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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 seventh in the 15 k.

While the Americans appeared to ski to the podium with ease, their results were hard fought due to challenging waxing conditions which required a choice between strong kick or glide. Many U.S. racers chose the latter, which served them well in their hunt for Austrian Cup success.

The next stop for the American skiers will be the OPA Cup Finals in Chamonix, France. The Finals begin March 13th with the men’s 2.5 k and women’s 3.3 k prologues.

Results: Women | Men

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

Matt Gelso around 4 k into Sunday's 50 k classic mass start at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden.

Matt Gelso around 4 k into Sunday’s 50 k classic race at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden.

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 to keep skiing, let alone race.”

Conditions were soft, slow, and sloppy, with the leaders taking 15 more minutes to finish the 50 k than they had in sunny Italy two years ago.

It was a bad day to have a bad day.

“Today was the kind of day that is really hard even when you feel good and your fitness is top notch,” Gelso wrote. “When you are feeling horrible and really struggling it is borderline impossible. I’m not proud of what I did today, but it is what it is and I made the right call.”

Women’s Ski Jumping USA President Deedee Corradini Dies at 70

Women's Ski Jumping USA President Deedee Corradini     passed away on March 1. (Photo: Dan Campbell Photography)

Women’s Ski Jumping USA President Deedee Corradini passed away on March 1. (Photo: Dan Campbell Photography)

(WSJ-USA press release)

PARK CITY, Utah (March 1, 2015) – Women’s Ski Jumping USA has lost its tenacious and loved leader, and the world has lost a great influencer in sport equality and women’s rights.

Deedee Corradini died March 1 at her home in Park City, Utah. She was 70.

In a statement issued by the family:

“Our amazing mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and mentor, died today at her home in Park City, surrounded by the light, love, and gratitude of her loved ones. She fought a fierce six-month battle with stage 4 metastasized non-small cell lung cancer (the non-smoking type).  

Our lives will never be the same without her, yet we celebrate her legacy with such JOY. We feel her grace, and know she will continue to guide us deeply though her courageous spirit and extraordinary light that lives within us all.”

As the only president of Women’s Ski Jumping USA for more than 10 years, Corradini was the outspoken and unyielding leader in the global fight to allow women to participate in ski jumping at the Olympic level. That dream was realized in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Corradini is the past president of the distinguished International Women’s Forum. She was a Senior Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at The Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership at Furman University, and senior vice president of Prudential Utah Real Estate. Corradini is the only female mayor of Salt Lake City, serving from 1992-2000, and former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“There’s no one else who could have led us and made the difference she did. She was a force. She was amazing to watch,” said Peter Jerome, founder of WSJ-USA. “We will deeply miss her, but also are profoundly grateful that we knew her and experienced this great journey with her at the helm.”

U.S. Starters for 30 and 50 k Classic Races at World Championships

The U.S. Ski Team announced its starters for the women’s 30 k classic mass start, to be held on Saturday in Falun, Sweden, and the men’s 50 k mass start scheduled for Sunday.

In the 30 k, the Americans will start Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Liz Stephen, and Jessie Diggins – the same lineup they used in Thursday’s 4 x 5 k relay, which placed fourth.

“Right now, Sophie [Caldwell] and Ida [Sargent] are a little more focused on sprint, Caitlin [Gregg] is quite a bit stronger in skate than she is in classic, and Kikkan [Randall] came down with a cold the other day after the race,” U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover said after Friday’s men’s relay. “So they’re gone. Then we have these four who are feeling good, in good shape, that’s why they were in the relay – so they are the four we could really count on to be in the best fitness for the 30 k.”

Diggins was not initially planning to compete in the 30 k, telling FasterSkier after the relay that she would save her energy for the rest of the World Cup season and instead cheer so loudly she wouldn’t be able to talk afterwards.

“I wasn’t planning to race, but a spot opened up and I have been feeling really good, so I thought ‘why not?!?'” Diggins wrote in an email on Friday evening. “It will be so fun to be out racing especially with all the fans here on a weekend, and although classic isn’t my preferred mode of travel I know that it’ll still be a great experience! The only downside to racing 30 k is it might make me tired going into Lahti, where there are some potentially good races for me, so I made the plan with my coaches that if by 15 k I’m not having a good race, I’ll drop and save my energy for the sprints coming up later.”

In the men’s 50 k, Noah Hoffman, Matt Gelso, Erik Bjornsen, and Kris Freeman will toe the line.

