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McKeever Joins Team Coop for Vasaloppet

Brian McKeever (Photo: Team Coop)

Brian McKeever (Photo: Team Coop)

(Press release)

The long distance ski team Team Coop is preparing for Ski Classics Event 7 , the Vasaloppet. In the 2015 Vasaloppet on Sunday, Canada’s nine-time Paralympic gold medalist Brian McKeever will start with the team.

Brian took 3 gold medals in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. He began skiing at the age of 3 and started competing at 13. At 19 he began losing his vision due to Stargardt’s disease.

In 2010, Brian became the first Canadian athlete to be named to both Paralympic and Olympic teams. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, he was going to compete in the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country race, however, Canada’s coach decided to replace him with a skier who did well at an earlier event at the 2010 games and thus he did not become the first athlete in the world to compete in the Winter Paralympics and Winter Olympics in the same year.

“When Brian asked me about the possibilities to start for us in Vasaloppet, it was an easy decision. Brian is a friendly person and we will do our best to help him to a good result in Vasaloppet. And we are also happy to promote the paralympic athletes, they are real heroes! ” says Team Director Oskar Svärd.

“I’m so excited to be a part of Team Coop for the Vasaloppet this year! Having the support of one of the most experienced teams in the Swix Ski Classics is a dream opportunity. I first saw the Vasaloppet in a video when I was 14 years old and ever since, it has been one of my favourite races to compete and watch. Now to race with Team Coop is like another level! I hope to represent the team as well as I can and hopefully increase the profile of Paralympic skiing in the process. Thank you to Team Coop and all the partners for the amazing support!” says Brian McKeever.

Sunday’s Vasaloppet: What You Need to Know

(Press release) Swix Ski Classics moves to Vasaloppet! The long-distance cross-country ski championship Swix Ski Classics moves this weekend to its 7th event of the season and its first event this season in Scandinavia: Vasaloppet! The 90km Vasaloppet, is the most classical long distance cross-country ski race in the world, start is now 8 a.m. Central European time on Sunday the 8th of March, in the beautiful and historically important region of Dalarna in Sweden. This year’s Vasaloppet held only one week after the cross country world championships in Falun, a neighbour city to Mora, will attract a stronger elite start field than ever when traditional distance skiers will challenge the long distance stars. Long distance stars such as #1 ranked and the current yellow champion bib holder Anders Aukland Team Santander, #9 ranked green sprint bib holder Öystein Pettersen Team United Bakeries, #18 ranked pink youth bib holder Bill Impola…

Novak, Mannima Win Bieg Piastów; Brooks Fourth

Petr Novak of the Czech Republik and Estonian marathon specialist Tatjana Mannima won Saturday’s 51-kilometer Bieg Piastów classic race in Poland. With the victory, Mannima move into the FIS Marathon Cup leader’s bib, passing American Holly Brooks by 17 points. Mannima led the FIS Marathon Cup after her victory in the Tartu Marathon earlier this month, but had to turn over the red bib to Brooks after last weekend’s American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wis. Novak increases his gap in the overall FIS Marathon Cup by 89 points over France’s Benoit Chauvet. The Bieg Piastów served up a race day with challenging-and-changing conditons. The day started with -1-degree Celsius temperatures and some foggy weather, but during the race, the sun burned through the fog, lightening spirits while complicating waxing. Setting up for a thriller In the women’s race, the skiers stayed in a pack for around 25 k. Lapping through the stadium, Brooks was caught behind…

Birkie Madshus/Fits Sock Elite Sprints Canceled

(Press release) HAYWARD, Wis. (Feb.  17, 2015) – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has canceled the Madshus/Fits Sock Elite Sprints originally scheduled for noon on Thursday, Feb. 19. The National Weather Service is predicting a morning low of minus 17 and a high around zero on Thursday.  According to Ben Popp, ABSF executive director, concern for skier safety motivated the decision to cancel the sprints. Madshus and Fits Sock will now sponsor the sprint bonus at Highway OO, awarding prizes of $750, $350 and $200 to the first three men and women to the top of the hill. The Barkie Birkie and the Giant Ski are still on for Thursday. For the races Saturday, the NWS predicts a low of 4 and a high of 16.

