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Sept. 4 Roundup: Arritola 3rd, Glenn Randall 9th at World Mountain Running Champs

— The World Mountain Running Championships took place over the weekend in Ponte di Legno, Italy, and featured several former and current U.S. cross-country skiers. In her second mountain-running race, former U.S. Ski Team member Morgan Arritola led the American women with a bronze medal, finishing 51 seconds behind winner Andrea Mayr of Austria and 29 seconds after Valentina Belotti of Italy in second place.

“It was really hard; this is my second mountain running race ever,” Arritola said to Alberto Stretti after the race (video here). “[The course] was tough, but it was beautiful.”

Asked if she was pleased with her result, Arritola said, “You always want to win; you have to go into every race wanting to win, but I’m happy. I did all I could and today that was bronze.”

Antonella Confortola, Italian World Cup-skier-turned-marathon specialist, was 17th.

Former Bridger Ski Foundation skier Glenn Randall was the top American in the senior men’s race in ninth. He finished 4:14 behind the winner from Eritrea, Petro Mamo, and described the race in detail on his blog.

“I sprinted down the hill as fast as my legs could take me, around a corner and to the finish,” Randall wrote. “I had out kicked somebody [Eritrean Atoy Estifanos] for the first time in my life.”

Seventeen-year-old Cal Deline, who skis for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, ran in the junior men’s division (under-19) of the championships and finished 25th out of 71 runners — the second American across the line.

Results

 

Kris Freeman (USA) won an interval-start 10 k skate at New Zealand’s Snow Farm on Monday against the Canadian men. Six men competed in total; Devon Kershaw (CAN) finished second (+29.4), Ivan Babikov (CAN) was third (+30.7), Alex Harvey (CAN) finished fourth (+46.1), Noah Hoffman (USA) was fifth (+1:42.5) and Lenny Valjas (CAN) sixth (+4:34.9).

Results

 

— Labor Day weekend saw plenty of racing action stateside, too. In Park City, Utah, U.S. Ski Team athletes Billy Demong, Bryan Fletcher (nordic combined) and Liz Stephen (cross country) ran the Labor Day Funky 5 k.

Taylor Fletcher and Todd Lodwick raced in the Steamboat Stage Race, a three-day road bike event in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Lodwick finished third overall in the men’s Category 3 division and won the stage 3 criterium on Monday.

“It was a lot of fun,” Lodwick told Steamboat Today. “It’s good offseason training for us, and winning never gets old.”

Fletcher, a Cat-2, finished 14th in the overall men’s Pro-1-2 standings.

Stage and overall results

 

Aug. 31 Roundup: Missing Maple Syrup in Canada; Apps for Skiers

— Where might someone hide 10 million pounds of maple syrup? Canadian authorities are wondering the same thing. The theft of an estimated $30 million dollars worth of the sweet stuff from a Quebec warehouse has provincial police on the lookout, and members of the Canadian ski team fascinated. “Anybody following the ‘Quebec heist of the century?’ “ Devon Kershaw tweeted. “10,000,000 pounds of 100% pure maple syrup had disappeared. How do you hide that?” He later paraphrased a quote from a news story: “It’s the Saudi Arabia of maple syrup that has been stolen.”   — At long last, apps for nordic skiers. SkinnySkis.com recently published a list of smartphone applications for recreational and competitive cross-country skiers alike. “The point of going outside is to unplug and escape, right? We think so,” the website stated. “But, as folks going outside with a mission, whether it be training for a…

Cichero Wins Ushuaia Loppet in Argentina

Federico Cichero won the 42 k freestyle Ushuaia Loppet on August 25, coming across the line in 1:58:43, one second ahead of fellow Argentine, Carlos Lannes. The race took place in the Valley of Tierra Mayor outside of Ushuaia, Argentina. The start-finish was at Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor and the course covered two counter-clockwise laps of the traditional 21 KM Marcha Blanca course. Conditions this austral winter in Tierra del Fuego have been excellent thanks to big storms in June that hit the region. Race day snow was fast and Cichero and Lannes gapped the entire field right from the start. The two alternated in the lead for 42 KM and only at the end was Cichero able to get a slight advantage. Both skiers ski for Argentina in the FIS Developing Nations Group. The Ushuaia Loppet was the last competitive event in a month of cross-country events which will end in early September with the Mini-Marcha for skiers…

Aug. 28 Roundup: Randall’s Cousin Shines in MLB Debut; Legkov Lunges for Hoppet Win

— Athleticism must run in the extended family. Kikkan Randall‘s cousin, Casey Kelly, made his Major League Baseball debut Monday night, and it went really well. He started for San Diego and pitched six scoreless to lead the Padres over the Atlanta Braves, 3-0. According to MLB.com, the 22-year-old is the team’s top-rated prospect. “Just showing up to the park and seeing my jersey in my locker and knowing that I was pitching tonight — it’s just an unbelievable feeling and a dream come true,” Kelly told MLB. He also nabbed his first career hit — a ground-ball single — in his second at-bat. “I think I was more excited about the hit than anything else,” Kelly said. “I just closed my eyes and swung.” Randall tweeted on Tuesday: “Congrats on an incredible 1st major league game to my cuz @IamCaseyKelly !”   — There’s almost too much snow down…

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…