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Snowfarm Racing Kicks off in Europe

It’s not just Frozen Thunder: international racing also kicked off in Europe over the weekend. Finland kicked things off in Vuokatti with Finnish Cup races.

In Saturday’s sprints, Anne Kyllönen bested Andrea Julin in the final. Hanna Varjus was relegated to last in the final for interference, leaving Ann-Mary Ähtävä in third.

“It’s good exercise, I got to go four times around the track at a hard pace for skiing,” Kyllönen told Kestävyys Urheilu. The World Cup veteran finished as high up as fifth in the Sprint Cup standings back in 2013, but has evolved into a stronger all-around skier recently, ranking tenth in the overall World Cup last season.

22-year-old Julin has had a few World Cup starts but is still seeking her first trip to the sprint quarterfinals.

@annekyllonen sai #schiihto-avauksessa onnistuneen harjoituksen. Voittajan mietteet Facebookissamme. Onnea! #vuokatti #sprintti

A photo posted by Hiihdon Suomen Cup (@hiihdonsuomencup) on

In the men’s sprint, Matias Strandvall edged Ristomatti Hakola in the final ahead of Lauri Vuorinen. World Cup regulars Toni Ketelä, Anssi Pentsinen, and Christoffer Lindvall rounded out the final. Strandvall, a perennial top-10 threat in World Cup sprints, and Hakola battled the whole way, pulling away from the field early on. But Strandvall dropped Hakola on the final climb to ski to the finish with a clear win. “Ristomatti tried to strike at the very beginning…. I struck when the time was ripe,” Strandvall said.

In Sunday’s relays – 3 x 4 k for women and 3 x 6 k for men – more stars came out, like Riita-Liisa Roponen, Laura Mononen, Ville Nousiainen, and Martti Jylhä.

Sprint results: men / women

Relay results: men / women

In Switzerland, the saved-snow loop in Davos opened on Saturday with sprint races amongst the country’s elite skiers. Jöri Kindschi topped the men’s field over Roman Furger and Dario Cologna, all of the Swiss National team. Tatiana Stiffler of Schweizerischer Akademischer Skiclub (SAS) was the top woman, beating out Delphine Claudel of France and Rahel Imobersdorf, also of SAS.

The loop is four kilometers and has attracted the likes of German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier.

You can take a video tour of the “snowfarming” loop on the Davos Nordic Facebook page.

Outside Ranks Nordic Skiing ‘World’s Toughest Outdoor Sport’

What is the toughest outdoor sport in the world? In the minds of most nordic skiers, cross-country skiing takes the top spot. But how might non-nordic athletes rank it? In a recent article by Outside Magazine, author Dan Roe outlined the top five toughest outdoor athletic activities in the world: rock climbing, downhill mountain biking, ultrarunning, nordic skiing, and open-water swimming. These sports were chosen based on the degree of difficulty they take to master, the risk factor involved with competing in each, and the amount of skill/fitness that is required to perform each activity. Using peer-reviewed research, Roe then compared numbers on calories burned per hour, average number of injuries per 1,000 hours, and fatality rates for each sport. Finally, Roe interviewed professionals within each sport, asking them what makes their sport so challenging and to vote for one of the five athletic activities — outside of their own — that…

WADA Publishes 2017 Prohibited List; Changes to Asthma Rules

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its 2017 Prohibited List, to go into effect on January 1. Among the changes from the 2016 Prohibited List is a shift in the language governing the use of salbutamol, an inhaled medication used to treat asthma, and other drugs of its class (called beta-2 agonists). “Dosing parameters of salbutamol were refined to make it clear that the full 24 hour dose should not be administered at one time,” WADA wrote in a guide listing the changes from the 2016 Prohibited List. The new rule keeps the maximum allowable does at 1,600 micrograms over 24 hours, but additionally specifies that only 800 micrograms can be taken in any 12-hour period. Salbutamol is the medication which led to a suspension of Norwegian skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby. Sundby nebulized 15 milligrams — or 15,000 micrograms — of the medication in a five-hour period in Davos, Switzerland, in…

Sundby Decides Against Doping Appeal

Norwegian cross-country skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby has decided not to appeal a two-month suspension he received for using a high dose of asthma medicine. Sundby’s suspension came from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and he was considering an appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court. It is unusual for sports-related cases which reach the CAS level to be brought into federal courts afterwards. “The important thing for me was to find out if the possibility existed, because I’m not a lawyer and I had no clue,” he told Norway’s NRK broadcaster. He revealed that after consulting with Swiss lawyers, it did not seem like he had a good chance of winning an appeal. Any case he brought to the Swiss Supreme Court would have been based on procedure, not on the facts of the case. Sundby said that he decided against an appeal because he did not wish to drag the…

