at SoHo, Saturday’s distance course meets international racing standards.

For veteran U.S. nationals athletes, like Jennie Bender of the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF), the chance to race a new course, but familiar venue is warmly welcomed.

“I’m excited that I’ve been feeling good with my distance skiing so, I’m looking forward to tomorrow as well as the classic sprint,” Bender said to FasterSkier on Friday. “This is a big week for all of us and I’m excited to be back in Soldier Hollow.”

Nineteen year-old Stratton Mountain School skier Katharine Ogden is in SoHo not for World Junior qualification, she’s pre-qualified, but for some race strategy reinforcement.

“For this series I don’t have too many concrete goals because I auto-qualified for World Juniors, Ogden told FasterSkier in Soldier Hollow on Friday. “Now it is more getting the hang of racing here and trying to have some sweet races, but there is not much riding on it for me.”

Although the pressure may be dialed back a degree for the former Junior Worlds participant, Ogden said she still has some task at hand. “I think what I will work on will be trying to dial in the pacing and know how to get close to the redline, but not blow up,” Ogden added. “I’ll be  practicing that, which is much harder here than at home at sea level.”

Soldier Hollow’s top point sits a few hundred feet shy of 6,000 feet.

U.S. Ski Team (USST) development coach, Bryan Fish is attending Senior Nationals as both a USST representative here to calculate points for potential World Junior, U-23 Worlds, and World Championship qualifiers, as well serving as a race juror. Part of his USST role is to shepherd skiers like Ogden who have pre-qualified. FasterSkier asked Fish, who works with Ogden on the U.S. Ski Team D-team, what advice he’ll be giving her.

“This is not just this week, the year and year after year is to always learn,” Fish said. “To learn and make sure what you are learning out there is pacing, we are racing at altitude. She typically has been a good altitude racer. But it is a different course and it takes some different pacing on some long climbs and that is one of her strengths. So one of the things that I will tell her to is make sure that she is appropriately pacing it, staying consistent, staying smooth and continuing to think in the mood set that this is one race, it is an important race, it is Nationals. But this is one step along the path way.”

Another coach here mentoring, inspiring and guiding athletes towards their season goals is Alaska Pacific University (APU) head coach, Erik Flora. While Ogden’s prequalification may take some pressure off her performances, for Flora’s athletes and many other competitors, much more is at stake. As Flora explained, the week may mean World Cup racing is on the horizon, or that it’s time to head home to hone in on training.

“In the U.S. this is a pretty good pivot point in the season,” Flora told FasterSkier in Soldier Hollow on Friday. “If someone races really well, they get to go on to [World] Championships. If they don’t, then it’s time to go home and start working…[towards] the next step.”

For many of Flora’s top athletes — including Chelsea Holmes, Scott Patterson, the Hanneman brothers, Reese and Logan, as well as junior skiers Thomas O’Harra, and Hunter Wonders — making teams, such as U-23s or World Juniors, rides on their results this week.

“I think just about every single [APU athlete here] is coming here trying to make a team,” Flora added. “A lot of the season is on the line.”

The women’s 10 k kicks-off at 9:00 a.m. MST sharp Saturday morning, while the men’s 15 k is scheduled to start at noon MST. Live timing will be provided for the event and may be found here.

–Jason Albert and Gabby Naranja

What’s at Stake for the Canadians at SoHo

At an event called U.S. Cross Country Championships (U.S. nationals for short), you might be expecting to see lot of Americans racing. What you might not expect is the large Canadian contingent at Soldier Hollow this weekend and next week in Midway, Utah.

Aside from the obvious attraction of racing in a more competitive field, the 2017 U.S. nationals are a selection event for Cross Country Canada (CCC). At stake for Canadians are starts at World Championships, Junior and U23 World Championships, and World Cup starts in Otepää and PyeongChang later this season.

The complete selection details are in the selection criteria, but we can summarize by event.

Junior/U23 World Championships (Soldier Hollow), Jan. 30-Feb. 5

The selection for Junior Worlds and U23’s is almost entirely based on race results at U.S. nationals, which allows the athletes to qualify on the same courses that will be used for the championships.

CCC first automatically selects athletes with World Cup points from 2015/2016 or Period 1 of 2016/2017. Maya MacIsaac-Jones, of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian National U25 Team, is selected for sprint based on her 29th in Gatineau last season. Her AWCA and national U25 teammate Dahria Beatty is selected for both sprint and distance based on top 30 results in Canmore, Davos, and La Clusaz.

