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End-of-July Roundup: New Club Hires; NENSA’s Coach of the Year; Olympic Trials

— On July 17, the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) out of Lake Placid, N.Y., announced that Shane MacDowell would take the reins as new head cross-country ski coach on Sept. 1, 2017. Originally from Peru, Mass., MacDowell attended Burke Mountain Academy and raced for the University of New Hampshire. He most recently served as an assistant coach for the Northern Michigan University nordic team.

According to outgoing cross-country coach Margaret Maher, who held the position for more than 11 years, she was “excited to see a fellow UNH Wildcat take over the NYSEF program and look forward to watching the athletes grow and excel to the best of their abilities,” she stated in a press release.

Starting in September, Maher will transition to a full-time job as a registered nurse in orthopedics and sports medicine, while MacDowell will work alongside Maher in August to finish the summer training season.

 

— Also this month, Ben Grasseschi was hired as the new executive director of Tahoe Cross Country (TXC) after spending the last nine years with Far West Nordic.

“Ben has been a cross country skier for over 40 years, raced in college, pursued a post-graduate racing career and began coaching full time as a PSIA Level 3 instructor in 2005,” a TXC press release stated. “His 18 years of coaching experience and 4 years as Assistant Manager, nordic buyer and specialist for Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City places him as an ideal choice for TXC’s Executive Director.”

 

— The New England Nordic Association (NENSA) recently named Adam Terko,  executive director and head coach of the Mansfield Nordic Club in Underhill, Vt., its Coach of the Year. Terko, originally from Shelburne, Vt., raced for the St. Lawrence University nordic team for four years and went on to serve as its assistant coach. In 2015, he joined the Mansfield Nordic Club, and since then, MNC athletes have taken medals at local and regional championships, and have competed nationally and internationally.

 

— Earlier this month, the Steamboat Today out of Steamboat Springs, Colo., published an in-depth feature on the U.S. Nordic Combined hopefuls. The article describes the complexities of making the 2018 Olympics, especially for the U.S. team where only two spots are essentially locked up (and belong to brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher).

“I need to start scoring World Cup points,” said Steamboat native Ben Berend, one of the athletes who will be vying with childhood friends Jasper Good and Grant Andrews to make the Olympic team. “That’s the easy way to make it without getting into the criteria and the complicated stuff.”

The U.S. team anticipates getting two more Olympic spots to bring its quota to four. But the athletes most likely to qualify — Berend, Good, Andrews, Wisconsin brothers Adam and Ben Loomis, and Park City’s Stephen Schumann — need to score World Cup points to ensure that.

The article hones in on the rise of Steamboat nordic-combined skiers and how three out of more than a dozen have continued their quest for the 2018 Games. Read more here.

 

 

— Speaking of Olympic qualification, U.S. Ski & Snowboard has set the dates for 2018 Olympic Team Trials for ski jumping and nordic combined. These will be held Dec. 30-31 at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, “in a winner-take-all event where the victors will be named to Team USA,” according to a press release.

Nordic-combined trials will be held Saturday, Dec. 30, followed by ski jumping for men and women on Sunday, Dec. 31. According to the press release, NBC will be providing national coverage of the two-day event. “The winner of each event will receive a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. The remainder of the ski and snowboard teams will be named later in January.”

 

— While U.S. cross-country skiing doesn’t have Olympic trials, U.S. Ski & Snowboard released the entire 2017/2018 SuperTour schedule last month, which includes eight stops across the U.S. starting Dec. 2 in West Yellowstone, Mont., and ending with SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury, Vt. At the annual U.S. Ski & Snowboard (formerly USSA) Congress, the decision was made to start the tour a week later than usual to encourage Canadian skiers to participate and thus boost the field size.

U.S. Cross Country Championships (a.k.a. senior nationals) will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, from Jan. 3-8, which will be followed by a regular-season SuperTour in Craftsbury Jan. 26-28 before the SuperTour returns there in late March for the last week of racing (March 23-28).

Two weekends in Canada will double as both SuperTour and NorAm (Canada’s Continental Cup) races. The first will be at Sovereign Lake near Vernon, British Columbia, Dec. 9-10, and the other in Gatineau, Quebec, Feb. 1-3.

“A strong SuperTour calendar is pivotal in providing our juniors, collegiate and senior cross country skiers the opportunity to compete head-to-head and continue to improve,” U.S. Ski Team (USST) Development Coach Bryan Fish said, according to a press release.

“This season will be the most exciting year of racing in the quadrennial, with not only World Cup berths available after every period of racing, but also Olympic team nominations,” USST Head Coach Chris Grover said in the release. “We have an exceptional group of venues and organizers committed to hosting the 2017-18 SuperTour and we are excited to watch the competitions unfold.”

