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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Norgren’s Lager 157 Team Starts out Ski Classics Season with Team Tempo Win

The Visma Ski Classics long-distance race series kicked off on Sunday in Pontresina, Switzerland, with a team event where both men’s and women’s times counted together to crown an overall winner. The men raced a team time trial, individual-start with the third man across the line for each team counting for the team’s time. Then, the women started a pursuit-style race based on the time of their men’s team. Team Lager 157 won the men’s team trial and gave Britta Johansson Norgren a lead going into the women’s race, which she never relinquished and gave her team the first win of the new season.

In the men’s team time trial, Lager 157’s squad of Fredrik Byström, Markus Ottosson, Marcus Johansson, Oscar Persson, Jimmi Johnsson, and Anton Karlsson laid down a time of 26:47.5 over the 11 k course. The next best time – just five seconds back – belonged to Team BN Bank’s Morten Eide Pedersen and Simen Østensen, but since they did not have a third team member starting, they did not count in the standings.

Instead, Team Koteng (formerly Team United Bakeries) with Stian Hoelgaard, Tore Bjørseth Berdal, and Torleif Syrstad surprised in second place (+21.7 seconds) and Team Parkettpartner with Vinjar Skogsholm, Thomas Gjestrumbakken, Simen Engebretsen Nordli, Magnus Vesterheim, Kjetil Tyrom, and Anders Kampenhøy took third (+41.2). Left off the podium were some of the pre-race favorites: last year’s overall Ski Classics champions Team Santander, whose Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Øyvind Moen Fjeld, and Oskar Kardin finished eight, +1:05.1.

That set up an exciting race for the women. Johansson Norgren never looked back, eventually crossing the finish line 44.9 seconds clear of second place. For Team Koteng, Astrid Øyre Slind chased hard, but ultimately lost ground; she held on to second place. Team Parkettpartner’s Jogscha Aberhalden was unable to match the performance of the men on her team and slipped to 16th place, +5:17.4. Instead, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes redeemed Team Santander and skied up through the field to third place, +2:20.0, edging Katerina Smutna of Bauer Ski Team by just half a second with Sara Lindborg of Team Serneke another 0.9 seconds back.

“It was a great day for us,” Johansson Norgren said in a Visma Ski Classics press release. “Our guys did a wonderful job securing me a good lead and I just had to make sure that I paced myself in the beginning. I felt confident and this is a good start for all us. I believe this will be an exciting season, and I’m ready for it!”

Maybe the other team’s can learn something: Team Lager 157 publishes their wax testing report after the competitions. You can see how they decided what to race on in Pontresina here, and the final wax choice here.

The Ski Classics moves to Livigno, Italy, for the La Sgambeda 35 k next weekend.

Results: men’s split timeswomen’s split times

FIS Worldloppet Cup and Visma Ski Classics Conclude

The Visma Ski Classics series wrapped up on Saturday with the 63 k Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, which had to be partially relocated due to snow conditions; the finish line was moved from Åre to Edsåsdalen.

In the men’s race a group of eight were together almost to the finish, when Johan Kjølstad and John Kristian Dahl of Team United Bakeries were able to pull away. Kjølstad took the win 5.79 seconds ahead of Dahl, with Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlan Go taking third +8.87. Daniel Richardsson of Team Exspirit was the top Swede in fourth, +12.91.

That was it hard work in the mountains and I [was bouncing around] in the peloton,” Richardsson told Langd.se, according to a translation. “Too bad I was not a little more alert.”

It was Kjølstad’s first win of the season, but he didn’t stop there. The very next day, some of the field headed to Norway for the Flyktningerennet, a point-to-point 42 k classic race. Kjølstad won that, too, by over three and half minutes – 15:41 ahead of 11th place Petter Northug.

“It’s fun for me to take two straight wins at the end of the season,” Kjølstad told Aftenposten. “It means a lot. It helps a lot for my part toward next season… it’s hard to keep the shape an entire season. Actually, it’s a little surprising that I have succeeded so well at the end here.”

Now Kjølstad has his sights on one man: Martin Johnsrud Sundby, the winner of the Tour de Ski, the Ski Tour Canada, and the overall World Cup. He also won the 50 k at Norwegian national championships over the weekend. Kjølstad looks forward to racing against him next season, he told Aftenposten.

Despite Dahl winning the previous two races (the Vasaloppet and the Birkebeiner), it was Eliassen who took home the overall Ski Classics title by 211 points over Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Team Santander. Dahl and Kjølstad were third and fourth, respectively.

In the women’s race at Årefjällsloppet, Polish star Justyna Kowalczyk, skiing for Team Santander, won by 15.89 seconds over Seraina Boner of Team Exspirit. Masako Ishida of Team United Bakeries was third, +1:17.28, holding off Katerina Smutna of Team Santander by just over ten seconds.

“This victory means a lot to me, because the season was far from ideal,” Kowalczyk told the Polish press. “I knew I had to attack Seraina on the final climb.”

Kowalczyk said that although she loved racing some ski marathons this winter – she did La Sgambeda in Italy, La Diagonela in Switzerland, the Marcialonga in Italy, and the Birkebeiner in Norway – she still plans to focus primarily on FIS World Championships in Lahti, Finland, next season.