Grover explained that the sprinters wouldn’t compete, “that’s for sure”, and that Northern Michigan University skier Kyle Bratrud is flying back to the United States to prepare for NCAA Championships.

Excitement Builds Before Women’s Relay at World Champs

pre_relay2

FALUN, Sweden — Fans are pouring into Falun’s Lugnet Ski Stadium as the world’s best cross country skiers prepare to compete in the women’s 4 x 5 k relay at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The Norwegian relay team of Marit Bjørgen, Therese Johaug, Heidi Weng, and Astrid Jacobsen enter the race as heavy favorites. Tuesday’s 10 k freestyle proved the Norwegians aren’t invincible, however, as Weng skied to their top finish in 22nd after complaining of poor wax.

The Swedish team featuring 10 k gold medalist Charlotte Kalla and star sprinter Stina Nilsson will look to repeat its stunning gold-medal performance in the 2014 Olympics in front of a home crowd.

After a historic double podium in the 10 k freestyle by Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg, the Americans are hoping to earn the U.S. Ski Team’s first medal in a relay event. The Americans’ best championships relay result came in 2013 when the women finished fourth. To earn a podium they will have to overcome strong teams from Germany, France, Russia, Poland and Italy, all of whom bested the U.S. at the 2014 Olympics. Their 2015 team will feature Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Liz Stephen, and Diggins.

Start list

Pre-relay

Team Sprint Day at World Champs

pre team sprint falun World Champs

FALUN, Sweden — Fans are lining the sprint course as 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships welcomes another day of racing in the form of the 1.2 and 1.4 k freestyle team sprints.

The American women, the defending world champions in the women’s team sprint, will field a new team at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Sophie Caldwell will join Jessie Diggins as the U.S. attempts to defend its title in a field that features fierce competition in the form of Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Sweden’s Stina Nilsson and Ida Ingemarsdotter.

Read more about the decision to start Diggins and Caldwell here.

In the men’s 1.4 k freestyle team sprint, the Americans will start Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton while the Canadians will feature Jesse Cockney and Len Valjas.

Racing begins at 12:30 CET (6:30 EST).

Start lists: women | men  

pre team sprint 2

Thousands Pour into Falun for World Champs Skiathlon

Fans wait to enter the 2015 World Championships venue three hours before the start of Saturday's 15/30 k skiathlons. Organizers estimate 50,000 spectators to attend the event.

Fans wait to enter the 2015 World Championships venue three hours before the start of Saturday’s 15/30 k skiathlons. Organizers estimate 50,000 spectators to attend the event.

FALUN, Sweden — Organizers of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships estimate that roughly 50,000 fans will descend upon the Falun Lugnet Ski Stadium Saturday for the sold-out women’s 15 k and men’s 30 k skiathlons. If the thousands of fans who have already staked-out positions in the stands and on course are any indicator, it appears as if the estimates are well on their way to being met.

Marit Bjørgen will look to claim her second win of the week in the 15 k. The Norwegian is the large favorite – she’s won eight of her last 12 skiathlon starts. If she skis to victory in Saturday’s race, she will tie Elena Välbe of Russia for the most gold medals (14) in World Championships competition. After Thursday’s sprint win, she is the most-winning skier in history, Alpine or Nordic, in World Championships with 30 medals. She will face strong competition from her teammates, Therese Johaug and Heidi Weng, as well as Charlotte Kalla of Sweden.

Dario Cologna enters the 30 k as the one of the men’s favorite, with wins in the skiathlon at the 2013 Championships and the 2014 Olympics. He will have to overcome Norway’s Petter Northug, Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson, and a cast of other strong Norwegians, Swedes, and Russians to snatch victory.

Headlining a small squad of three Canadians is Alex Harvey, second place finisher in Thursday’s classic sprint. He told FasterSkier after his podium finish that while his sprinting has gone especially well in the 2015 season, he is most focused on the distance races at Worlds, including Saturday’s skiathlon. Harvey won the 2014 World Cup finals skiathlon in Falun last year.

He will be joined by teammate Ivan Babikov in the 30 k, while Perianne Jones race as the only Canadian in the 15 k.

Liz Stephen will lead the U.S. Ski Team in Saturday’s skiathlon. The Vermont native will look to improve her skiathlon result from January’s World Cup in Rybinsk, Russia where she finished seventh. Racing alongside Stephen in the 15 k will be Sadie Bjornsen, Kikkan Randall, and Rosie Brennan.

Noah Hoffman will compete in his second race since he broke his fibula in November. In last week’s Östersund Wold Cup Hoffman skied to 38th. He is joined by Kris Freeman, Matt Gelso, and Erik Bjornsen.