The top Canadian in each of Saturday’s freestyle interval start, Sunday’s classic sprint, and Tuesday’s classic mass start will become eligible for selection.

If this doesn’t result in the maximum 14 athletes (four per gender and age bracket, less the two preselections), the team may be filled using athletes ranked in the top five in the Canadian Points List (CPL). The CPL is essentially the same as the FIS points, which means the deeper field at Soldier Hollow provides a great chance to move up.

Otepää World Cup and World Championships (Lahti, Finland), Feb. 21-March 5

The Lahti team will be going to Otepää first, which means the selection process is combined.

Canadian World Cup Team members Alex Harvey (red-group member) and Devon Kershaw (who scored a World Cup top-10 earlier this week in Oberstdorf) are automatically selected.

The next automatic selection is for a top-six result at U23 or Junior World Championships, which for most is predicated on U.S. nationals results.

Beatty and Len Valjas (Canadian World Cup Team) are next in the selection priority, based on World Cup points from Period 1. Any other athlete with a World Cup top 30 by Feb. 5 will be selected. Pyeongchang World Cup results may be downgraded as the field there is expected to be much sparser than usual, with Canada joining the list of countries that will keep their World Championships favourites in Europe.

Additional athletes may be named to fill in the quota, based on results from U.S. nationals and CCC objectives. Saturday’s freestyle interval start, Tuesday’s classic mass start, and Thursday’s freestyle-sprint qualifier count towards this selection.

Pyeongchang World Cup (South Korea), Feb. 3-5

Canada is required to send a men’s team to all but one World Cup this season, courtesy of ranking fifth in nations points. CCC is using this event to get experience at the venue and develop ‘NextGen’ athletes. The highest-priority selection criteria effectively selects athletes from the World Cup Team. Since the distance skiers will stay in Europe, this is only Valjas.

This leaves up to four athletes of each gender (two sprint, two distance) to be selected to reach the team size of 12.

Athletes who also qualify for U23 Worlds will have a dilemma as the two events overlap, with most expected to choose U23’s. As this selection process is likely to come up short of 12, the final selection is based on coaches recommendations, using guidelines that strongly favour younger athletes. For athletes in the 23+ age group, U.S. nationals success will be critical.

With all these selections hanging on a single week of racing in a foreign country, it is reasonable to ask what value there is in the NorAm series this season.  The NorAm leaders, Katherine Stewart-Jones and Evan Palmer-Charrette (both U23 eligible and both on the Thunder Bay National Team Development Centre), get automatic World Cup quota spots and reduced event costs, which means they can enter any World Cup in the next period that CCC agrees to wax skis for. The NorAm races are also important for maintaining CPL ranking, but this still leaves many of the Canadians choosing U.S. nationals as one of peaking targets of the season.

— Gerry Furseth

After 1 Year, CCC CEO Pierre Lafontaine Leaves for Cycling Canada

(Press release)

CANMORE, Alta. — Pierre Lafontaine is returning to Ottawa full time, accepting the role as chief executive officer/secretary general for Cycling Canada, after splitting time over the last year between his hometown and Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada’s national office in Canmore, Alta., the two national sport bodies announced jointly on Friday.

During his stint as chief executive officer for the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, Lafontaine worked tirelessly to bring the community across the country together – from the provincial sport organizations, national training centres and coaches – under a shared 10-year vision designed to increase participation in the sport in all corners of the country, and ultimately, put more Canadian cross-country skiers on the Olympic and Paralympic podium.

“I really enjoyed working with the Nordic community across Canada and will miss the people. Cross-country skiing is one of the most iconic winter sports in this country. It is an extremely passionate community with an incredible group of athletes representing our country,” said Lafontaine

“I am extremely grateful for Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada’s openness, and flexibility, to allow me to lead my team from afar, but I personally struggled with being away from both my family and the office in Canmore. I can’t thank the Board enough for their support of this decision – one that is best for me.”

Lafontaine, who will remain in his position with Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada until January, will assist the organization with implementing a transition plan that provides priority focus and support leading into the 2016-17 season.

“Family is at the heart of cross-country skiing in this country so, while we have a big hole to fill, we understand and respect Pierre’s difficult decision,” said Jamie Coatsworth, chair, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada. “Pierre has done significant legwork getting all of our partners aligned under a shared vision, but we have loads of work remaining to get to where we want to be. We will begin an immediate search for a leader who can build on the framework Pierre has developed, and lead us into the next phase of our strategic growth plan.”

