— 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 is laid back,” Randall told FISNewsflash in its “Summer Time for Winter Athletes” series.
As for the music question, Randall said she’d like to see Lady Gaga in person. “Her music is the perfect pump-up anthem for my training and she seems like a really unique and interesting individual,” Randall said. “Maybe someday we’ll cross paths.”
— If you think that’s funny, try imagining Andy Newell and the U.S. men’s team imitating Justin Bieber. Currently training at a ski tunnel in Oberhof, Germany, Newell tweeted on Wednesday: “We’ve been spending time working on Justin Bieber skits when we’re not in the tunnel and doing team yoga.” Granted, that message was directed to U.S. women’s team member Jessie Diggins, but still.
— Devon Kershaw a scientist? Not exactly, but Wednesday night, he’s scheduled to give a presentation at Science North museum in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. According to NorthernLife.ca, the Sudbury native and two-time Olympian planned to talk about his intention to race at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. From 7-9 p.m., residents can meet him free of charge.
— Now for some serious news: It looks like Royal Gorge and 3,000 acres of land atop Donner Summit in Truckee, Calif., are going to be preserved by a coalition of environmental groups. The announcement came Monday that such groups had reached an agreement to buy Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort — the largest nordic center in North America — and protect additional land from development, according to The Modesto Bee.
“I think it’s the most significant conservation effort in the recent history of the Sierra Nevada,” Perry Norris, head of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, told the Bee about the $11.25 million-dollar deal.
San Francisco-based developers originally purchased Royal Gorge for a reported $35 million dollars in 2005. After they repeatedly defaulted on their loans, a judge placed the property under receivership and its receiver, Douglas Wilson Cos. of San Diego, recently agreed to sell the 3,000 privately held acres to the Truckee Donner Land Trust, The Trust for Public Land and the Northern Sierra Partnership.
The conservation groups are aiming to raise an additional $13.5 million dollars for upgrades at Royal Gorge, including trail improvements and forest maintenance. According to the Bee, they plan to keep the area open under the management of Sugar Bowl resort.
For more on the background of this story, read FasterSkier’s story from last year: An Uncertain Future for Royal Gorge