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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.

Not Exactly a Marathon, Swix Ski Classics Opens with Pro Team Prologue in Italy

Team Coop celebrates their Pro Team Tempo Prologue win on Saturday, the opening day of the Swix Ski Classics in Livigno, Italy. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics/Team Coop)

Team Coop celebrates their Pro Team Tempo Prologue win on Saturday, the opening day of the Swix Ski Classics in Livigno, Italy. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

By Inge Scheve

Team Coop won the Swix Ski Classics Team Tempo Prologue on Saturday in Livigno, Italy, with the combined-top score from the women’s 15-kilometer mass start and the men’s 15 k team “tempo” time trial.

“The guys were great today and to win together with them was a perfect start of the season,” Team Coop’s Seraina Boner, of Switzerland, said to the Swix Ski Classics media after the race.

Teammate Morten Eide Pedersen, of Norway, was also content with the kickoff to the Ski Classics season.

“It’s great to get a good start, and this event gives us a good starting point for the main race [the 35-kilometer classic] tomorrow,” Pedersen said to Norwegian TV station TV2 after the race.

Team Santander, which included Anders Aukland, Jerry Ahrlin and Andreas Nygaard, finished second overall and the Russian Marathon Team took third.

The Pro Team Prologue/team-time trial is a brand-new format based on cycling, and the Ski Classics use it as a way of introducing its pro teams. The competition consists of a women’s 15 k classic mass start and a 15 k team-time trial for the men. The combined results are based on the top female from each team and the team’s second male in the time trial.

Holly Brooks with Santander's Andreas Nygaard and Anders Auckland on Saturday. "I missed the podium with my new team but we were second today in the team prologue competition!" (Photo: Holly Brooks/Facebook)

Holly Brooks with Santander’s Andreas Nygaard and Anders Auckland on Saturday. “I missed the podium with my new team but we were second today in the team prologue competition!” Brooks wrote on Facebook. She missed the podium because she went home to shower and her team couldn’t get ahold of her. (Photo: Holly Brooks/Facebook)

Switzerland’s Boner (Team Coop) skied into a strong third place in the women’s race behind Katerina Smutna (Silvana Madshus) in first and Julia Thikonova (Russian Marathon Team) in second. Smutna, of the Czech Republic, won in 40:16.59, edging Thikonova by 0.73 seconds. Boner was just one-hundredth of a second back in third. Holly Brooks, who joined Team Santander on Thursday night, finished sixth, 13.12 seconds behind Smutna.

“I am not a double-pole specialist, so I was really happy to be able to ski with the group I skied with today,” Brooks wrote in an email after the race. “They destroyed me the last 500 meters, but I was satisfied with my performance and did well enough to keep my team in the competition.”

She joined the Norwegian Team Santander on a whim. Her original plan was to race Friday’s 42 k freestyle La Sgambeda FIS Marathon Cup, followed by the 35 k classic La Sgambeda Swix Ski Classics race on Sunday.

But when the Aukland brothers and their team manager Nils Marius Otterstad more or less headhunted Brooks the night before the 42 k, she wasn’t exactly opposed to racing for them on Saturday.

“Team Santander happened really fast. I’m here in Livigno with Max Olex, a German Salomon skier who skied for University of Alaska Fairbanks,” Brooks explained. “He knows a lot of these guys and he provided the connection. The team leader, Nils Marius came to our hotel at 9:30pm Thursday night, the day before the skate race, and really twisted my arm – in a good way, of course. Emails were shooting back and forth all the way until I left the hotel for the skate marathon Friday morning. Needless to say, it was really stressful and last-minute.”

Team Santander placed second overall in the Swix Ski Classics Pro Team Tempo Prologue on Saturday, with Anders Aukland, Jerry Ahrlin and Andreas Nygaard. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics/Team Santander)

Team Santander placed second overall in the Swix Ski Classics Pro Team Tempo Prologue on Saturday, with Anders Aukland, Jerry Ahrlin and Andreas Nygaard. Not shown: Holly Brooks. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

She didn’t know that Laila Kveli, their female racer who won the Vasaloppet last winter, went home sick, and they were without a woman.

“Each team needs a girl in order to participate in the team prologue and they had no one, and then I became that person,” Brooks wrote.

In the men’s team-time trial on Saturday, Team United Bakeries’ Tore Bjørseth Berdal and John Kristian Dahl (both from Norway) delivered the fastest times of 33:41:03 and 33:41:69, respectively. Pedersen (Team Coop) and Sweden’s Bill Impola finished 21 seconds back, and with Boner’s third place in the women’s race, Team Coop won the combined competition.

Team Santander was about one second behind in second overall.

“Our main focus was to secure the second place in the combined competition in order to get as many points as we could for today, but Coop skied a little faster than us,” Aukland told TV2. “This format of racing is really fun. It’s important to keep evolving long-distance cross-country skiing, so this means a lot to all the teams.”

Team Tempo Details

In the Pro Team Tempo, teams start with a 2-minute time gap in the opposite start order from the Pro Team Ranking. The result is calculated by multiplying the teams’ second-best male’s time by two, and then adding the teams’ best female time. The team with the lowest total time wins the Pro Team Prologue.

Based on results, the Ski Classics award points to the teams, according to the points schedule outlined in its rules, as well as 20 individual bonus points for all skiers finishing within 20 percent of the winning time in each gender.