Period 1:
Dec 2-3, 2017
West Yellowstone, MT

Dec 9-10, 2017
Silverstar, British Columbia

Period 2:
Jan. 3-8, 2018
Anchorage, AK

Jan. 26-28, 2018
Craftsbury, VT

Feb. 1-3, 2018
Gatineau, Quebec

Period 3:
Feb. 15-18, 2018
Ishpeming, MI

Feb. 24, 2017
American Birkebeiner
Hayward, WI

Period 4:
Mar. 23-28, 2018
SuperTour Finals
Craftsbury, VT

 

— Some of the women from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project recently held a Girls with Guns biathlon clinic in Lake Placid, N.Y. Emily Dreissigacker “spearheaded” the July 9 clinic with the help of her teammates Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Caitlin Patterson, male teammate Alex Howe, and special guest Andrea Henkel-Burke, according to Patterson’s blog post with photos.

 

— The 2021 Winter Universiade will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland, from Jan. 21-31, 2021. According to Inside the Games, Lucerne was the only city to bid on the games, which include nine winter sports contested by international university athletes. Universiade is organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), and the last time Switzerland hosted the Winter Universiade was in Villars in 1962.

“We do hope that the National University Sports Federations and their student-athletes competing in snow and ice sports will book these dates to compete in Lucerne and achieve their best performance during these Games while celebrating great moments together,” Milan Augustin, FISU’s director for the Winter Universiade, told Inside the Games.

 

– In the works for the last year, a new website belonging to the Australian Cross-Country Skiing (AUSXC) team was recently launched. Among the website’s features is a national race calendar with competition info. The site will also include competition rules, selection policies and race licenses.

AUSXC will continue to bring you regular news and results from the Australian winter and on Australian skiers racing around the world,” AUSXC said in a statement, according to Inside the Games.

 

July 2 Roundup: RUSADA Can Test Again; Rollerskiiing Record Attempt in UK

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) can now plan and coordinate its own testing based on a decision from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). In a June 27 press release, WADA explained that allowing RUSADA to resume testing, under the supervision of WADA-appointed international experts and the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), is an “important step forward” in the “roadmap toward compliance”, in the words of WADA President Sir Craig Reedie. WADA’s Foundation Board accepted the CRC’s recommendation on May 18 after both entities were convinced Russia had fulfilled its initial requirements in “rebuilding” its anti-doping program, according to Reedie. Those requirements included: Changing the RUSADA Statutes to require that the Chair and Vice Chair are secluded from the independent members of the RUSADA Board Providing the CRC with a RUSADA conflict of interest policy for approval Releasing all Athlete Biological Passport blood samples at the Russian Anti-doping Center…

June 9 Roundup: Ward Tapped as Biathlon Canada HP Director; John Bower Passes

– Biathlon Canada has a new high-performance director: women’s national-team coach Roddy Ward. The announcement was made on Biathlon Canada’s website, following the departure of Eric de Nys earlier this spring. “We are delighted to have Roddy in the role of High-Performance Director,” Biathlon Canada General Manager Andy Holmwood said, according to the press release. “He brings a strong understanding of biathlon at the international level combined with unique insight to the sport. We are confident both our development and high-performance programs will progress under his leadership.” A Canmore native, Ward previously competed in biathlon and earned a master’s in education with an emphasis on coaching from the University of Victoria. He has spent “the past several seasons” as a Biathlon Canada national-team coach and will continue to coach the women’s team “in a dual role through the 2018 Olympics”, according to the press release.   – On Tuesday, June 6, former nordic-combined athlete and U.S. Ski…

May 26 Roundup: CAS Date for Johaug, Chevalier Hit by Car, Russian Athletes May Miss Paralympics

– Therese Johaug has a date for her hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A schedule published by CAS shows that Johaug is on the docket for June 6th. The Norwegian Olympic Committee suspended the Norwegian cross-country ski star for 13 months for testing positive for the steroid clostebol; the International Ski Federation (FIS) is appealing that decision, seeking a longer ban. – French biathlete Anais Chevalier, the bronze medalist in the World Championships sprint this past season, was hit by a car while training and has broken her collarbone. The 24-year-old will take about a month away from regular training to recover. “I’m angry, motorists, we are naked when we are cycling!!” she wrote on her Facebook page, according to a translation. “Thanks for not playing with our lives.” – The Visma Ski Classics long-distance race series has released its 2017-2018 competition schedule. Two of last year’s events have been…

May 18 Roundup: Britain Hires Norwegians, Northug News, Weng Runs for a Cause

-The British Nordic Team has announced the appointment of two Norwegian coaches, Hans Kristian Stadheim and Jostein Vinjerui. Stadheim joins the team as the distance coach. He was previously with marathon specialist Team Leaseplan in Norway, and before that coached the two-time Norwegian relay champions, Lyn Ski. “I want to help Great Britain to become a nation to be reckoned with in Cross Country – not only in the build up to Pyeongchang 2018, but also as we work towards Beijing 2022,” Stadheim said, according to Inside The Games. Vinjerui will be the sprint performance coach. He previously coached the Norwegian Ski Federation’s regional team, and already was working with a British athlete, Andrew Young. Vinjerui was the coach for the Icelandic national team for two seasons as well. “I am delighted to work with Hans Kristian to help develop the team towards PyeongChang and beyond, and also look to help them win…