Lafontaine Succeeds Cycling Canada’s Retiring CEO, Greg Mathieu

From the lanes in the pool to making tracks on the Nordic ski trails, Lafontaine will now ride into Ottawa where he will succeed Greg Mathieu as Cycling Canada’s chief executive officer and secretary general in January.

Recognized as one of Canada’s most distinguished sport leaders, Lafontaine brings a wealth of international experience with him to the cycling community, having served as CEO and national coach of Swimming Natation Canada from 2005-13, followed by two years as CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. A medal-winning performer, Lafontaine has achieved success working in all levels of the sport system across Canada, the United States and Australia – from national team athletes to youngsters getting introduced to the sport at the club level. Prior to taking the reigns of swimming in Canada, Lafontaine spent three years as head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport.

“Pierre is an energetic, passionate and experienced leader who is a known performer in the area of sport development,” said John Tolkamp, president, Cycling Canada, who added Lafontaine was hired following an extensive national search. “He will be counted on to lead our exceptional staff towards realizing the vision of being a leading cycling nation by 2020.”

Lafontaine is widely acclaimed as an innovative leader; not only in athlete and coach development, but also in building critical relationships with key stakeholders, including Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee, to develop world-leading high-performance programs. Under his guidance, Lafontaine has achieved podium results as a CEO and coach at major international events from the Olympics and Paralympics to World Championships, Pan Am, Parapan Am and Commonwealth Games.

“I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to join Cycling Canada to continue doing what I love – working in Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic community,” said Lafontaine. “Whether it is cycling, cross-country skiing or swimming, my goals remain the same – provide the tools our athletes and coaches require to be world-leaders from the grassroots to elite levels, and to make the sport one of the premier activities in all corners of the country. There is a strong foundation in place at Cycling Canada, and my goal is to ensure cycling remains a powerhouse well into the future.”

About Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada

CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, and Mackenzie Investments – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at

About Cycling Canada

Cycling Canada is the governing body for competitive cycling in Canada. Founded in 1882, Cycling Canada aims to create and sustain an effective system that develops talented Canadian cyclists to achieve Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship medal performances. With the vision of being a leading competitive cycling nation by 2020 celebrating enhanced international success, increased national participation and world class event hosting, Cycling Canada manages the High Performance team, hosts national and international events and administers programs to promote and grow cycling across the country. Cycling Canada programs are made possible through the support of its valued corporate partners – Global Relay, Lexus Canada, Mattamy Homes, Louis Garneau and Bear Mountain Resort – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.


2018 U.S. Nationals, 2019 Junior Nationals Set for Anchorage

David Norris (APU) leads the Anchorage Tour race through the southern edge of the stadium at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska, in March 2016. (Photo: Rob Whitney)

David Norris (APU) leading the Anchorage Tour race at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska, in March 2016. (Photo: Rob Whitney)

Soldier Hollow in 2017, Kincaid Park in 2018. That’s the schedule for upcoming U.S. Cross Country Championships, following the recent announcement that U.S. nationals will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, in January 2018. The country’s top skiers will be headed to Utah in January 2017, for national championship races that will also help determine who goes to world championships in Lahti the following month. A year later, racers will be headed north to Anchorage, with final selections for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang potentially on the line alongside national championships.

The Alaska Dispatch News also reported that the 2019 Junior Nationals will be held in Anchorage as well.

U.S. Nationals were last held in Anchorage in 2009 and 2010. The 2009 races are remembered for unseasonable cold (even for Anchorage in January) that led to only two out of four races being held. In 2010, all four races were held in normal conditions, and Holly Brooks – until recently a local Masters ski coach – punched her ticket to her first Olympics.

Junior Nationals were last held at Kincaid in 2008. They were last held in Alaska in 2013, at Birch Hill ski area in Fairbanks.

— Gavin Kentch

Amie Smith NENSA’s New Executive Director

The New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) announced last week that after serving as NENSA’s high-performance director for the past year and a half, Amie Smith is taking on a new role as NENSA’s executive director. On top of running NENSA’s competitive racing programs, Smith’s additional responsibilities will include staff management and organization oversight.

Smith was described by NENSA Board Director Carol Van Dyke as a “powerhouse worker”  in a press release. Prior to the position, Smith has spent time coaching and volunteering with the Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) and leading a Junior Nationals trip.