Despite the results of the women’s race on Saturday, it was Britta Johansson Norgren of Team Lager 157 who took the season title on the back of big wins earlier in the season. She finished just seventh on the day in Åre but still ended with a 130 point lead over Boner, with Smutna sliding into third, just 20 more points back.

Norgren was exhausted at the end of this season, after double-poling all of the races in the series, but was already looking forward to 2017.

It feels great to win overall,” she told the Swedish media. “But today I’m disappointed. The head wanted it more than the body. Double-poling has been my strength in the winter, but today there was not there… It is difficult to keep fit an entire season. But I’m very eager to do this again next year. The other girls will improve and I also hope to get better.”

Team Santander bested Team United Bakeries in the overall standings by 666 points. The team announced to Langrenn.com that athlete members Anders and Jørgen Aukland would move into roles as team managers.

Årefjällsloppet results: men / women

Visma Ski Classics final standings

The FIS Worldloppet Cup also wrapped up on Saturday, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Toni Livers of Switzerland and Aurelie Dabudyk of France earned overall titles.

Dabudyk had already had the win wrapped up, so the women’s race carried no season-title drama. But Livers led the Worldloppet Cup by just 20 points going into the 50 k skate Ugra Ski Marathon, and had to win or at least beat key competitors if he wanted the title.

It wouldn’t be easy: the star-studded field featured not only the usual long-distance suspects but also Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, most recently seen winning stages and finishing second overall in the Ski Tour Canada World Cup series.

Ustiugov attacked over and over again in Khanty-Mansiysk, but in the end Livers was able to overtake him and ski to the win just half a second ahead of Yurij Shopin of Russia. Bastien Poirrier of France took third just a tenth of a second behind Shopin, with teammate Candide Pralong another tenth of a second back and Ustiugov landing in fifth another two-tenths of a second back.

“Ustiugov was very strong today,” Livers said in a FIS press release. “He attacked all the time and opened gaps, so I thought I will fight for the second place today. But on the last 3 km the race became a hectic one and I felt strong enough, so I tried my luck!”

Dabudyk treated the race like a training session, and instead it was Yulia Tikhonova of Belarus who claimed the win by 45 seconds over Olga Rotcheva of Russia. Elisa Brocard of Italy was third, +3:51.

In the end Dabudyk bested Brocard in the overall standings by 431 points to 370, with Klara Moravcova of the Czech Republic third with 330 points. Livers landed 60 points ahead of Poirrier, with Pralong another 36 points back in third.

Ugra Ski Marathon results: men / women

FIS Worldloppet Cup rankings: men / women

Dabudyk (left) and Livers on the start line in Khanty-Mansiysk. (Photo: FIS Worldloppet Cup.)

Dabudyk (left) and Livers on the start line in Khanty-Mansiysk. (Photo: FIS Worldloppet Cup.)

Dahl, Boner Tops in Birkebeiner; Ski Classics Titles All-But-Decided

Both the men’s and women’s editions of the 2016 Birkebeiner finished in dramatic style: the men’s in a four-way sprint for the line, and the women’s in a come-from-behind victory.

After 54 kilometers from Rena to Lillehammer, Norway, that belonged to Seraina Boner of Switzerland, who started the race well behind the leaders. The 2011-2013 champion of the race, Boner began to feel better as the race went on. When she passed Visma Ski Classics overall leader and Swede Britta Johansson Norgren going up the course’s big climb, she realized that things might be going better than she had thought.

With just 14 kilometers to go, Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland, one of the pre-race favorites, and Japan’s Masako Ishida were leading the race by 45 seconds. But both women were tiring, Kowalczyk partly from the Ski Tour Canada, a brutal set of races completed just a week before. Boner managed to catch them in the final kilometers.

While Ishida fell off the group, Kowalczyk shadowed Boner to the finish but wasn’t able to make the final sprint.

“It’s not over until you reach Lillehammer,” Boner – who won by ten seconds over Kowalczyk – told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Boner’s time of 2:55:04 was slightly slower than her own times from the several previous years; Norway’s Therese Johaug won the 2015 edition in 2:41:46.

Ishida held onto third, +1:57, and Johansson Norgren to fourth, +2:53. Katerina Smutna of Austria was  fifth, +4:53.

In the men’s race, it came down to a field sprint between four tired men, and John Kristian Dahl of Norway – who had won Sweden’s 90 k  Vasaloppet the previous weekend – came out on top in 2:27:34.

“That was amazing, to somehow get the double,” he told NRK.

43-year-old Anders Aukland took second, Petter Eliassen third, and Sjur Røthe fourth, all finishing with the same time as Dahl. Just off the pace was Tord Asle Gjerdalen, 20 seconds back. That gave Norway a clean sweep of the top five places.

Despite finishing fourth, Johansson Norgren held onto the Visma Ski Classics overall lead; 200 points are awarded for each win, and she has a 180-point lead over Smutna going into the final competition, the Årefjällsloppet in Sweden. Eliassen has almost as big of a lead: 161 points over Gjerdalen.