The women’s 15 k skiathlon will begin at 13:00 CET (7 a.m. EST) and the men’s 30 k skiathlon at 14:30 CET (8:30 a.m. EST).

Start lists: Women | Men

Excitement Builds Minutes Before World Champs Sprint

sprintq2

FALUN, Sweden — Thousands of bustling fans are pouring onto the trails of Falun for the first day of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The women’s and men’s classic sprint qualification is set to begin at 1 pm CET, with American Ida Sargent as the first starter of the day.

Three other american women will compete against the world’s best, including Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, and Kikkan Randall. Perianne Jones is the lone Canadian woman on Thursday’s start list. They will have to battle with the likes of Norwegian Marit Bjørgen, who is one podium away from earning the most World Championships medals by any skier, nordic or alpine. She is currently tied with Bjørn Daehlie at 29 medals.

The Canadian men will field Alex Harvey, Len Valjas, and Jesse Cockney while the Americans will start Andy Newell, Simi Hamilton, Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess and Ben Saxton.

Start lists: women | men

U.S. Ski Team Finds Its Funk in Falun (Video)

The U.S. Ski Team is getting funky in Falun, Sweden.

On the eve of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the Americans released their newest music video to Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk. Likely choreographed by Jessie Diggins, the video was filmed across Europe over the past weeks of the 2015 season and features everything from gold chains to a shirtless Simi Hamilton. The suave dance moves follow the USST’s 2013 music video to Taylor Swift’s I knew You Were Trouble. 

Don’t believe us? Just watch… below or here.

USSA Announces Nordic Worlds Live Stream Schedule

(Press release)

FALUN, Sweden (Feb. 18, 2015) – A full schedule of medal events will be streamed live to the USA from the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships starting in Falun Feb. 18-March 1, opening with classic sprints for men and women on Thursday. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, in partnership with presenting sponsor L.L.Bean, has announced the full schedule of events to be live streamed over the next 11 days of competition.

The Feb. 18-Mar. 1 World Championships will mark the first time U.S. fans have had comprehensive free access to an English language broadcast of World Championships. Each event will stream live on usskiteam.com, with parallel transmission on universalsports.com. Video highlights will also be available on the USSA Network on YouTube. Fans in the USA and Canada can also follow the action live on the Falun2015 Live Arena mobile app for iOS devices developed by Falun 2015 digital experience partner Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC).

The live streaming is the result of a unique partnership developed by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to obtain domestic broadcast rights and provide the first-ever live coverage to nordic fans across America. A full “How to Watch” guide plus schedule is available at usskiteam.com.

FIS NORDIC WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS LIVE STREAMING SCHEDULE (all times EST)

Thursday, Feb. 19
9:15 a.m. – Men’s and women’s classic sprint

Friday, Feb. 20
4:00 a.m. – Nordic combined HS100 jump
10:00 a.m. – Nordic combined 10k cross country
11:00 a.m. – Women’s HS100 jump

Saturday, Feb. 21
7:00 a.m. – Women’s 15k skiathlon
8:30 a.m. – Men’s 30k skiathlon
10:30 a.m. – Men’s HS100 jump

Sunday, Feb. 22
4:00 a.m. – Nordic combined HS100 team jump
8:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s freestyle team sprint
10:00 a.m. – Nordic combined 4x5k relay

Tuesday, Feb. 24
7:30 a.m. – Women’s 10k freestyle

Wednesday, Feb. 25
7:30 a.m. – Men’s 15k freestyle
11:00 a.m. – Men’s HS134 jump

Thursday, Feb. 26
4:00 a.m. – Nordic combined HS134 jump
7:30 a.m. – Women’s 4x5k relay
9:15 a.m. – Nordic combined 10k

Friday, Feb. 27
7:30 a.m. – Men’s 4x10k relay

Saturday, Feb. 28
4:00 a.m. – Nordic combined HS134 team jump
7:00 a.m. – Men’s 30k classic
10:00 a.m. – Nordic combed 3×7.5k team relay
11:00 a.m. – Men’s HS134 jump

Sunday, March 1
7:30 a.m. – Men’s 50k classic

World Champs to Be Streamed Live From Falun

(press release)

Live action from the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden is coming to America Feb. 18-March 1. Fans across the USA and Canada will be able to follow the action at the World Championships with both live and video on demand highlights through an innovative new partnership from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Every cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping event will be streamed live on usskiteam.com, as well as through the official Falun2015 Live Arena app.