Smith will fill the shoes of Peter Graves, formerly NENSA’s interim director. According to the release, Graves was stepping down “as his freelance broadcasting role is becoming increasingly busy and he was unable to continue the job on a part-time basis. We thank Peter for his dedicated efforts for NENSA over the past few months. We are especially appreciative that he was willing to pitch in and help NENSA at a challenging time of transition.”

Hegman, Rose Win 38th Baldy Hill Climb

The 38th annual Baldy Hill Climb — presented by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) in Sun Valley, Idaho — wrapped up this past Saturday, Sept. 24, with two SVSEF Gold Team members reaching the top of the podium.

A total of 196 competitors completed the course’s 1.9-mile climb up Sun Valley ski hill’s Warm Springs run (which rises 3,140 vertical feet and tops out at 9,020 feet above sea level), with Mary Rose and Jack Hegman topping the women’s and men’s races, respectively. Rose was this year’s fastest woman, finishing the climb in 44:13 minutes. The second woman of the day, just 1.48 seconds behind Rose, was her SVSEF teammate Deedra Irwin. Kristen Monahan was the third woman across the line, 2.34 seconds off Rose’s winning time.

In the men’s division, Hegman dusted the field, finishing in 35:31, 24 seconds ahead of SVSEF teammate Rogan Brown. Third went to SVSEF veteran Matt Gelso, who crossed 34 seconds behind Hegman.

The men’s current course record is held by Miles Havlick, set in 2014 with a time of 35:04. The women’s standing record was set in 2010 by Morgan Arritola with a time of 39:53.


Stephen Wins Third Straight XTERRA Trail Run Nationals, Second Red Bull 400

Liz Stephen after winning her third-straight Red Bull 400, a 400-meter race up the K120 ski jump at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. "Fun day at the #Utaholympicpark at the #RedBull400 today!" Stephen captioned the photo on Facebook. "Glad the sun popped out for the finals!" (Photo: Tom Kelly )

Liz Stephen after winning her second-straight Red Bull 400, a 400-meter race up the K120 ski jump at Utah Olympic Park on Saturday in Park City, Utah. “Fun day at the #Utaholympicpark at the #RedBull400 today!” Stephen captioned the photo on Facebook. “Glad the sun popped out for the finals!” (Photo: Tom Kelly )

Sometimes a big engine is a big engine regardless of the sport. Two weekends ago on Sept. 18, U.S. Ski Team (USST) veteran and two-time defending XTERRA Trail Run national champion, Liz Stephen, who lives and trains in Park City, Utah, made it a three-peat. 

The 13-mile course was laid out on Snowbasin Resort outside of Ogden, Utah. A trail-running race suited to those accustomed to thick sea-level air it was not. With a beginning elevation of 6,133 feet and topping out at 7,300 feet coupled with a total gain of approximately 2,200 feet over 21 kilometers, the course suited Stephen’s climbing efficiency.

The fastest time on the day was male runner Patrick Smyth from Santa Fe, N.M., in a time of 1:14:48. Stephen was the 10th overall finisher — and the first women — in a time of 1:31:08. Despite being 2 1/2 minutes off her time last year, Stephen finished a whopping 8:17 minutes ahead of the second-place women, Amber Schultz (1:39:25), of Ogden. Stephen’s USST teammate and fellow Park City resident, Noah Hoffman, placed seventh overall and third in his 25-29 age group in 1:24:06.

Having recently returned from a three week on-snow training camp in New Zealand, Stephen illustrated once again that when it’s up, up, up, she’s ready to go.

Stephen told the Park Record that although she’s not training specifically for running events, a race effort is still a race effort — it keep athletes sharp.

“The [XTERRA] race was more to go out, have fun and to just remind your body [how to race],” she said. “I think it’s really important to remind your body, and actually your brain more, how to race and how it feels.” 

This past Saturday, Sept. 24. Stephen proved to be unbeatable once again at the Red Bull 400, a 400-meter race straight up the K120 ski jump at Utah Olympic Park (UOP) in Park City, Utah. The race starts at 6,870 feet above sea level, making it the highest-altitude Red Bull 400 in the world.

UOP hosted the race for the first time last year, which Stephen won by seven seconds over Veronika Mayerhofer, of the University of Utah. This year, Stephen won by 44 seconds over Megan Foley with a winning time of 4:52.9. Stacey Armijo of the Philippines placed third (+56.1) and world-champion ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson placed fourth (+1:05.4).

In the men’s solo final, U.S. Nordic Combined and University of Utah skier Nick Hendrickson (Sarah’s brother) placed third (+32.2) with a time of 4:28.4.

