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Wild Rumpus Sports

Ruhpolding in Summer and Winter

FasterSkier is on site in Ruhpolding, Germany, home of the Chiemgau Arena, one of the most popular venues in all of biathlon. Here’s what it looked like during World Championships just five and a half months ago:

In the summer, the arena is still impressive, but heading down to the range is a completely different experience. Can you recognize the stadium?

Stay tuned for lots more photos and reports from the U.S. team training camp in the next few days.

Jones, Sandau Win Whitefish Races

The joint training camp between the Canadian Women’s National Ski Team (CNST) and Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) came to a close Saturday in Whitefish, Mont., but not without some racing. Fourteen women competed in a a 10-kilometer skiathlon (5.5 k classic/4.5 k skate), which Perianne Jones (CNST) won by nearly a minute in 25:35.7. Teammate Chandra Crawford was second (+58.9) and Heidi Widmer (AWCA) was third (+1:08.7). Women’s 10 k rollerski race results In an email, national-team coach Eric de Nys explained the majority of the classic portion was double pole, and the following skate leg had varied terrain and an overall elevation gain. Jones and Academy skiers Emily Nishikawa and Kate Brennan led by the end of the classic leg, building about a 30-second gap on independent skier Amanda Ammar of Canmore. Ammar had about 10 seconds on Crawford, Widmer, Marlis Kromm, Alysson Marshall, Suzanne Stevenson and Janelle Greer….

Aug. 23 Roundup: McKeever Ends NZ Trip; Freeman Talks About 2015

— Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov and Lenny Valjas aren’t the only Canadian skiers in New Zealand. Paralympian Brian McKeever has been there for the last two weeks, and on Saturday, he finished third in the 42 k Merino Muster ski marathon at the Snow Farm. Poland’s Maciej Kreczmer won it in 1:38.41, Andzey Smolyani of Russia was second (+12.0) and McKeever finished one second later. (Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the women’s race by nearly seven minutes. Results here) After the race, McKeever tweeted: “Race day – 42 km in the hurt box today. Didn’t have the legs, but still gave ‘er and called it training. It was pretty fun, though.” He spent the rest of his time there training and checking out the cyclocross terrain when he wasn’t skiing. Thursday marked his last day, which he spent with the four World Cup team members. “Sweet last day in NZ!” McKeever tweeted….

An Update from Whitefish with Photos

The Canadian Women’s World Cup team and Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) are in the thick of their joint dryland camp in Whitefish, Mont., about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the Canadian border on the edge of Glacier National Park. With nearly 30 skiers, the group started training last Friday and will continue through Sunday to complete the 10-day training camp — their first in Whitefish. In a previous interview with FasterSkier, women’s national-team head coach Eric de Nys said they were drawn to the location because of its relative proximity to Canmore (about a six-hour drive) and because it was an unknown. Academy skier Kevin Sandau, also on the Canadian Senior Development Team (CSDT), wrote in an email that the team typically holds its August camp in Whistler, British Columbia. This year, however, he headed south with teammates — biking 158 k of the way. They rode from…

Aug. 16 Roundup: Japan Wins First Mixed Jumping Event, Americans Fifth

— Japan made history Tuesday night at the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix, winning the first mixed-team competition to be held on the international circuit. With Yuki Ito, Sara Takanashi, Noriaki Kasai and Yuta Watase, the Japanese squad racked up 930.8 points on the normal hill (HS 96M) in Courchevel, France. The win transcended generations as well as genders: Takanashi is 15 years old, and Kasai is 40. The top three teams were separated by 2.4 points, with Germany placing second (928.9) and Austria finishing 0.5 points father back in third. Norway was fourth (889.4) with their No. 2- and 3-ranked athletes. The Americans took fifth with USA Ski Jumping and USA Women’s Ski Jumping members, Anders Johnson, Pete Frenette, Alissa Johnson, and Jessica Jerome, tallying 872.3 points. Jerome led the charge with jumps of 90.5 and 94.0 meters. Alissa Johnson jumped 83.0 and 85.0, Frenette went 79.5 and 83.5, and Anders…