May 4 Roundup: South Korean Team Shakeup; Lamy Chappuis Returns

— Four male cross-country skiers from South Korea were recently suspended from the national team after being caught drinking during the Asian Winter Games in February in Sapporo, Japan. The four athletes were banned for six months after being caught drinking at the Games and reportedly saying they drank two cans of beer, according to the Korea Herald. Wanting to send a message, the Korea Ski Association handed the four men six-month suspensions to discourage a similar incident from happening again at international competitions. The South Korean men’s national team is now down to two skiers, Kim Magnus and Cho Yong-jin, who did not take part in the drinking.The KSA decided not to renew three coaching contracts and will hire a new staff for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.   — Jason Lamy Chappuis is making a comeback after a year away from competing in nordic combined at the highest level, according to…

April 7 Roundup: Ski Tour Canada Wins; Weng Top Earner; Østberg Potentially Done?

-The 11th annual Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Prestige awards happened own March 21st in Ottawa, Canada according to a press release from Cross Country Canada. These awards recognize events from local to international championships and tournaments as well as honoring outstanding volunteers and organizations. Ski Tour Canada 2016 won the Canada Sport Event of the Year award. The tour consists of 12 days with the world’s best skiers coming from over 25 nations. It was part of the first World Cup Finals ever staged outside of Europe. By live streaming, the event it was able to reach an international audience of over 52 million viewers. The events were held in Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec City, Quebec, and Canmore, Alberta. –Heidi Weng of Norway was the World Cup’s top earner with winnings of about $274,000 U.S. dollars according to News in English. Though Marit Bjørgen dominated the World Cup races she…

Youngman Leads U.S. at 2017 Masters World Cup; Gray Finally Gets Gold

By Inge Scheve “I waited 55 years for this medal,” said Bob Gray. The 77-year-old Vermonter won the 15-kilometer freestyle race in the M10 category (men age 75-80) at the 2017 Masters World Cup in Klosters, Switzerland, earlier this month. Gray raced for the U.S. Ski Team from 1962 until 1974, but never earned a World Championships medal during that period. “When I first came on the U.S. Ski Team in 1962, we were ten minutes behind the Europeans in the 15 k event,” he said. “When I left the U.S. Ski Team in 1974, we were three minutes behind in the 15 k.” “It’s a lifelong dream for me to win a World Championship medal,” he continued. “I’m a frustrated athlete, you know.” Over the last two decades, Gray has participated in more than a dozen Masters World Cup events. “The competitors get older and there are fewer of them, but in my mind, this…

March 17 Roundup: Randall Not Racing; Sundby Stays in Norway; Arendz Elected Athlete Rep

– Despite training on Thursday, American Kikkan Randall will not be competing in the season-ending World Cup Finals in Québec City this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According to a U.S. Ski Team press release, Randall was not feeling 100 percent during warmup training on Thursday and decided to sit out the races. Fourteen other women are slated to represent the U.S. in Friday’s freestyle sprint, 12 U.S. men, 15 Canadian women, and 15 Canadian men. – This season’s overall and distance World Cup winner Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway will not be racing at World Cup Finals in Quebec this Friday through Sunday, March 17-19. Instead, he’ll be racing for Team United Bakeries in Saturday’s 54-kilometer Norwegian Birkebeinerrennet, the 10th event of the Ski Classics series. Another Norwegian national-team member, Eirik Brandsdal will also be racing the Birkebeinerrennet from Rena to Lillehammer. While the International Ski Federation (FIS) initially threatened to reduce Sundby’s prize money and bonuses if…

March 5 Roundup: Ski Classics Launches Nordic Trophy; NCAA Champs Coming Up in N.H.

– The Visma Ski Classics series is launching a new competition within the tour called the Visma Nordic Trophy, which will take place in Nordic countries. The competition started Sunday with the Vasaloppet in Sweden, the ninth event of the Ski Classics series. According to a Ski Classics press release, there will be prize money for the top three in both the men and women’s race. The next race will be the Birkebeinerrennet on March 18 in Norway.   – During 2017 Nordic World Championships in Lahti, Finland, the International Ski Federation (FIS) and Finnish Anti-Doping Agency spread the anti-doping message to athletes and coaches. At the athletes’ village in Vierumäki, Finland, competitors were given the opportunity to show their commitment to clean sport by signing a giant snowball as well as having their photo taken, according to a FIS press release. More than 400 athletes, coaches and support personnel joined the movement during the championships, held Feb. 22-March 5.   –  NCAA…