Most of the U.S. Cross Country Team, including Stephen and Hoffman, will convene in Park City for another national-team training camp Oct. 17-31.


XTERRA Trail Run National Championship

Red Bull 400

GMVS Announces Colin Rodgers as Nordic Director

Colin Rodgers (Photo: GMVS)

Colin Rodgers (Photo: GMVS)

(Press release)

FAYSTON, Vt. – Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) is thrilled to announce Colin Rodgers as the new Nordic Director. Colin returns to his native Vermont from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), where he was the Gold Team Head Coach for five years. The Gold Team is a professional cross-country ski racing team that offers year round programming for elite athletes to compete and achieve internationally.

Colin brings a wealth of knowledge and success to GMVS as the Nordic Director. Prior to coaching the Gold Team, he was a Gold Team athlete from 2006 through 2011, winning a USSA Super Tour Sprint Cup and representing SVSEF and the U.S. in multiple World Cups. Colin graduated from Middlebury College in 2004 and was Captain of the Middlebury Ski Team.

“Everyone involved in the search was really impressed by Colin’s background, accomplishments and commitment to developing top-level skiers. He brings great energy to the program, and we are especially fortunate that he has worked with many GMVS athletes in the past. I am confident that Colin will step in and have an immediate impact on the program that Garrott Kuzzy and Katrina Howe have built up over the past year,” said Tim Harris, Interim Head of School.

Nakkertok Nordic Finalists in $250,000 Contest

Nakkertok Nordic of Cantley, Quebec, is one of four finalists in the running for $250,000 dollars in prize money, which would be used toward improving the club’s infrastructure. Voting for the Kraft Heinz Project Play, a nationwide contest highlighting communities in Canada, began Monday, June 25 and will remain open until midnight on Tuesday, June 26.

Nakkertok is 1,400-member strong, nonprofit cross-country ski club with participants ages 3 to 83.

“Now almost entirely through volunteer efforts and member fees, we have developed: 75 kms of ski trails, including 4 kms of lighted trails; a ‘play park’; a snowshoe network; a chalet; a multi-purpose building and several trailside cabins,” its Project Play profile states. “Our race team just won the National Club Championships for the 7th year in a row. We are committed to ‘skiing 4 life’, developing friendships and enjoying a healthy, outdoor, winter life style.”

If chosen as the grand-prize winners, Nakkertok would use the money for necessary trail upgrades and to purchase and install snowmaking equipment on 4 kilometers of its trails and its play park.

For more information and to vote, click here.

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Survey Seeks Feedback on Transition from Domestic to International Race Circuit

American Anne Hart leads the start of the women's10 k freestyle at Stage 7 of the Ski Tour Canada in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

American Anne Hart leads the start of the women’s10 k freestyle at Stage 7 of the Ski Tour Canada in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

No one can speak to the transition from the domestic race circuit to international levels of nordic competition better than cross country athletes themselves. With that in mind, Annie Hart, one of three athlete representatives for a subcommittee of the USSA Congress, recently created a survey regarding the shift from ski racing in the U.S. to competing worldwide.

Hart indicated that though the survey is open to all, it is targeted specifically at nordic athletes. Using the survey, she hopes to gain a broader perspective of the U.S. nordic community’s opinion and promote more discussion on the topic.

“The survey primarily concerns Super Tour racing, and the transition from domestic racing to the international circuit,” Hart wrote in an email. “These are important issues, and as the US is becoming a consistent medal contender on the World Cup, it is increasingly important to keep a pulse on the vaster US nordic community.  The USSA congress is a wonderful opportunity for people to discuss important issues in development and racing, but not every single athlete can be present.  However it is imperative to include as many people in the discussion as possible, and a survey is the quickest and most effective way to achieve that goal.”

Hart points out that the survey is anonymous and will be open until Saturday, although she hopes to get as many responses as possible prior to the USSA Congress, which begins Thursday. The survey, according to Hart, should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Any responses Hart receives, will be consolidated into single document and shared with all those in attendance at the USSA Congress, as well as the greater nordic community.

“Rosie Brennan, Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess and I are all athlete representatives, elected via an online election this past fall,” Hart wrote. “We are taking our roles as the athlete representatives seriously, and are trying our best to ensure active participation from the entire athlete community.  Survey takers should know their responses are anonymous, and are only being used to benefit the broader US nordic community in a productive discussion at the USSA congress.  Further, the more people who participate, the better the discussion will be.  So get those surveys in!”

To give your feedback, click here.