In the team standings, Team Santander – the team of Smutna, Kowalczyk, Gjerdalen and Aukland – has a 686-point lead over Team United Bakeries.

University of Utah alum Snorri Einarsson finished in 2:32:14, good for 25th in the men’s elite field. Tyler DeAngelis of Lynx Nordic crossed in 3:05:03, the top American, followed by Jackson Bloch of Sonic Hedgehog in 3:10:29. Graham Longford of Canada brought it home in 4:44:43.

Emily Stitt of the Mansfield Nordic Club finished in 3:37:32, good for 59th in the elite field and the title of top American.

This year’s edition was also a royal competition, with Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon finishing in in 4:10:10 to best his Danish counterpart, Crown Prince Frederik, by 55 minutes.

He has never lived in a country where there is cross-country skiing on a daily basis, but that he still is here is super impressive,” Haakon said of Frederik in gracious royal-family style, according to a translation. “He is much fitter than me and beats me in everything. He bikes, swims and runs, so he’s a beast.”

Pippa Middleton, sister of Britain’s Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, finished in 5:58:34.

“I was nervous at the start,” Middleton told the UK’s Daily Mail. “It’s a tough race with plenty of uphill and a strong headwind but I enjoyed every minute of it and the fine weather lifted everyone’s spirits. The course was beautiful and the atmosphere amazing between competitors and supporters along the way.”

Results

Birkebeinnerrennet

Visma Ski Classics standings

Gjerdalen Bests Eliassen, Johansson-Norgren Wins Again at Manmade Marcialonga

Tor Asle Gjerdalen (l) and Britta Johansson-Norgren (r) after winning the 2016 Marcialonga 70 k classic on Saturday. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Tor Asle Gjerdalen (l) and Britta Johansson-Norgren (r) after winning the 2016 Marcialonga 70 k classic on Saturday. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Two kilometers of manmade snow is one thing, but covering 70 k with artificial snow is another story.

Yet, despite no natural snow, the organizers of Italy’s Marcialonga, the fifth event in the Visma Ski Classics, managed to pull-off the classical-style Worldloppet race event on Sunday with complete snow coverage over the 70 k course.

Testing the tracks first were the women marathoners, who started 10 minutes prior to the men.

At the 18 k mark, Sweden’s Britta Johansson-Norgren and Austrian Katerina Smutna broke away from the other 937 female competitors and skied together until the infamously most difficult part of the course, the Cascata climb.

With 2.5 k of uphill to the finish in Cavalese, the real battle for first between Norgren and Smutna began.

In the end, Norgren bested Smutna by 1.4 seconds, claiming her first Marcialonga win in a time of 3:13:50.7. It was her third-consecutive Ski Classics victory.

“Kristina Smutna was so strong. It was a hard fight on the final climb up to Cavalese. I trained the whole summer on getting stronger in the finish, so I am very glad to be the first today,” Norgren said in a FIS Worldloppet press release.

Smutna took second overall, and Switzerland’s Seraina Boner crossed in third, 3:59 after the race winner Norgren.

In the men’s event, 4,798 participants from over 10 different countries completed the race, but Norway came away victorious with the top-five spots.

Once again, the Cascata climb determined who, of the 20 favorites in the lead, would eventually win.

With 10 k to go, Petter Eliassen of Norway moved to the front of the group. Two of his compatriots Tord Asle Gjerdalen and Stian Hoelgaard followed suit as he pushed the pace towards the final climb.

With 800 meters of uphill left, Gjerdalen overtook Eliassen’s yellow bib and crossed the finish line in Cavalese as the race winner in a time of 2:49:49.1.

“I was not supposed to increase the speed that early, but I took the risk and made it in the end. I want to thank all the people working for this event, the snow was incredibly good despite the fact that it was all dry around us,” Gjerdalen said in a Worldloppet press release.

Eliassen finished 5.3 seconds later for second place, and Hoelgaard in third, 5.4 seconds behind Gjerdalen.

Racing picks up again on Feb. 13-14 in France with the 68 k freestyle La Transjurasienne Worldloppet event.

Results: Men | Women

— Gabby Naranja

Eliassen, Johansson-Norgren Top La Diagonela for 2nd Ski Classics Win

Start of the 55 k La Diagonela in Zuoz, Switzerland, on Saturday. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Start of the 55 k La Diagonela on Jan. 23 in Zuoz, Switzerland. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Sunshine and a full race course made for happy racers at La Diagonela, the fourth Visma Ski Classics event on Saturday and the first to be held on a single-lap course this season.

Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlan Go and Britta Johansson-Norgren of the Lager 157 Ski Team both won the second-consecutive Ski Classics this season after taking titles at the Jizerská 50 two weeks ago.

Instead of 15 laps of a 3.3 k course at Jizerska, skiers traversed a 55-kilometer course along the beautiful Engadine Valley in the classic-only race. Contained within the valley, the course is relatively flat but features a significant climb just after 20 k to bring racers to the highest point of the course at 1800 meters above sea level. Although the second half features a net descent, skiers are challenged by undulating hills and a final climb into Zouz, Switzerland.

Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlan Go celebrates his second-straight victory in the Visma Ski Classics at the 55 k La Diagonela in Zuoz, Switzerland, on Jan. 23. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlan Go celebrates his second-straight victory in the Visma Ski Classics at the 55 k La Diagonela in Zuoz, Switzerland, on Jan. 23. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Although it was initially planned as a 65 k event, minor changes had to be made to the race course due to low snow. Even with snow challenges, the alternate course covered 55 kilometers thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and race organizers. The shorter event, the La Pachifica, was held on the full 35 k course.

The elite men and women started the race under grey skies and snow, but the clouds soon broke and made for a beautiful day of racing.  The women started 15 minutes before the men and the fresh powder in the tracks made for an additional challenge for the women’s field early in the race.

In the men’s race, Eliassen attacked 10 k from the finish and was joined by Norwegian Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Team Santander. Morten Eide Pedersen of Team Exspirit chased but could not catch the pair. The title was decided in the final minutes of the race as Eliassen pulled away from his fellow countryman to win by just eight seconds.

Pedersen (+0:48) narrowly held off fellow Norwegians Anders Høst (+0:52) and Anders Auckland (+0:54) for the final podium placing.

“I could do nothing. Eliassen is too strong. He is good,” said Gjerdalen told TV2 according to a translation.

However, Eliassen was not as confident of the outcome as he approached the finish.

“I was very unsure of what was going to happen towards the end. I did not feel safe until it was five meters to the finish,” Eliassen told TV2.

After Saturday’s victory, Eliassen took the overall Ski Classics leader’s bib from Johan Kjølstad who finished 15th. Both Gjerdalen and Pedersen moved up in the overall standings to second and third, respectively, but neither are within 100 points of Eliassen.

In the women’s race, Johansson-Norgren of Sweden proved to be the class of the field yet again, claiming victory by over one minute. However, in contrast to Jizerska, the women’s podium was far from a Swedish sweep. Austrian Kateřina Smutná of Team Santander was second (+1:02) and Switzerland’s Seraina Boner of Team Exspirit took third (+1:51) claiming a podium finish in her home country. Swedes Lina Korsgren and Sara Lindborg who both double poled to the podium in Jizerska claimed a distant fourth (+3:49) and fifth (+3:56), respectively.

With her win Johansson-Norgren retains her yellow bib, extending her overall lead over Smutná and Korsgren.

Ski Classics racing will resume Jan. 31 in Trento, Italy, for the Italian Marcialonga 70 k classic race.

La Diagonela Results

Overall Ski Classics Standings

— Kaitlyn Patterson

Treinen Defends Qaniq Challenge Title; Frankowski Tops Brooks in Two-Day Event

 

Sunrise in Valdez, Alaska, site of the Qaniq Challenge. (Photo: Gavin Kentch)

Sunrise in Valdez, Alaska, home of the Qaniq Challenge. (Photo: Gavin Kentch)

By Gavin Kentch

VALDEZ, Alaska — Lex Treinen defended his title in the second-annual Qaniq Challenge while Rosie Frankowski set the pace for the women, completing an Alaska Pacific University (APU) sweep of the two-day series last Saturday and Sunday.

The Qaniq Challenge sent skiers around a classic course on the first day of racing, then over a different skate course on Day 2.  Each course was roughly 15 kilometers.  Lowest combined time from both days wins.  In this year’s race, as in 2015, time gaps created on Day 1 proved difficult to overcome on Day 2, and the overall finish order remained largely unchanged after the first day of racing.

Saturday sent the field of 36 racers over a classic individual-start course.  Race organizers called the classic course as 19 k, but by general acclaim it seems to have been somewhat shorter than that. Two-thirds of the course was pancake-flat, running along a river and out to the shores of the Pacific Ocean and back.  The remaining third had rolling hills, plus one steep uphill and dramatic downhill.  All top male finishers chose to double pole the course on skate gear.

Snow coverage was impeccable, with a base ranging from two to three feet on the designated nordic trails to at least one foot running along the river.

Rosie Frankowski (APU) races to a victory in the Day 1 classic race on Saturday, the first of the two-day Qaniq Challenge. Frankowski won the classic leg by 1:20 over Brooks. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

Rosie Frankowski (APU) races to a victory in the Day 1 classic race on Saturday, the first of the two-day Qaniq Challenge. Frankowski won the classic leg by 1:20 over Brooks. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

Frankowski had the fastest classic time in the women’s field, in 47:40.6, and fifth-fastest overall.  Holly Brooks (APU) was second (+1:20.7) for seventh overall, and Lauren Fritz (APU) came in third, roughly three minutes behind Brooks (+4:17.3).

Treinen was fastest among the men in 42:01.7. Teammate Tyler Kornfield (APU) followed 14.3 seconds later in second.  There was a gap to Paul Kovacs (Australian National Team) in third (+2:01.5).  Treinen and Kornfield were the only two racers in the field to complete the classic course faster than the next day’s skate course.

A freestyle mass start followed on Sunday.  The skate course was advertised as 14 k, but seems to have been somewhat longer than that. Race organizers seeded skiers for the mass start in the order of their Saturday finish time, with small numbered posts along the tracks in the start area to help racers find their correct position and line up for the chevron start.

