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Dec. 26 Roundup: Ski to Sea Decides to Keep XC; Northug Skips Tour; Fischer and Rossi Team Up

Brian Gregg (l) with his Boundary Bay team, which won its fourth-straight Ski to Sea title on May 25, 2014. (Photo: Brian Gregg/Facebook)

Brian Gregg (far left) with his 2014 Boundary Bay ‘Ski to Sea’ team, which won its fourth-straight Ski to Sea title on May 25, 2014. (Photo: Brian Gregg/Facebook)

– A week ago on Monday, Dec. 19, the Ski to Sea team relay race announced that it was eliminating the cross-country ski leg in the upcoming edition of the race on May 28, 2017, according to The Bellingham Herald. Organizers cited a recruitment problem for teams when it came to finding cross-country skiers and considered swapping out the nordic leg for something else. But ultimately, they simply cut it, making the relay consist of six legs: downhill skiing, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross, and kayaking.

“When we looked through our registration records and saw that we had so many teams that were full except for a cross-country skier, we knew this was the right choice. It’s something we have been hearing from races for years,” race director Anna Rankin said.

Less than 24 hours after the Ski to Sea board decided to nix XC, it reversed its decision, The Bellingham Herald reported. Organizers stated that they take public concern very seriously, as there was a lot of disagreement on their Facebook page after the Monday decision.

“We want to thank everyone who has reached out via the phone, email and here on Facebook to share your thoughts about the decision to drop the Cross County Ski leg of the race,” the post read.

The comments from racers were varied, but the initial decision turned off a few racers who proclaimed that they were done with the Ski to Sea. One participant, Heather Orthmer wrote, “Horrible horrible HORRIBLE decision. My team (and many others) has been racing for 20+ Years and now this?! You are destroying OUR race. The x-country leg is as essential to the race as our x-country skier is to our team! Would love to see the event in the hands of people who have a clue. Do we have any options? I will definitely boycott the race this year!”

 

– Petter Northug will not be racing in the upcoming Tour de Ski even after all of his efforts to get back into shape. According to Ski-Nordique.net, even with his rest in December he still has very low energy and will be unable to successfully race in the next part of the Tour de Ski. Northug is hoping to be strong enough during the second half of the season especially for the Lahti World Championships in February. A three-time 2015 world champion, Northug plans to return and defend his titles. He will be replaced on the Tour by Sjur Røthe.

 

– Two of the world’s biggest nordic-ski brands, Fischer and Rossignol are teaming up to launch a new brand called TURNAMIC, according to a joint press release. This new brand sets out to enhance the performance and usability of both their product portfolios and will consist of cross-country boot soles and bindings. According to the press release, skiers of all abilities will be able to benefit from the innovative and easy-to-use turn lock mechanism that makes entry and exit easier than before. For the first time, it will be possible to adjust setting without the use of any tools. This optimized setup will be available for everyday use with the NNN profile.

— Ian Tovell

Dec. 18 Roundup: Broomhall Turns 97; Di Centa is Back

– Wendell “Chummy” Broomhall celebrated his 97th birthday on Dec. 3 and reminisced with a reporter from The Advertiser Democrat about being a two-time Olympian and World War II veteran at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Paris, Maine. Broomhall who was born in 1919 in Mexico, Maine, but grew up across the river in Rumford, where he and his 14 siblings grew up on a dairy farm. “They called me Chubby,” he said. “I was a little chubby guy, but when you get up on a farm you don’t stay chubby at all. They put you to work. They started calling me Chummy and that stuck with me the rest of my life.” Broomhall ski raced, and went to war, then returned to racing once again. He qualified for the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz as well as the 1952 Olso Olympics. He served as chief of competition for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics and 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, where he also designed…

Dec. 11 Roundup: Tongan Summer Athlete Takes Up XC; La Clusaz is a Go

Pumped! This is for those who have a dream soo big it scares them! Come join me, let's do this Together! Mathew 17:20. #tonga #ski #neverSkiedInMyLife #@tongaskiteam A video posted by Pita Taufatofua (@pita_tofua) on Dec 5, 2016 at 8:29am PST — You might not know the name Pita Taufatofua, but you would probably recognize him. Taufatofua, the taekwondo athlete from Tonga made world news after his oiled body appeared during the opening ceremonies during the Rio 2016 Olympics. Though he was eliminated in the first round, he now has his sights set on the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, where he is hoping to compete in cross-country skiing, according to InsidetheGames. According to MSN, Taufatofua said, “I’m going to be taking my Olympic dreams on step further. My goal is to let people see if I can do it, they can do it.” Taufatofua would only be the second Winter Olympian from…

Davos World Cup to Be Held on Shortened Course

Saturday’s FIS Cross Country World Cup 15/30 k interval-start races in Davos, Switzerland, will be held on a six-kilometer loop for men and a five-kilometer loop for women, the organizing committee has announced, due to low snow conditions. The standard World Cup course is 7.5 kilometers. While Switzerland got snow in early November, with some ski resorts opening early, since then warm temperatures have dominated. MétéoSuisse, the federal meteorological bureau, reported that the month of November was 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average, depending on location, and that some places saw all-time temperature records. Some of this was driven by Föhn winds, warm, down-slope winds that warm central Europe after dropping their water on the other side of the Alps. Through November the Föhn stayed in the Swiss alps, raising temperatures in some valleys to 20°C or nearly 70°F. The Davos organizing committee has an extensive snow-saving operation,…

