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Wild Rumpus Sports

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 under 13 years-old. Together, the events formed the first ever “International Month of Cross Country Skiing” based around the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia.

Complete results and more information are available at

The start of the 2012 Ushuaia Loppet, 42F. Tierra Mayor, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Photo: Marcha Blanca

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, 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…

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…