The skate course started in a clearing on the side of the Richardson Highway, approximately five miles east of downtown Valdez.  The skate course took racers up a dramatic valley ringed by mountains, twice around a loop of approximately 4 k, and then back to the finish by the same route.  It was very flat; a decent citizen racer was able to V2 100 percent of the course.

Start of the Day 2 skate race of the 2016 Qaniq Challenge, with Kornfield (2), Treinen (1), Kovacs (3), and Brooks (7). Treinen went on to win the event, posting the fastest skate and classic legs. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

Start of the Day 2 skate race of the 2016 Qaniq Challenge, with Kornfield (2), Treinen (1), Kovacs (3), and Brooks (7). Treinen went on to win the event, posting the fastest skate and classic legs. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

The top-three from Saturday finished in the top three on Sunday, as the flat course and mass start format made it difficult for any of the top contenders to break away.  The top four finishers from Saturday – Treinen, Kornfield, Kovacs, and Dylan Watts (former APU Elite Team coach) – skied together in a lead pack throughout the race, before Treinen pulled away near the end for a narrow victory.  The next four overall finishers – Brooks and Frankowski, along with two male citizen racers – followed in a chase pack approximately 3 1/2 minutes back.  The third woman, Fritz, skied nearly the entire race on her own, finishing 10th overall.

The two lead packs were reflected in the final results.  Treinen was first for the men in 42:55.0, with second through fourth finishing within 20 seconds of him.  Kornfield in second was 3.3 seconds back, Kovacs was 9.3 seconds out in third, and Watts finished fourth (+19.6).

Similarly, Brooks was the fastest woman, finishing within the chase pack in 46:46.9.  Frankowski came in 3.3 seconds later in second. Brooks later explained, in informal in-person remarks after the race, that the four members of her pack took turns trading off the lead, but that Frankowski wasn’t particularly keen on letting her open up a big gap.

The final podium, based on combined times, remained unchanged from the first-day results: Treinen, Kornfield and Kovacs for the men, then Frankowski, Brooks and Fritz for the women.

Lex Treinen (1) leads APU teammate Tyler Kornfield (2) and Australian Paul Kovacs (3), and former APU coach Dylan Watts (4) into the finish of the skate race on the final day of the Qaniq Challenge in Valdez, Alaska. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

Lex Treinen (1) leads APU teammate Tyler Kornfield (2) and Australian Paul Kovacs (3), and former APU coach Dylan Watts (4) into the finish of the skate race on the final day of the Qaniq Challenge in Valdez, Alaska. (Photo: Susan Orlansky)

Treinen and Frankowski each pocketed $3,000 dollars for the victory, receiving symbolic oversized checks at an awards banquet on Sunday evening.  Kornfield and Brooks took home $1,500 apiece for second.  Kovacs and Fritz, in third, each earned $500 for the weekend.

It’s fair to say that $3,000 is a lot of money in the world of American domestic cross-country ski racing.  As Frankowski noted in an in-person interview, “The most money I’ve previously won is $150 at a SuperTour [for fifth place in the Sun Valley SuperTour 10 k classic last month], so this is an extreme amount compared to that.  I’ve never won nationals or anything like that.  It’s, honestly, awesome, because being a ski racer is a very un-lucrative profession, and so even with side jobs, it’s hard to make ends meet.  So this is awesome.”

An ebullient Frankowski continued, “I’ve won money on the SuperTour probably three times in my life, and it’s always been $100, or $150.  Let’s just say, a race like this – I don’t think I’ve ever made $3,000 in my life at one time.”

Treinen echoed more of the same.  While he took home $4,000 for his fifth-place finish in last year’s American Birkebeiner ($1,500 for fifth overall, then $2,500 more as the top American), “the next closest race [last year] was 100 bucks or something.”

Treinen rejected the suggestion that this payout represented a generous $3,000 in income for fewer than 90 minutes’ worth of work.  “I do not think that’s a fair way to look at it,” Treinen noted.  “Although it does sometimes feel like that. … I would rebut that the race itself was the fun part, the enjoyment part of it.  And the work itself was the hours over the summer and all winter long, training.  So there were many long hours spent to earn this victory.  But right now it does feel like I only worked an hour to get the victory, so it feels kind of good.”

Treinen leaves Valdez as the two-time defending champion, and as the only male winner in the race’s history.  When asked if he’d ever won any other race twice in a row, the gracious and fraternal Treinen responded, “No, I have not won any other race this year.  But I maybe beat my brother twice in a row [in recent Besh Cup races], and that’s as good as winning a race two years in a row.”

Race Director Darryl Verfaille reports that the Qaniq Challenge is fully funded, at current prize levels, through 2017.

Results: Combined times (overall results) | Day 1 classic individual start | Day 2 freestyle mass start

Jizerska 50 Preview: A 15-Lap Race with a Story

The stadium which athletes will pass through many, many times at this weekend's marathon. (Photo: Jizerska 50)

The stadium which athletes will pass through many, many times at this weekend’s marathon. (Photo: Jizerska 50)

A continuing lack of snow in central Europe makes it tough to run a point-to-point race, much less a marathon. And so the organizers of the Jizerska 50, which is to be held on Sunday in the Czech Republic and this year is both a WorldLoppet and Ski Classics competition, have been forced to get creative.