The Feb. 18-Mar. 1 World Championships will mark the first time U.S. fans have had comprehensive free access to an English language broadcast of World Championships. Each event will stream live on usskiteam.com, with parallel transmission on universalsports.com. Video highlights will also be available on the USSA Network on YouTube.

L.L.Bean will be the presenting sponsor of the live coverage from Falun. L.L.Bean has always had a love affair with cross country skiing, beginning decades ago when it first began offering skis to its customers, as well as sharing its passion for the sport by offering a wide variety of courses, trips, tours and clinics and demonstrations for skiing. Most recently, L.L.Bean has teamed up with Kikkan Randall, the most decorated cross country ski racer in U.S. history, to be its newest product design and testing partner. As part of its support of the live streaming coverage, L.L.Bean will feature a 30-second spot featuring Randall, as well as additional content that will be integrated into the broadcasts.

The U.S. Ski Team will feature athletes like cross country World Champions Randall and Jessie Diggins, rising World Cup star Liz Stephen, as well as defending world ski jumping champion Sarah Hendrickson, plus a Nordic combined team featuring Olympic champion Billy Demong and brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher. Over 700 athletes from more than 50 countries will compete in the Nordic World Championships in cross country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined events.

The Falun2015 Live Arena app is powered by Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), the World Championships’ digital experience partner, who has created a platform that will collect a vast amount of data and information from myriad sources throughout the championships.

Most notably, the app will provide a context for the data by correlating static maps and athlete information with competition tracking information alongside the live streaming. It will provide a much more engaging experience than simply watching a video stream, allowing users to be more involved with the event itself.

The Falun2015 Live Arena mobile app is expected to provide the best ‘second screen’ application ever for a skiing event, allowing fans to use the app as a single source for following the race, or a complement to watching live web streaming on usskiteam.com or universalsports.com.

The app is available for iOS devices.

Falun2015 Live Arena Features

Track view: Take part in the competition from the point of view of your favorite skier, or from the TV camera of your choice.

Ski jump: Follow the ski jumping live.

Lugnet: Take a tour around the ski stadium at Lugnet and take part in the events on-site.

Medals plaza: Join the celebrations and medal ceremonies at the main square in Falun.

Interactive camera: Follow the action and zoom to points of interest from your free-flying virtual camera.

Connected Snow: Through sensors and connectivity, app users can experience a heat map, showing where the snow is coldest – an important parameter for skiing.

USSA Announces World Championships Ski Jumping Team

(Press release)

Defending World Champion Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT) headlines a team of two men and five women named to represent the USA in the Feb. 18-March 1 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Falun.

Hendrickson will be joined by newcomers Nita Englund (Florence, WI) and Tara Garaghty-Moats (W. Fairlee, VT) and veterans Jessica Jerome and Abby Hughes (both Park City, UT). Junior Will Rhoads (Park City, UT) will join Olympian Nick Alexander (Lebanon, NH) for the men.

The Championships open in Falun Feb. 18. The entire Championships schedule will be streamed live by the USSA at www.usskiteam.com and will be available on the Live Arena Falun2015 mobile app in America.

HIGHLIGHTS

Two men and five women ski jumpers were named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to compete in the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships Feb. 18-Mar. 1 in Falun, Sweden.

Returning from a knee injury that impacted her Olympic season, Sarah Hendrickson comes into the event as the defending champion, having won two years ago in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Nita Englund, making her first World Championship Team, has led the USA this season with strong results including a career first World Cup podium last weekend in Romania. Joining her is first-time team member Tara Garaghty-Moats, who had a career best top-10 in Romania.

Veteran Jessica Jerome will be making her fourth World Championships appearance, with Abby Hughes in her third.

Junior Will Rhoads, who scored a Continental Cup podium last month in Japan, will join Olympian Nick Alexander on the men’s team.

The schedule will include a new mixed gender team, combining two men and two women.
Each of the ski jumping events will be streamed live on usskiteam.com.

