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May 19 Roundup: BBQ Ban, Club Certification, USSA Directors

– In the buildup to the pending 2022 Olympic host site decision set for July, Beijing has banned the use of suburban barbecuing. According to Reuters, the Chinese government blames barbecues for much of the smog that surrounds the city – a major concern for athletes and organizers.

Barbecues were already banned in the city, and some critics say that it is instead factories in the area that contribute to the air quality, rather than the barbecues.

PM2.5, the average levels of hazardous airborne particles, was measured at 85.9 micrograms per cubic meters in 2014, a four percent decrease from 2013. That is still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms.

– The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recently welcomed four new members to its board of directors. According to a USSA press release Dan Leever (Palm Beach, FL/ Vail, CO), Grete Eliassen (Salt Lake City), Chris Seemann (Winter Park, CO) and Martina Lussi (Lake Placid, NY) will join the ranks of the board.

Lussi will take over the jumping/nordic combined representative role from Joe Holland. According to USSA, she has been involved with the sport at various levels, ranging from parental commitments, volunteering, and position on the Women’s Ski Jumping USA board.

– This year sixteen addition ski and snowboard clubs from across the U.S. have been certified as part of the USSA’s new club development program. With three levels of distinction – Gold, Silver, Bronze – the certification recognizes clubs for their levels of organization. According to a press release more than 20 clubs are on deck to start the podium certification process in the 2015/2016 season.

Full List of 2015 Podium Clubs

Gold Certification
Bridger Ski Foundation (Bozeman, MT)
Carrabassett Valley Academy – Sugarloaf Ski Club (Carrabassett Valley, ME)
Green Mountain Valley School (Waitsfield, VT)
Killington Ski Club (Killington, VT)
The Loppet Foundation – Loppet Nordic Racing (Minneapolis, MN)
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team (Squaw Valley, CA)
Sugar Bowl Academy and Ski Team (Norden, CA)
Utah Olympic Park – Park City Nordic Ski Club/Fly Freestyle (Park City, UT)
Winter Park Competition Center (Winter Park, CO)

Silver Certification
Park City Sports Education Foundation/Park City Ski Team (Park City, UT)
Team Gilboa (Eden Prairie, MN)
Team Summit Colorado (Silverthorne, CO)

Bronze Certification
Bromley Outing Club (Peru, VT)*
The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain (Wilmington, VT)
Snowbird Ski Education Foundation*

*certification pending

USSA Presents 2014/2015 Season Awards

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) presented its season awards in Park City, Utah Saturday May 16. Of the many honors bestowed upon clubs, coaches, and athletes there were several notable members of the nordic community who received recognition. Liz Stephen was awarded USSA Cross Country Athlete of the Year for her impressive performances throughout the season, while Bryan Fletcher was named USSA Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year. Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork were awarded USSA International Cross Country Coach of the Year. Stratton Mountain School’s Sverre Caldwell was named USSA Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year. Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club was named USSA Cross Country Club of the Year. Kikkan Randall was recognized for her contribution to youth in sport with the Russell Wilder Award. Read the full USSA press release below. PARK CITY, UT – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recognized accomplished athletes and leaders on Friday at…

May 5 Roundup: Hoffman Blog, Kowalczyk, 2021 WCH

  – Over the years Noah Hoffman‘s blog has received a considerable amount of attention from the nordic community. From his intricately detailed posts into his daily routine, to the behind-the-scenes photos of a pro-athlete (such as this starting area shot from World Championships), his blog has become a staple of the North American nordic community. According to a recent post however, Hoffman is planning on scaling back his blog to focus on other aspects of being a professional skier. Don’t worry — he still plans on blogging pictures with descriptions throughout the year, meaning there’s still a chance for those aiming to earn a mention on the famed blog. – While Justyna Kowalczyk didn’t have the season she hoped for in 2014/2015, the Polish skier is as determined as ever to be at the top of the results once again. This time, however, her season may look slightly different. According to Aftenposten, Kowalczyk…

April 28 Roundup: Finnish National Team, New Additions to Craftsbury, CXC

  A previous version of this post stated that Flanders was a skier at Northern Michigan University when in fact she competed for Michigan Tech.  – According to Kestävyysurheilu.fi, The Finnish National Team announced its members for the upcoming season in late April. Highlighted by skiers such as Anne Kyllönen, Kerttu Niskanen, Krista Pärmäkoski, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Matti Heikkinen, and Iivo Niskanen the Finns will look to find further success in the 2015/2016 season. See the full list below: National team Women / Sprint + normal tours: Society Anne Kyllönen Kainuu Hiihtoseura Mona-Liisa Malvalehto Kouvola Hiihtoseura Laura Mononen Hämeenlinna Hiihtoseura Kerttu Niskanen Vieremän Koitto Krista Pärmäkoski Ikaalisten Athletes Riitta-Liisa Roponen Oulu Hiihtoseura Aino-Kaisa Saarinen Lempäälän race Men / Sprint: Martti Jylhä Vuokatti Ski Team Kainuu Toni Ketelä IF Minken Juho Mikkonen Kuhmo-Ski Anssi Pentsinen Jämsänkosken Ilves Matias Strandvall IF Minken Men / distance: Ristomatti Hakola Jämin Tendon Matti Heikkinen Vantaa Hiihtoseura Perttu Hyvärinen Riistavesi…