What that looks like for elite competitors is a 50 kilometer marathon which will be run as 15 laps of a 3.3 kilometer course.

For the rest of the field, the race will be just four laps of the course. To deal with the huge number of people competing on the tiny loop, the field was asked to sign up for starting waves, with each one capped at 400 people. Most waves are given two hours to complete the course, and then the next wave goes off.

Waves have additionally been distributed over all three days of the weekend, with skiers in any wave starting after 3 p.m. required to wear headlamps.

But back to the elite field and their many laps to add up to 50 k. In coming up with a backup plan, race organizers were able to honor the history of the race in a unique way while still treating racers to a brutal competition.

The first Jizerska race took place on the last Saturday in January 1968 when 52 competitors participated and ran along the Jizera Mountains from Bedrichov to Korenow and back to Bedrichov. The event was originally designed to test the endurance of mountain climbers as they prepared for major expeditions.

In 1970, the participating field included 15 members of a Czech mountaineering expedition team who were about to travel to Peru. Four months later, they were buried by a rockslide after the Ancash earthquake caused a huge section of Huascaran, the 22,205-foot mountain where they were climbing, to collapse.

“No one will ever again use the start numbers 1-15,” Jizerska 50’s David Dousa noted this week. “They the belong tho the mountaineers. ”

In honor of these men, each of the 15 laps in the 2016 Jizerska 50 will be a tribute to one of the expedition members.

“We are delighted to finding this solution this year in order to pay tribute to the history (of the race), and also being able to create an extremely tough 50km race in which the winners will be real cross-country heroes,” says David Nilsson, CEO of the Visma Ski Classics, said in a press release.

It has been more than a month’s break since the last Ski Classics events. The 2016 Ski Classics started with a double-header in Italy on December 5 and 6, featuring a 15 k team prologue, followed by the 24 k La Sgambeda classic race, also shortened from the original 35 k version due to lack of snow.

15 laps might be a hard race, but some skiers are looking forward to it.

“It will be long and it will be tough race with great elevation,” Stanislav Rezac, a top Czech marathoner, told iDNES.cz. “I commend what the race organizers are trying to do.

Leading into the Jizerska, Norway’s John Kristian Dahl of Team United Bakeries is currently in first place for the overall Ski Classics title with 250 points, Russia’s Eugeniy Dementiev og Team Futura is in second place with 220 points, and Johan Kjølstad of Norway and Team United Bakeries is in third place with 190 points.

Austria’s Katerina Smutna of Team Santander is leading the women’s overall standings with 250 points, and has a good shot at extending her lead: in 2015 she won the Jizerska by 47 seconds over Masako Ishida.

Two Swedes are in second and third place in the Ski Classics standings. Britta Johansson Norgren of Lager 157 has 220 points and Lina Korsgren of Team Pioneer Investments in second place with 170 points.

Team Santander’s Anders Nygaard of Norway is leading the sprint competition. With 80 points he has a 50-point gap to the next two racers.

Two Norwegians are leading the Ski Classics youth competition: On the men’s side, Stian Hoelgaard has 104 points, while Tuva Toftdahl Staver has 116 points in the women’s competition.

In the team competition, it is currently dead even between the top two teams: Team United Bakeries and Team Santander both have 665 points after the first two races in the 2016 Ski Classics. Team Expirit is in third place with 461 points.

 

Dahl Wins La Sgambeda; Smutna and Team Santander Lead Ski Classics Standings

(l-r) John Kristian Dahl, Øystein Pettersen, and Johan Kjølstad of Team United Bakeries racked up the fastest time in the team time trial on Saturday. In Sunday's 24 k classic La Sgambeda, Dahl took the win with Kjølstad in third. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

(l-r) John Kristian Dahl, Øystein Pettersen, and Johan Kjølstad of Team United Bakeries racked up the fastest time in the team time trial on Saturday. In Sunday’s 24 k classic La Sgambeda, Dahl took the win with Kjølstad in third. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

LIVIGNO, Italy— The two leading teams from last year’s Ski Classics series are once again on top. After one weekend of racing, defending champion Team Santander has 670 points, leading Team United Bakeries by just five points. Team Exspirit is in third with 461 points.

Team United Bakeries started the 2016 season off with a win in the team prologue on Saturday. The score combined the time of the team’s best woman from a 15 k mass start, with three times the time of the third-best man from a 15 k team time trial. Each team started separated by two minutes, and it was up to the team to decide how long to keep all the teammates skiing together, or when to drop down to just a core group to get the third man to the finish fastest.

Lina Korsgren of Team Pioneer Investments won the women's 15 k classic prologue. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Lina Korsgren of Team Pioneer Investments won the women’s 15 k classic prologue. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

The winner of the women’s mass start was, in a surprise, Lina Korsgren of Team Pioneer Investments, ahead of Katerina Smutna of Team Santander. Britta Johansson Nordgren had made a break with about five kilometers to go, and pulled the other two towards the finish, but they passed her in the final few hundred meters. Nordgren, of Lager 157 Ski Team, finished third.