2015 U.S. World Championship Ski Jumping Team
(Name, hometown, birthdate, USSA club, past World Champs)

Men
Nick Alexander, Lebanon, NH, 8/24/88, Lebanon Outing Club
Will Rhoads, Park City, UT, 6/8/95, UOP Sports Clubs

Women
Nita Englund, Florence, WI, 6/10/92, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Tara Garaghty-Moats, Fairlee, VT, 4/12/93, Lebanon Outing Club
Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT, 8/1/94, Women’s Ski Jumping USA (2009, 2011, 2013)
Abby Hughes, Park City, UT, 6/21/89, Women’s Ski Jumping USA (2011, 2013)
Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, 2/8/87, Women’s Ski Jumping USA (2009, 2011, 2013)

SCHEDULE
FIS Nordic Ski World Championships
Falun, Sweden
Feb. 18 – Opening Ceremony
Feb. 19 – Women’s HS100 ski jumping qualifications
Feb. 20 – Women’s HS100 ski jumping finals
Feb. 20 – Men’s HS100 ski jumping qualifications
Feb. 21 – Men’s HS100 ski jumping finals
Feb. 22 – Mixed gender HS100 ski jumping
Feb. 25 – Men’s HS134 ski jumping qualifications
Feb. 26 – Men’s HS134 ski jumping finals
Feb. 28 – Men’s HS134 team ski jumping

QUOTES
Sarah Hendrickson, defending World Champion
Going into this season I was very nervous about defending my title. Now, I feel like there is very little pressure on me. Since I have had some mediocre results this season, I don’t think I’m seen as a threat. Of course, I am putting in more work and effort than ever to get back on top but I am seeing this year as building year.

Nita Englund, top-ranked U.S. women’s ski jumper
I am so happy about making the World Championship Team. I’m glad to be in the position I am in right now and I hope to keep the momentum going. Our team is a good mix of old and new and there should be some good surprises in Sweden!

Will Rhoads, top-ranked U.S. men’s ski jumper
I am really excited about being named to the 2015 World Championships team. Falun was the venue where I competed in my first ever FIS event, so it will be amazing to go back for the biggest event of my life so far. It is an honor representing the United States and I am looking forward to a great week in Sweden.

Clint Jones, USA Ski Jumping Head Coach
We are pleased with this year’s nominations. I have known Will as an athlete since I coached him at the club level. I am happy to see how much he has grown, and his podium performance at the Continental Cup earlier this season in Sapporo is just a glimpse of things to come. Nick Alexander is also an athlete to keep an eye on. We have seen some great jumps from him in the last year, and it will be exciting to see what he can do in Sweden.

Alan Alborn, Women’s Ski Jumping USA Head Coach
This 2015 World Championship Team represents what the United States has to offer from East to West thanks to many years of hard work from countless volunteers, coaches and families trying to build this sport. I am proud of this team and the diversity, as well as potential, these athletes bring to the table. We are proud of the whole team from our defending World Champion Sarah Hendrickson and all she has over come the last years to our first time World Cup podium finisher Nita Englund.

World Championships Draws Top Skiers to Vasaloppet

The FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Falun, Sweden, from Feb. 18-March 1 are creating a record-strong starting field at Sweden’s Vasaloppet on March 8.

With less than a month remaining until the event, several big names can now be confirmed. Russia’s Alexander Legkov and Maxim Vylegzhanin and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk are a few of those who will challenge the cross-country skiers at the start in Berga, Sweden.

“The way things are looking now, this could be a historic Vasaloppet where we get a real fight between the experienced cross-country specialists and the established World Championship and Olympic skiers,” the Vasaloppet’s acting sports manager Johan Eriksson said in a press release on Wednesday. “We have had championship skiers before, but 2015 looks to be a year where we can present a start field filled with the absolute world elite on both the women’s and men’s side.”

With the long-distance series Swix Ski Classics gaining traction over the past few years, an increasing number of top-level skiers specialize in the marathon distances. For them, Vasaloppet is one of the main goals for the season, as the race is the longest and oldest of its kind in the world.

But with the 2015 World Championships taking place in Falun just a week prior to the Vasaloppet this year, several top World Cup racers and Olympians are signed up for the legendary 90-kilometer classic race, including Legkov, who won gold in the 50 k at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and Vylegzhanin, who tallied three silver medals in Sochi.

Kowalczyk has two Olympic golds and two World Championship golds, four overall World Cup victories, and remains the only person to have won Tour de Ski four years in a row.

There are also several Swedish World Cup skiers who have announced their participation, including current national 50 k champions Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson as well as Anders Södergren, who is an extra for the Swedish national team for the 2015 World Championships.

“We see great opportunities to attract interesting athletes now that everyone in the skiing world is coming to Dalarna for the World Championships,” Eriksson said. “We are in contact with many, but most wish to wait until after the World Championships to make a decision.”