Rønning, Mannima Win Tartu Marathon; Mannima Takes Overall FIS Marathon Cup Lead

  By Inge Scheve Eldar Rønning missed the Norwegian national team selection for the World Championships in Falun, but he won Sunday’s 63-kilometer classic Tartu Ski Marathon by about 15 seconds while Tatiana Mannima of Estonia won the women’s race from Otepää to Elva, Estonia. Røning was impressed with the event, both in terms of the course and the race organization, comparing the race to nothing less than the legendary Vasaloppet. “Wonderful race, a very good course and race organization. I even could say it may be better than Vasaloppet,” Rønning told the FIS Marathon Cup media after the race. “Probably, I even have not raced on such good track for 63 km. I definitely recommend to everyone in Norway to come to Tartu Marathon,” he added. Rønning finished in 2:43:41, while Audun Laugaland, also of Norway, finished 16 seconds later in second place. Rønning’s time for the 63 k classic event was one…

40th Boulder Mountain Tour Canceled Due to Avalanche, Hypothermia Threats

The 40th Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, Idaho, was canceled on Saturday, hours before it started, “because of a combination of overnight weather-caused factors,” including avalanche dangers, according to the Idaho Mountain Express. Boulder Mountain Ski Tour co-race director Kelly Allison told the Express the decision was made after consulting the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Idaho Transportation Department and local emergency medical personnel. It was announced at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, less than two hours before the 34.3-kilometer Full Boulder and 15 k Half Boulder races were set to begin near Galena Lodge north of Ketchum, with some 900 skiers registered. The night before, rain pelleted the Wood River Valley and more than a foot of snow covered the course, from the SNRA headquarters north to Galena Lodge. According to Allison, the SNRA notified organizers of avalanche potential, and the Idaho Transportation Department said it could not run shuttle buses safely up and down State Highway 75 because of snow accumulation…

Another Marathon Podium for Brooks in La Transjurassienne

By Inge Scheve Estonia’s Tatjana Mannima won La Transjurassienne women’s 56 k classic, part of the FIS Marathon Cup series, in 3:09.29.9 hours on Saturday, edging American Holly Brooks by 4.1 seconds and France’s Aurélie Dabudyk by 24 seconds in third. Stanislav Rezac of the Czech Republic won the men’s race for the sixth time, clocking in at 2:47:08.0, with almost 10 seconds to spare to Petr Novak, also of the Czech Republic. The last spot on the podium became a photo finish sprint between World Cup veteran Jean-Marc Gaillard and Benoit Chauvet, both of France, with Gaillard coming out on top. They finished 1:25.3 and 1:25.4 behind Rezac, respectively. A fight from the start The racers literally had to fight their way to the finish. “It was was grueling! Strong wind and many times the tracks were drifted in,” Brooks wrote in an email about of the windy and exposed terrain, noting that underestimating her food…

Naryshkina, Liebsch Repeat as City of Lakes Champions

By Vince Rosetta A line on the race website summed up the 2015 City of Lakes Ski Festival; this wasn’t your ordinary loppet. Minneapolis, home of the City of Lakes Loppet, has seen a very low snow year this winter, forcing organizers to be creative to find snow to hold the race. Typically the Loppet is a point-to-point marathon classic and skate race, all within the Minneapolis city limits. Last weekend, the races were all held on a manmade course on the Theodore Wirth Golf Course. A 3.1-kilometer loop course hosted the sprints, classic and freestyle races. Part of the Loppet weekend is the Minne Tour, a three-day competition that combined this year’s Finn Sisu Sprints, the 16.5 k Hoigaard’s Classic and the 13.2 k Loppet Skate race to crown a men’s and women’s overall winner. Matt Liebsch of Gear West/XC United has won this race four times and was the local favorite to repeat. His toughest…

Eliassen of Norway and Norgren of Sweden Win König Ludwig Lauf

Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlan Go won the 46 k König Ludwig Lauf, a Swix Ski Classics marathon, with a tenth of a second’s margin, while Britta Johansson Norgren of Team SkiProAm could cruise into victory with almost a minute to spare in the women’s race. At the starting line, the athletes could clearly see their route through the Ammergau Alps. The 46 k course starts in Ettal and passes the village of Graswang and the Linderhof castle on the way to the finish line in Oberammergau. There were Ski Classics sprints to be contested in Graswang after 9 k and Steinbrücke after 33 k. But shortly after the gun went off it started to snow, which made it tough to ski in the front of the pack. Despite the conditions, several racers made attempts to break away from the main group, but it all came down to a sprint finish….

O’Brien, Bigelow Win Men’s Races in Craftsbury; Youngman, Whybrow Lead Women

  On a frigid day at the 34th annual Craftsbury Marathon on Saturday, Stratton Mountain School T2 Team Head Coach Patrick O’Brien cruised to victory in the 50-kilomenter classic while Magnus Bigelow won the 25 k classic at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vt. On the women’s side, Elizabeth Youngman topped the 50 k and Helen Whybrow was victorious in the 25 k. O’Brien, a Dartmouth grad and former Craftsbury Green Racing Project racer, won on familiar trails in 2:36:03 hours. Chris Ziegler was second (+3:51.2) overall, while Dylan McGuffin – O’Brien’s former CGRP teammate and a multiple-sprint winner during the 2012/2013 SuperTour season – rounded out the podium in third (+5:27.8), edging out Thomas Rabon (+5:42.1) in fourth. O’Brien took an early lead and was first after 12.5 k, but fell to 79th overall by the 37.4 k mark. The other top skiers were in the same group, as Ziegler was 80th and…