Masako Ishida was the top Team United Bakeries finisher, in seventh.

In the men’s team time trial, Team United Bakeries had the fastest group, with Johan Kjølstad, Øystein Pettersen, and John Kristian Dahl crossing the line in 32:33. Team Exspirit (Morten Eide Pedersen, Daniel Richardsson, and Bill Impola) was second, crossing the line at 32:48, and Team Santander (Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Anders Aukland, Snorri Einarsson) third in 32:54.

The next test was the La Sgambeda itself. Originally scheduled as a 35 k classic race up and down the valley outside of Livigno, the race was shortened to 24 k due to low snow conditions.

Team Santander on course during the men's prologue. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

Team Santander on course during the men’s prologue. (Photo: Visma Ski Classics)

The elite women started first, with Smutna– last year’s Ski Classics champion – outsprinting Norgren Johansson of Lager 57 Ski Team and Justyna Kowalcyk, also of Team Santander. The ladies completed the four 6 k loops in 1:01:47.

Ten men came to the finish together, but Dahl was the best of the pack in the sprint (video from Norway’s TV2 here). Evgeniy Dementiev of Team Futura by just 0.08 seconds. Kjølstad place third another 0.33 seconds back.

“It was good to take a victory,” Dahl told TV2. “I have not won since Vasaloppet in 2014, so this is not an everyday occurrence for me.”

World Cup regulars Ville Nousiainen of Finland and Chris Andre Jespersen of Norway took a break from their usual scenes to jump in the race, finishing eighth and ninth, three seconds out of Dahl’s time.

Prologue Results

La Sgambeda Results

Visma Ski Classics Rankings

Britta Norgren Johansson leads Katerina Smutna and the rest of the women's field in the Visma Ski Classics Prologue.

Britta Norgren Johansson leads Katerina Smutna and the rest of the women’s field in the Visma Ski Classics Prologue.

Eliassen Takes It All in Årefjällsloppet, Ski Classics Final

 

Seraina Boner of Switzerland and Team Coop and Petter Eliassen of Norway and Team LeaseplanGO won Årefjällsloppet on Saturday, the final of the the nine events in the 2015 Swix Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Seraina Boner (l) of Switzerland and Team Coop and Petter Eliassen of Norway and Team LeasePlan Go won the Årefjällsloppet on March 28, the last of nine events in the 2015 Swix Ski Classics marathon series. (Photo: Ski Classics)

By Inge Scheve

Petter Eliassen (Team LeasePlan Go) continued his winning streak in the Swix Ski Classics final 47-kilometer marathon, Årefjällsloppet, on Saturday in Sweden, which also earned him the overall title as Ski Classics champion. Seraina Boner (Team Coop) won the women’s race.

Once again, it was an all-Norwegian men’s podium in the Ski Classics. And once again Eliassen was the strongest in the end, skiing away from Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Team Santander about 2 kilometers from the finish. The third Norwegian, John Kristian Dahl of Team United Bakeries snagged the last spot on the podium after edging Anders Aukland of Team Santander at the finish.

In the women’s race, Boner of Switzerland skied away from the rest of the pack in the tough uphill halfway through the race. Swedish World Cup star Sofia Bleckur was second, and Japan’s Masako Ishida of Team United Bakeries took third.

Start of the women in Årefjällsloppet 2015. Photo: Ski Classics

Start of the women in the 2015 Årefjällsloppet. (Photo: Ski Classics)

In from left field

With his victory at Årefjällsloppet, Eliassen made Ski Classics history by winning four consecutive Ski Classics events. The former Norwegian national-team racer, who joined Thomas Alsgaard’s long-distance project Team LeasePlan Go prior to the 2014/2015 season, was considered an outsider for the overall in the beginning of the season. But the rookie marathon racer inched in on the overall race by race.

“It’s actually a bit unreal right now. It will be hard to land after this,” Eliassen told the Norwegian broadcaster TV2 after the race. “But I think the marathon series will be my arena in the future … It’s really nice that the entire team does so well. We should be quite happy with this season.”

His first Ski Classics victory came in the König Luwdiglauf in Germany on Feb. 1, but Eliassen caught the most attention when he won the Vasaloppet two weeks before the Norwegian Birkebeiner. When he won Birkebeinerrennet in Norway last weekend, he cruised into the over yellow leader bib for the final event in Sweden this weekend. And by winning the Årefjallsloppet, he proceeded to take the overall 2015 Ski Classics Champion title by more than 230 points.

Overall Ski Classics results and standings

Årefjällsloppet results

Petter Eliassen won the 2015 Birkebeinerrennet last weekend, and headed into the Swix Ski Classics final this weekend wearing the yellow overall leader bib. Photo: Kent Murdoch

Petter Eliassen won the 2015 Birkebeinerrennet last weekend, and headed into the Swix Ski Classics final this weekend wearing the yellow overall leader bib. (Photo: Kent Murdoch)

Payday

Årefjällsloppet was the last of the nine Ski Classics events of the season, which means that the banquet also included overall awards and a solid payday for many of the pro racers.