– Inge Scheve

Patterson 13th in U23 15k, Caldwell and Bratrud Top-20; Bouffard-Nesbitt 17th in 10k

Scott Patterson (Alaska Pacific University), Patrick Caldwell (Dartmouth College/U.S. Ski Team), and Kyle Bratrud (Northern Michigan University) made the most of the long trip to Kazakhstan, finishing 13th, 15th, and 19th, respectively, in the 15 k freestyle at U23 World Championships in Almaty on Thursday.

Florian Notz of Germany won the competition, putting in a strong finishing loop to move from second to a 9.5-second win over Norway’s Simen Hegstad Kreuger the last four kilometers. Patterson was ranked ninth at 11.7 k, but finished 13th (+1:27.8). Caldwell was 1:40.1 behind Notz’s time and Bratrud, the U.S. national champion over this distance and technique, was 1:49 back. Logan Hanneman (University of Alaska Fairbanks) finished 40th, +2:54.1.

For Canada, Raphael Couturier (CNEPH), Knute Johnsgaard (Yukon Elite Squad), Scott Hill (Thunder Bay NDC), and Colin Ferrie (Black Jack) finished 41st, 47th, 48th, and 50th, respectively.

Norway’s Barbro Kvaale took the win in the women’s 10 k, besting Daria Storozhilova of Russia by 5.8 seconds. The top North American was Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt in 17th (+1:18.0). Fellow Canadian Cendrine Browne (CNEPH) finished 23rd and Dahria Beatty (Alberta World Cup Academy) 30th.

For the United States, Joanne Reid placed 25th, Cambria McDermott (Montana State University) 32nd, Annie Pokorny (SMST2) 36th, and Paige Schember (Sun Valley) 38th.

Results: men/women

 

 

Russia’s National Junior XC Champion and Female Youth Skier Banned for Doping

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (announced Wednesday that two of its junior skiers have been sanctioned with two-year bans for doping, according to the Associated Press.

In a statement, it named Russia’s reigning national junior 50-kilometer cross-country skiing champion, Nikita Mashkin, 20, who was banned for an unspecified  “breach of anti-doping rules” and 19-year-old Arina Kalinina.

Russian sports have been under pressure lately for multiple doping scandals, and last month, cross-country skiing was named as one of several sports in which the Russian Anti-Doping Agency allegedly covered up positive tests for top athletes, according to former agency official Vitaly Stepanov‘s accusations in a German documentary. Those statements led the World Anti-Doping Agency to initiate a major investigation.

Kling, Scott in the Money at China Tour de Ski; Kling Wins Sprint, 2nd in Mass Start

Americans Peter Kling (second from l) and Ryan Scott (r) on the podium after placing first and fourth in the China Tour de Ski sprint on Monday in Inner Mongolia. (Photo: Peter Kling)

Americans Peter Kling (second from l) and Ryan Scott (r) on the podium after placing first and fourth, respectively, in the China Tour de Ski sprint on Monday in Inner Mongolia. (Photo: Peter Kling)

(Note: This post has been updated to include updated information regardubg the China Tour de Ski classic sprint on Monday, Jan. 5.)

Peter Kling and Ryan Scott both made the podium at the China Tour de Ski on Monday, with Kling (a former Alaska Pacific University member) and Scott (an independent racer) placing first and fourth in the 1.2-kilometer classic sprint in XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia.

Peter Kling with his check for $10,000 Chinese Yuan (roughly $1,600 dollars) after winning the Tour de Ski China's 1.2 k sprint on Monday in Inner Mongolia.

Peter Kling with his check for $10,000 Chinese Yuan (roughly $1,600 dollars) after winning the China Tour de Ski’s 1.2 k sprint on Monday in Inner Mongolia. (Courtesy photo)

“The sprint was a 2 lap flat course and it was windy,” Kling explained in an email. “Tactics played a huge role in the race. The technicians did a great job on the skis. … Two Swedish guys are waxing for the entire group. Rolf and Per — they have been here many times and work hard.”

Kling earned 10,000 Chinese Yuan (RMB) for the stage win, slightly more than $1,600 dollars. In fourth, Scott was presented with a check for 2,000 RMB, roughly $320 dollars.

According to Scott, organizers are covering all of his travel, room and food, “on top of a prize purse that would put U.S. National’s to shame,” he wrote in an email last week. “My only expense is $500 Euros to the organizers and paying for bags.”

At U.S. nationals this week in Houghton, Mich., winners walk away with $1,200 dollars for each win (compared to $750 for a SuperTour win). Second place at nationals gets $600, and third receives $300, according to the USSA 2015 competition guide.