U.S. Takes First in Every Race at New Zealand Nationals

Three days of elite cross-country ski racing took place this past weekend at the Snow Farm ski resort near Wananka, New Zealand, during New Zealand National Cross-Country Ski Championships, with the U.S. Ski Team (USST) taking first in every race and taking up most of the remaining spots on the podium. Friday, Sept. 9, saw 22 athletes from Australia, Korea and the U.S. compete in the race series’ first competition, a classic sprint. Dominating the men’s classic sprint was USST veteran Andy Newell, who qualified first with a time of 3:37.69 and continued to dominate through the rounds for the win. Finishing in second behind Newell was South Korea’s Hwang Jun-Ho, and taking the final podium spot in third was Ben Saxton, Newell’s teammate on the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team. On the women’s side, all three top spots went to the U.S., with Ida Sargent (USST) edging teammate Jessie Diggins for first and Sophie Caldwell…

Aug. 22 Roundup: Toppidrettsveka Recap; Denmark’s Vasaloppet Qualifier

— While Norway’s nordic superstar Therese Johaug was out sick, her Norwegian teammate Heidi Weng walked away with two victories on the first day of the Toppidrettsveka, a rollerski competition held in Aure and Trondheim, Norway. Weng won the women’s 24-kilometer classic mass start by 3 minutes and 51 seconds over runner-up and fellow Norwegian, Emilie Kristoffersen, and Silje Øyre Slind in third. Weng also won the second race of the day, a classic sprint, out-lunging the prologue winner, Kathrine Harsem of Norway and Polina Kovaleva of Russia in third. Weng’s third and final victory came in the 5 k classic. See complete Toppidrettsveka results here. — On the men’s side, it was Norway’s Gaute Kvåle who won the men’s 24 k classic mass start on the first day of the Toppidrettsveka. He won by 4.5 seconds over France’s Jean-Marc Gaillard, while Andrey Melnichenko of Russia finished in third, 6.7 seconds back. Kvåle told Langrenn that he took…

Blink Festival Concludes; Nordgren Reaches Biathlon Shootout Final

(Note: This article has been updated to include comments from American Leif Nordgren.) Friday’s mass starts For the third day of the 2016 Blink Skifestivalen on Friday, the small road show of elite Norwegian and international cross-country skiers and biathletes moved to the coastal town of Sandnes in the southwest of Norway with a population of 75,000 to compete in a series of rollerski mass start races. On a one-kilometer loop through the city that included two short climbs over ramps and bridges, the women’s 10 k freestyle mass start race was won by Norway’s Kathrine Harsem in a time of 22:14.1 after creating a small gap to a group of 10 athletes on the final lap. Just 2.7 seconds behind, her teammate Barbro Kvåle beat Germany’s Sandra Ringwald, who was able to secure the third place on the podium (+2.8) in a close sprint. In rainy conditions, Norway’s Martine…

Johaug, Heikkinen Win Blink ‘Lysebotn Opp’; Kershaw 44th, Doherty 70th

Mining the internet for international rollerskiing news? Look no further — it’s that time of year: the Blink Ski Festival in Lysebotn and Sandnes, Norway, is underway. What makes this event a blip on the nordic-sport radar are the scores of top-notch Norwegian talent and World Cup biathletes and cross-country skiers racing. Two days into the four-day festival, from July 27-30, some big names are showing good form. Day 1 featured a 62-kilometer classic rollerski for senior men and women. Norway’s Petter Northug Jr. placed first in 2:28.13. It was a tight finish for Northug — the top 14 skiers were bunched within nine seconds of one another. Andreas Nygaard (+1.2) and Petter Eliassen (+1.8), also from Norway, placed second and third, respectively. In the women’s classic rollerski race, also 62 k, only four women contested the elite women’s race. Sweden’s Britta Johansson Norgren won in a time of 2:56.21. Astrid Øyre Slinde, of Norway, was second…

Hall, Wood Spearhead ‘Survey for Ethical Sport’ to Present to IOC, FIS

On Monday, a three-question survey called the “Survey for Ethical Sport“, created by Marty Hall and Dave Wood, former head coaches of the Canadian cross-country ski team, went live online with the technical support of national-team skier Julien Locke. The idea behind it, is to “spread the word” and send the results to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Ski Federation (FIS), according to Hall, also a former U.S. national team coach. “We are a group of coaches/athletes that have been directly impacted by cheaters,” the survey states. “We have put together this survey as we believe that everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Sport is in a critical time right now and we are motivated to use our survey findings to make a difference.” “In this whole process if you think about it, do we ever have anything to say, and who’s this all about?” Hall said. “Whether it’s support personnel or people like…

Former U.S. Cross-Country Coach, Sven Wiik Dies at 95

A coach of the 1960 U.S. Olympic cross-country team in Squaw Valley, Calif., and 1958 World Championships team, Sven Wiik died of natural causes on Tuesday at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Steamboat Today reported. He was 95. Among Wiik’s claims to fame — he was a member of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame as well as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame — he and coach Marty Hall designed the course for the American Birkebeiner, the largest ski marathon in North America. Wiik was born in Solleftea, Sweden, on Feb. 27, 1921, and competed at the 1948 London Olympics as a gymnast (a demonstration sport at the time). In 1949, he immigrated to the U.S., initially to Chicago, and was offered a coaching position in Lake Placid, N.Y. According to Steamboat Today, Gerry Groswold (who would later become the president of Winter Park Ski Area) urged the 28-year-old Wiik to contact Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. He…