Aug. 14 Roundup: Kowalczyk Sweeps NZ Races; Bjerke Signed for VO2 Max

— Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk dominated all three Australia/New Zealand Cup races last weekend at the Snow Farm near Wanaka, New Zealand, winning the 10-kilometer classic, skate sprint and 5 k skate race, respectively. A two-time champion there last year, Kowalczyk isn’t ready to leave the NZ Winter Games just yet. According to her coach, Aleksander Wierietielny, Kowalczyk will compete in the 42 k Merino Muster ski marathon on Aug. 18 as well as the Winter Triathlon, which involves running, mountain biking and cross-country skiing, on Aug. 27. “The conditions are so perfect,”  Wierietielny said in a translated version of Kowalcyzk’s blog. “Snow is maybe a little less than a year ago, but all the routes are well prepared. Besides, [they] have excellent weather conditions. At night it’s minus five, six degrees Celsius, so the snow is frozen, and the beautiful sun shining days. We call it the Italian weather.” Last Thursday, Kowalczyk beat a small…

Diggins Reports from Sweden; Randall in a Walking Boot

How do you know you’re working hard at a cross-country skiing training camp? Go bowling. The youngest woman on the U.S. Ski Team, 20-year-old Jessie Diggins felt the post-workout burn last night during a laid-back bowling session with the Swedish national women’s team. Diggins, four of her teammates and Canadian Chandra Crawford kicked off their joint camp with the Swedes four days ago in Sälen, Sweden. On Friday, they’ll head south on a rest day to the Torsby ski tunnel, then go hard again with the team for four more days. According to Diggins, it’s definitely been challenging so far. “Last night we went bowling as a team, and it was very funny because our arms were so tired from strength that we could barely lift the bowling balls!” she wrote on her blog. That was after a 2 1/2-hour run Wednesday morning and a 1 1/2-hour skate session that afternoon….

Aug. 8 Roundup: FIS Hires Randall’s Husband; Royal Gorge Sold

— The International Ski Federation (FIS) recently hired Kikkan Randall’s husband, Jeff Ellis, a former Canadian skier, to assist with media relations. In an email, FIS Communications Manager Riikka Rakic confirmed that Ellis, a former track and nordic-skiing standout, would be involved with their organization during the 2012/2013 season, but declined to elaborate until closer to the start of the World Cup season. Ellis held off on commenting as well until he knew more about his role. — Speaking of Kikkan Randall, FIS News recently interviewed the reigning World Cup sprint champion from Anchorage and asked her some random questions, such as where in the world she’d love to go swimming and what musician she’d want to jump out of her headphones and into her workout. Her answer to the first, Australia — when it’s warm — or her husband’s family cottage in Ontario. “The water is deliciously warm there and life…

Hoffman Runs Away With Oberhof Time Trial

The U.S. Ski Team held an 11-kilometer skate time trial in the ski tunnel in Oberhof, Germany, on Monday, and Colorado’s Noah Hoffman let it rip by posting an huge win – almost a full minute over Tad Elliott, his teammate on both the national team and Team Homegrown. “I was happy with how I felt, especially considering the snow was fast and a little icy, which is a surface I’ve struggled on in the past,” Hoffman wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier. The race was six laps of the entire tunnel loop, about 1.75 k. Stratton Mountain School T2 racer Eric Packer, who is on the trip as a special guest, finished third, 49 seconds behind Elliott. USST sprinter Simi Hamilton was 24 seconds behind him in fourth, while Andy Newell did not race due to stomach troubles. USST Head Coach Chris Grover cautioned against analyzing the results, which…

Jerome Repeats as U.S. Ski Jumping Champ; Frenette & Johnson Tie

At the 2013 U.S. Ski Jumping Championships last weekend in Park City, Utah, national-team member Jessica Jerome defended her large-hill title for her ninth career win at nationals. She was second overall on Saturday after Canadian Alexandra Pretorius, who nailed two jumps of 125.5 meters each for the outright victory. Jerome was the top American with a first jump of 119.5 meters and second jump of 117.5 meters. She was followed by Canada’s Atsuko Tanaka in third. In a USSA press release, Jerome acknowledged that her jumping this summer hasn’t been as technically good compared to years past. “I knew that I had to work a little harder and I’m definitely satisfied,” she said. “The Canadian girls are giving me a run for my money, but it’s really good to see because it means the sport is growing as a whole. It’s nice to have competition out there. Conditions were great today…