On Sunday, following a 17-hour bus ride across China, the two Americans raced the 5.7 k freestyle mass start in XiWuQi. Kling finished second to China’s Sun Quinghai, who won it by 0.7 seconds in 13:24.8. Norway’s Eirik Bruland placed third, 1.3 seconds after Quinghai, and Scott was 30th (+1:17.2). Quinghai also won the 1.6 k sprint at the beginning of the Tour.

“The Inner Mongolia population is extremely welcoming and friendly,” Kling wrote. “Today following the sprint the whole tour went and watched a camel race.”

Tomorrow, the Tour heads to Nalati in the northwestern region of China known as XinJiang, where a 5 k mass start and another sprint will be held as the final stages from Jan. 8-9.

The awards ceremony at the China Tour de Ski on Monday in Inner Mongolia, where Peter Kling won the 1.2 k sprint and fellow American Ryan Scott was fourth. (Photo: Peter Kling)

The awards ceremony at the China Tour de Ski on Monday in Inner Mongolia, where Peter Kling won the 1.2 k sprint and fellow American Ryan Scott was fourth. (Photo: Peter Kling)

•Opener: Jan. 1 Freestyle sprint, Changchun, Jilin Province

•Stage 1: Jan. 2 Vasaloppet China 50 k classic, Changchun, Jilin Province

•Stage 2: Jan. 4 Mass start 5.7 k and 3.8 k, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia

•Stage 3: Jan. 5 Sprint, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia

•Stage 4: Jan. 8 Mass start 5 k, Nalati, XinJiang

•Stage 5: Jan. 9 Sprint, Nalati, XinJiang

 

Recent results: Men’s 5.7 k mass start | Women’s 3.8 k mass start

For Monday’s sprint results, check back at Tour de Ski China.com

Kling Fifth in Tour de China Sprint, 15th in China Vasaloppet 50 k

Sweden's Bob Niemi Impola winning the first official stage of the 2015 China Tour de Ski on Friday in the 50 k Vasaloppet China, outsprinting China's Shang Jincai by 1.8 seconds in the 50 k classic around Jingyuetan Park in Changchun, China. (Photo: Vasaloppet China)

Sweden’s Bob Niemi Impola (13) winning the first official stage of the 2015 China Tour de Ski on Friday, outsprinting China’s Shang Jincai by 1.8 seconds in the 50 k classic mass start around Jingyuetan Park in Changchun, China. (Photo: Vasaloppet China)

The Tour de China opened on Thursday, New Year’s Day, in Deer Valley — Changchun’s Deer Valley, that is — where the Chinese team topped the podium in the elite freestyle sprints.

Qinghai Sun and Dandan Man won the men’s and women’s 1.6 k sprints, respectively. Sun beat out Sweden’s Robin Bryntesson in the four-man men’s final, and former Alaska Pacific University (APU) skier Peter Kling was the fifth man out after being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

He finished fifth overall after China’s Tang Jinle and Sweden’s Petter Reistad, respectively.

Fellow American Ryan Scott placed 13th overall after making the quarterfinals.

After missing the top-16 qualifying cutoff in 19th, Sweden’s Bob Niemi Impola went on to win Friday’s distance race: the 13th annual Vasaloppet China 50 k classic mass start, also in Changchun. Impola edged China’s Shang Jincai by 1.5 seconds in 2:17:06.7, and Jinle notched his second-straight podium in third, 1:36.6 seconds behind Impola.

Bryntesson finished fourth, another 29 seconds back, and Qinghai placed sixth. Kling was 15th (+8:54.9) and Scott 23rd (+15:42) for the U.S. out of 40 men.

In the women’s 50 k race, Li Hongxue led a Chinese sweep of the top eight with a winning time of 2:42:16.3. She held off Chi Chunxue by 4.7 seconds and Ma Qinghua by 30.8 seconds.

The Tour continues Sunday in Inner Mongolia with the third stage — the 15 k mass start — and includes six races total, wrapping up Jan. 9 in XinJiang, China.

In an email, Scott explained that he decided to participate in the Tour de China for the first time when a past Swedish winner put him in touch with the organizer.

“From there it was just a matter of simply coordinating the logistics,” Scott wrote. “They actually cover all of my travel, room, and food — on top of a prize purse that would put U.S. National’s to shame. My only expense is $500 Euros to the organizers and paying for bags.”