Dec. 1 Roundup: Graves FIS Journalist of the Year; Kalla Seeks Medical Treatment

– Peter Graves, one of the most prominent voices in skiing, was honored as the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) Journalist of the Year during the alpine World Cup in Killington, Vt., last weekend. The award is presented by both FIS and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). After skiing collegiately at Fort Lewis College, Graves, originally from Bennington, Vt., began his career in broadcasting. His passion for the sport grew to the point where he has either been a venue announcer or broadcaster at nine summer and winter Olympic Games dating back to his role with ABC sports for the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. He most recently served as interim director for the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA), up until October. According to a USSA press release, Graves, 64, said, “I’m deeply humbled in receiving this award, Being honored by your peers means the world to me. From the moment I first heard Bob Beattie call…

Cross Country Canada Names New CEO: Shane Pearsall

Corporate leader returns to sport community to build on strong foundation of shaping bright future for Nordic sport (Press release) CANMORE, Alta. — After spending the last decade in Alberta’s oil patch, Shane Pearsall is returning to the Canadian sport community, January 1, as the chief executive officer for Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada, the Board of Directors announced on Monday. The Chef de Mission for the 2006 Canadian Olympic Team, Pearsall was the chief operating officer of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) for three years before returning to his career in the oil and gas industry in 2006 where he took on leadership positions with AltaGas and EnCana Corporation/Cenovus Energy. A member of Canada’s National Men’s Hockey Team in 1980, Pearsall is most recognized in the sport community for his work at BCS where he developed a corporate strategy designed to build extensive relationships with the organization’s major government…

Nov. 25 Roundup: Canadian Olympian Donald Farley Dies; Northug Out for Ruka

– The nordic ski community is mourning the loss of Canadian Olympian Donald Farley, who passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 19. Farley, 46, was an 11-year member of the Canadian national team between 1992 and 2002, according to Cross Country Canada (CCC). A two-time Olympian (Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002) and five-time World Championships competitor, he was one of the most decorated skiers of all time at Canadian nationals, where he accumulated 23 titles, 10 second-place finishes, and two third places. While he was a full-time national team member, he was able to achieve a degree in science at the University of Waterloo. CCC obtained a quote from one of his Olympic teammates, Robin McKeever: “My best memories of Donald was working as a team going into the 1997 World Champs in Trondheim with him. He was at a high level as a teammate that season as we were trying to qualify for the 1998 Nagano Olympics. He…

Saturday, Sunday Rundown: Top 15’s for Sargent, Patterson in Saariselkä; Ishida Wins in Bruks

  – Americans Ida Sargent and Caitlin Patterson, Craftsbury Green Racing Project teammates, both landed in the top 15 on Saturday at the International Ski Federation (FIS) classic sprint in Saariselkä, Finland. Sargent (U.S. Ski Team A-team) placed eighth, while Patterson (last season’s U.S. SuperTour winner who will start the season on the World Cup) finished 14th. To start the day, Sargent qualified 13th and Patterson 15th to advance to the heats. Russia’s Elena Soboleva qualified fourth and went on to win the final, ahead of fellow Russians Natalia Matveeva and Natalia Nepryaeva, in second and third, respectively. Russia swept the top four and Germany’s Hanna Kolb placed fifth of out of 44. Also on Saturday, Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin posted his second-straight victory of the weekend, winning the men’s classic sprint final ahead of teammate Alexander Panzhinskiy and Germany’s Sebastian Eisenlauer, who placed second and third, respectively. Vylegzhanin initially qualified 14th, 10.31 seconds behind another Russian Nikolay Morilov while Eisenlauer…

Friday Rundown: Harvey Wins Davos Sprint; Hellner Goes Big in Bruks

(Note: This race rundown has been updated with comments from Canadian World Cup Team member Alex Harvey.) – While it wasn’t an International Ski Federation (FIS) race, Canada’s Alex Harvey won a classic sprint in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, posting the fourth-fastest time out of 34 men in the prologue, then reaching the final in the King’s-Court-style heats. In the final, he nipped Swiss runner-up Jovian Hediger at the line and bested Swiss national-team favorite Dario Cologna, who placed third, by 2 seconds. Erwan Käser, also of Switzerland, rounded out the four-man final in fourth, finishing 3 seconds after Harvey. “I’ve been working a lot of the Summer to get my sprint level back,” Harvey wrote in an email. “Especially in classic and double poling, which is an area I feel used to be one of my strengths but that I struggled in last season.” The qualifier took place early in the morning, making it “hard to…

Nov. 18 Roundup: Abramova’s Ban Up Before IBU World Champs; Pellegrino Expected in Ruka

  Ukrainian biathlete Olga Abramova has been banned for one year by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) after a failed drug test containing meldonium. She tested positive at an IBU World Cup event in Germany just nine days after meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list. InsidetheGames reported that WADA had to clarify their stance on the substance as there was confusion earlier this year. Athletes who provided a sample of urine that contained less than five micrograms between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29 were given a “no fault” verdict. Abramova’s sample of meldonium contained 7.3 micrograms, 2.3 micrograms over the limit allowed. She will not be able to compete in six out of the nine World Cup series events, but will return for the 2017 IBU World Championships to take place in Hochfilzen, Austria, on Feb. 8, four days after her ban is lifted. Her best performance was as…