Pro Team Prologue/Team Time Trial Results

  1. Team Coop – 1.48.22
  2. Team Santander – 1.49.28
  3. Russian Marathon Team – 1.50.41
  4. Team United Bakeries – 1.52.19
  5. Team Futura – 1.53.24
  6. Team Xcalibur Lillsport – 1.53.53
  7. Silvini Madshus Team – 1.53.58
  8. Team Pioneer Investments – 1.54.47
  9. Team Leaseplan Go – 1.54.48
  10. Skistart.com-Bergslagen – 1.54.49
  11. Atlas – 1.58.38
  12. Lyn Ski – 1.58.47
  13. Lager 157 Ski Team – 1.58.47
  14. Scame Ski Trab Marathon Team Livigno – 2.01.27
  15. Team Ski & Run – 2.01.56
  16. Zizkovsky Tygri – 2.14.53 

Complete results and details 

Significant expansion

This season, the Ski Classics added three races: the Team Tempo Prologue and La Sgambeda in Italy this weekend, and the La Diagonela in Switzerland in January.

“Expanding the calendar from six to nine events is a great improvement for the Swix Ski Classic. Athletes, broadcasters and fans have requested a longer season,” Swix Ski Classics CEO David Nilsson said prior to the race-series opener on Saturday. “We have worked hard to be able to start the season already in December. It will also be interesting to see how the ‘January-madness’ of for events on four consecutive weekends will turn out.”

He explained that by introducing the new Team Tempo format, it would make the season-long competition between Ski Classics pro teams more interesting. The format was developed through discussions with athletes and teams, he said.

After this weekend’s double-header in Italy, the Ski Classics take a break until the Jizerská Padesatka 50 k classic in the Czech Republic on Jan. 11.

More information about the Swix Ski Classics: www.swixskiclassics.com

2014/2015 Swix Ski Classics Calendar 

  • Dec. 13: Prologue, 15km, Livigno (Italy)
  • Dec. 14: La Sgambeda, 35 k, Livigno (Italy)
  • Jan. 11: Jizerska Padesatka, 50 k, Bedrichov (Czech Republic)
  • Jan. 17: La Diagonela, 65 k, St Mortitz (Switzerland)
  • Jan. 25: Marcialonga, 70 k, Val di Fiemme (Italy)
  • Feb. 1: König Ludwig Lauf, 50 k, Bavaria (Germany)
  • March 8: Vasaloppet, 90 k, Mora (Sweden)
  • March 20: Birkebeinerrennet, 54 k, Lillehammer (Norway)
  • March 28: Årefjällsloppet, 75 k, Åre (Sweden)

Dec. 9 Roundup: Color Controversy, Inside the Fence, Olympic Reforms

- According to NRK Sport, there’s quite the controversy in Sweden surrounding the colors of a hat being sold by the organizers of the 2015 World Championships in Falun. Many say the hat, which features red, white, and blue, looks much like the Norwegian flag and is an insult to Sweden, who’s flag is blue and yellow. However, race organizers said the hat was conceived with the region of the event, Darlarna, in mind, not Norway.

– FIS has begun a new video series called Inside the Fence, that features a behind-the-scenes look at all your favorite World Cup skiers. The series features Kikkan Randall’s husband, Jeff Ellis, interview athletes about their pre-race routines, thoughts, and more.

– After the embarrassment surrounding the 2022 Olympic host city selection, the IOC announced that the organization would allow for Olympic host countries to feature events in more than one city and possibly more than one country. The move comes with the development of a sustainability plan that focuses on creating efficiency and ease for potential host countries. In addition the IOC also added language that forbid discrimination regarding sexual orientation. Host cities will also have to agree to the new addition to the charter.

 

Oslo Citizen of the Year Nominee, Jacobsen Talks About Role Models, Personal Growth

Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (Photo: Fast and Female)

Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (Photo: Fast and Female)

By Inge Scheve

Norwegian national women’s team member Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, 27, was recently nominated for Oslo Citizen of the Year for her involvement in bringing skiing to kids. Among the efforts that were mentioned was her hosting a Fast & Female girls night last spring, along with Kikkan Randall and several other World Cup racers. More than 190 girls attended.

“Winning isn’t the most important for me,” Jacobsen told the Aftenposten.

Yet the two-time Olympian has a World Championship gold and three bronze medals, plus three individual World Cup victories and 11 Norwegian national titles.

Last winter, Jacobsen’s brother passed away on the day of the Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite the tragedy, she went on to fourth place in the Olympic skate sprint. How Jacobsen has navigated rough times and challenges remains an inspiration to many.

“I spend a lot of time on training to become a better skier, but my focus is just as much on the process and performance rather than results,” she said. “I see victory as a consequence of a good performance, so indirectly I want to win. But winning isn’t as important as performing.”

That is what Jacobsen, born in Trondheim and a resident of Oslo, aims to share with her community and the members of her ski club, IL Heming. And she is passionate about kids. When she hosted the Fast and Female event this spring, she wanted to show girls age 9 to 19 that physical activity can be an arena for personal growth and learning, in an inspiring and fun environment. Jacobsen believes that results-oriented performance pressure cause a lot of pain for young girls.

“Girls are so eager to go with the flow, so as a role model I want to help girls trust their own instincts and pay attention to what they really want to do,” Jacobsen said. “Everyone is a unique resource and valuable. You just need to identify their talents. Unfortunately, our society over-focuses on some specific traits that are rewarded.”

Jacobsen is in enrolled medical school in addition to her skiing career, although she is currently on academic leave from classes to focus on racing. But she wants to become a doctor, just like both of her parents.

“I get so frustrated with all the media focus on diets and dieting methods. They are commercial, and can be detrimental to people’s self esteem and body image, and make them feel frustrated. Health is so much more than just your body: How you feel is just as important,” she said.

She pointed out the importance of having role models who help show the way and help create a path, and she is grateful to have met some. Her mother is one of them.

“She showed me that there are no limits,” she said. “That is the key to everything, and that’s what I want to share with young people.”

Jacobsen is one of three women nominated for the 2014 Oslo Citizen of the Year, among seven total candidates.