  • Opener: Jan. 1 Freestyle sprint, Changchun, Jilin Province
  • Stage 1: Jan. 2 Vasaloppet China 50 k classic, Changchun, Jilin Province
  • Stage 2: Jan. 4 Mass start 15 k, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
  • Stage 3: Jan. 5 Sprint, XiWuQi, Inner Mongolia
  • Stage 4: Jan. 8 Mass start 5 k, Nalati, XinJiang
  • Stage 5: Jan. 9 Sprint, Nalati, XinJiang

Jan. 1 Roundup: Nationals Course, Sweden Tour Boycott?

- If you’re as excited as we are for the 2015 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Mich., Michigan Tech skiers have made the perfect video for you. Using a program by Trail Genius, the skiers have mapped out the 5 k course that will be used at the championship by using mapping and video. Check it out here.

Also, be sure to follow FasterSkier’s on-site reporting during nationals, which take place Jan. 2-10.

– According to Dagbladet, the Swedish national team is threatening to boycott the Tour de Ski‘s athlete presentation due to poor lodging conditions for the first stage of the Tour. The Swedish national team was placed in a hotel roughly half-an-hour away from the venue while the majority of other teams are located near the prologue venue in Oberstdorf, Germany. The Norwegian team was originally in the same situation until they “quietly” found better lodging.

“Naturally, we have reacted. This violates the rules,” Swedish coach Rikard Grip said. He added that the team was contemplating boycotting the Tour’s athlete presentation taking place Friday.

– Speaking of the Tour de Ski, check out the FIS Tour guide here.

Dec. 30 Roundup: Women’s Conference, Falun2015, Kincaid, Glove War?

- A recently published report by Pavlina Sudrich details the first-ever FIS coaching seminar for women, which took place Sept. 7-10, 2014 in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. According to the report, the seminar came on the heels of the 2014 season, where only one percent of accredited World Cup coaching staff was female.

“We [cross-country skiing] need more women as coaches and leaders. We cannot order more female coaches, but we can motivate nations to give them more opportunities,” Vegard Ulvang, the FIS cross-country chairman, said, explaining that the seminar was a first step to include more women in coaching.

The coaching seminar included 18 women from nine different countries, with the majority of the participants having no experience with World Cup coaching.

- The FIS Nordic World Championships in Falun, Sweden are just around the corner and competitors from across the globe are preparing for the biggest skiing competition of the 2015 season. Two skiers from Australia, including Callum Watson who was injured earlier this season, were recently featured in a Falun2015 promotional video. Check out the video below:

– To curb the growing moose-related injuries in Anchorage’s Kicaid Park some community members are suggesting a moose hunt. The park, which serves as one of the nation’s elite cross country ski venues, has long seen moose on its trails but according to Anchorage Dispatch News, several users including hunt-proponent Ira Edwards say that there are too many.

There are similar hunts in Alaska, including one in the Campbell known as the “Hillside hunt.”

The proposal has support from the public. In a 2010 survey conducted by Responsive Management, 70 percent of Anchorage adults supported the idea of a moose hunt in Anchorage, including large city parks like Kincaid.

At the same time, however, Holly Spoth-Torres, Anchorage’s superintendent of parks said, “at this time, the Municipality of Anchorage does not support hunting on municipal parkland.”

– Teammates Therese Johaug and Marit Bjørgen are often vying for the top spot in the World Cup, but some Norwegian news outlets are suggesting their competition may extend beyond racing. The new competition comes in a business from – both skiers have their respective glove lines, with Johaug starting her unique brand this season and with Bjørgen’s signature Craft gloves. While the some media hyped the possible competition between the two skiing stars, Johaug’s manager Jørn Ernst said that he thinks neither one of them has thought about their competing sales.

Dec. 17 Roundup: Kowalczyk, Cologna, 2022 Olympics

- Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland hasn’t started the season the way she hoped. After Sunday’s sprint in Davos Switzerland where she finished 53rd, Kowalczyk decided to sit out the next set of World Cup races, also and Davos.

“Today is my last start in the World Cup this year,” Kowalczyk wrote on her Facebook page after the race. “It has been a tough year.”

She plans to return to racing after the December break for the 2015 Tour de Ski.

– According to NBC, Dario Cologna was recently named Switzerland’s runner-up to the 2014 Athlete of the Year award. The winner of the honor, tennis player Roger Federer, won for a sixth time.

– According to USA Today, European football clubs and leagues are proposing a alternative start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup so that it lasts from May to June. Originally, organizers suggested that the World Cup take place in January and February in order to beat the heat of Qatar’s summer’s. However, the event would likely conflict with the 2022 winter Olympics, which would possibly prove troublesome for both events. The new dates would be beneficial for both the Olympics and and the European clubs, who’s seasons are in the winter months.