Sverre Caldwell Named USSA Domestic Nordic Coach of the Year

(press release) Park City, Utah – Stratton Mountain School Nordic Program Director Sverre Caldwell has been named the Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). This is the country’s highest coaching honor, and one that Sverre has won three times prior in 2009, 2003 and 2001. “I’m honored that USSA has named me Domestic Coach of the Year,” Caldwell said. “Our athletes have had a great year, and I’m proud to share in their success.” In the 2014-2015 season, the SMS Nordic Team and SMS T2 Team scored four top-10s at World Championships (including one silver medal), two top-10s at U23 World Championships, a sixth-place finish at World Juniors, and 14 of 21 team members qualified for Junior Nationals, and eight of these 14 earned All American status (top-10 or top-3 relay). At Junior Nationals, the SMS Nordic Team extended its streak…

April 23 Roundup: OTP, Winter Olympic Future, Northug Drama

– According to a press release from Cross Country Canada, the country’s high-performance athletes will receive more financial support in their quest for success through the Own the Podium program. The Canadian government committed to match up to $20 million over four years of private sector investment to support the next generation of athletes who are anywhere from five to eight years away from potential Olympic or Paralympic medals. The increased funding will allow for additional coaches, improve training opportunities, and give athletes increased resources to pursue their respective sports. – Will there always be a Winter Olympics? The writers at Vice Sports suggest that we shouldn’t take the world’s most competitive event in snow sports for granted. Due to climate change and a lack of water and precipitation they make the case that it will become harder and harder to pick a Winter Olympic venues that can and want to host the event….

April 21 Roundup: Retirements and Springtime Rounds

– The 2015 cross country season has ended and as always spring has brought several retirements to the nordic ski community. According to a variety of sources, including FIS and NRK Sport, at least eight of our favorite athletes will no longer compete in the World Cup. Notable women retirees include Canada’s Perianne Jones, Finland’s Riika Sarasoja-Lilja, Germany’s Claudia Nystad, and two Norwegians Celine Brun-Lie and Kristin Størmer Steira. Steira, the most notable of the retirees, has won eight World Championships medals and two Olympic medals including bronze in the Sochi 30 k and gold in the Whistler 4 x 5 k relay. Her 2015 season was marked with injury. She battled to earn a spot on the 2015 World Championship team after a double hip fracture earlier in the year, but suffered an ankle injury days before the 30 k that prevented her from competing. “I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work together…

Wadsworth, Bouchard to Lead Canadian World Cup Team, Part of Integrated Coaching Structure

(Press release) CANMORE, Alberta — Cross-Country Ski de Fond Canada will start the 2015 season with coaches Louis Bouchard and Justin Wadsworth and will continue to invest in developing Canadian coaching talent while focusing on putting the maple leaf back onto the international podium in 2018 and beyond. Wadsworth and Bouchard, who have worked closely together to deliver record-setting results for Canada’s cross-country ski athletes over the last five years, will share World Cup coaching duties. In addition, American-born Wadsworth, who has made his home in Canmore for much of the last decade, along with Quebec’s Bouchard, will guide a talented group of active coaches across the country whose focus will be on developing the next generation of Olympians from coast-to-coast. “If we truly want to put Canada’s cross-country ski athletes on the Olympic podium in 2018 and 2022, then I believe it is critical at this time to put the…

U.S. Skiers Find Success in Austrian Cup as Women Sweep, Men Land Two on Podium

It was a strong day for the U.S. in Eisenerz, Austria as both the women and men dominated the podium of the weekend’s Austrian Cup. In the women’s 7.5 k classic individual start, Chelsea Holmes of Alaska Pacific University led her teammates to a podium sweep with a time of 22:24.4. Just behind her were SMST2 teammates Annie Pokorny and Annie Hart who finished 40.1 and 43.3 seconds behind Holmes. Sun Valley’s Mary Rose finished fourth while APU skier Rosie Fankowski placed seventh. Erika Flowers of SMST2 finished ninth, followed by Paige Schember of Sun Valley in 10th and Craftsbury’s Liz Guiney in 11th. In the men’s 15 k classic interval start APU’s Lex Treinen won with a time of 40:29.2 His teammate Eric Packer finished 7.4 seconds behind to claim second and land two Americans on top of the podium. Reese Hanneman, also of APU, and Ben Saxton of SMST2 finished sixth and…

Gelso Bummed to Drop 50 k, but ‘Made the Right Call’

FALUN, Sweden — After striving for years, Matt Gelso made his first World Championships team this season, traveling with the U.S. Ski Team to Falun. The Truckee, Calif., native, who nows skis for Sun Valley, placed 54th in the 30 k skiathlon at the beginning of the Championships. He started Sunday’s 50 k classic mass start to provide the other bookend, but was disappointed to have to drop out after 22 k. “I was feeling completely spent,” Gelso wrote in an email. “From the beginning of the race I was struggling and once I came off the main pack I went backwards quickly. I dropped the race because of how bad I felt and where I was. Not even halfway through the race and I was feeling really bad and way out the back. It was a hard course and really hard conditions and I had nothing in the tank…