In addition to the prize money for Årefjallsloppet itself, 200,000 Euros was awarded at the season-end banquet on Saturday night. The top overall male/female received 8 percent of that (16,000 Euros) plus the prize money for the event (21,000 Euros for each individual win) for a total of roughly $40,000 U.S. dollars. Money was also awarded to the top-six men overall, and the top-three women overall.

Placing fifth in the Årefjällsloppet, Austria’s Kateřina Smutná (Team Silvini Madshus) narrowly beat Boner for the overall women’s title by 75 points. Boner won two of the 2014/2015 Ski Classics events – the first, La Sgambeda, and the last – and reached the podium in every race except the König Ludwiglauf. In placing fifth in the Ski Classics final, Smutna earned 100 points. Had she been 11th or worse, Boner would have been the overall Ski Classics champion. Britta Johansson Norgren of Sweden was 219 points out of second in third overall.

Holly Brooks won the Dolomitenlauf in Austria earlier this season. She has focused on the long-distance events in the FIS Marathon Cup, but raced some of the Ski Classics events as well. (Photo: Thomas ISEP)

Holly Brooks won the Dolomitenlauf in Austria earlier this season. She has focused on the long-distance events in the FIS Marathon Cup, but raced some of the Ski Classics events as well. (Photo: Thomas ISEP)

Holly Brooks, the only American racer in the elite Ski Classics series, placed 16th overall for the season. Brooks only raced the Ski Classics events that were also a part of the FIS Marathon Cup, and those that did not interfere with her other race plans. With one event to go in the 2014/2015 FIS Marathon Cup, Brooks is now narrowly in the lead for the overall title in that circuit.

Increasing interest

The Ski Classics was extended from six events last season to nine events this season, which was the fourth edition of the long-distance series. More teams and more racers participated in the series, and 2014/2015 had a record amount with almost 30 professional teams registered.

The season opened Dec. 13 in Livigno, Italy, with the 15 k La Sgambeda team prologue, a brand-new event and format to the series, followed by the 35 k La Sgambeda classic the next day. Then the race series took a month break and continued with the 50 k Jizerska Padesatka in the Czech Republic on Jan. 11, La Diagonela in Switzerland on Jan. 17, Marcialonga in Italy on Jan. 25, and König Ludwiglauf in Germany on Feb. 1. Four weeks later, the series resumed with the Vasaloppet in Sweden on March 8, followed by the Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 21 and the Årefjällsloppet in Sweden on March 28.

Ski Classics Overall: men

  • First place: Petter Eliassen (Team LeasePlan Go) 1270 points, 20 percent of total prize money
  • Second: Anders Aukland (Team Santander) 1032 points, 8 percent of total prize money
  • Third: Tord Asle Gjerdalen (Team Santander) 930 points, 5 percent of total prize money
  • Fourth: Øystein Pettersen (Team United Bakeries) 915 points, 3 percent of total prize money
  • Fifth: Morten Eide Pedersen (Team Coop) 646 points, 2 percent of total prize money
  • Sixth: John Kristian Dahl (Team United Bakeries) 633 points, 1 percent of total prize money

Ski Classics Overall: women

  • First place: Kateřina Smutná (Team Silvini Madshus) 1290 points, 20 percent of total prize money
  • Second: Seraina Boner (Team Coop) 1215 points, 8 percent of total prize money
  • Third: Britta Johansson Norgren (Team SkiProAm) 996 points, 5 percent of total prize money

Ski Classics Team Champion

Team Satander, 3556 points, 20 percent of total prize money

Ski Classics Sprint Champion

Øystein Pettersen, Team United Bakeries, 6 percent of total prize money

Ski Classics Youth Champion Men

Anders Høst, LYN Ski, 441 points, 1 percent of total prize money

Ski Classics Youth Champion Women

Tone Sundvor, Team Synnfjell, 327 points, 1 percent of total prize money

Eliassen, Kowalczyk Take Vasaloppet Titles

Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk and Norway's Petter Eliassen won the 90 k Vasaloppet on Sunday in Sweden. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk and Norway’s Petter Eliassen won the 90 k Vasaloppet on Sunday in Mora, Sweden. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

(Press release)

The 2015 Vasaloppet is the seventh of nine marathons in the Swix Ski Classics tour. Warm and wet conditions made the 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora, Sweden, extra tough with big time gaps between the athletes. With ten kilometers to go there was only three athletes left in the leading group; Petter Eliassen (Team LeasePlan Go), Anders Aukland (Team Santander) and Stanislav Rezac (Silvini Madshus Team). With two kilometers to go Eliassen started to push hard and won Vasaloppet for the first time, just ahead of Aukland.

“Amazing to win Vasaloppet and it is hard to believe,” Eliassen said. “I was hoping to fight for the podium today but I never really believed that I could win. But the race developed my way and the tactic was to not use any energy before Oxberg. Then I tried to push hard in the last two hills to get a gap before the finish sprint.”

Also the women had a tough race were Justyna Kowalczyk (Russian Marathon Team) won ahead of Britta Johansson Norgren (Team SkiProAm) and Seraina Boner (Team Coop).

“It was a really tough race and I broke my pole directly at the start,” Kowalczyk said. “An amazing experience winning Vasaloppet and I felt great the first 75km. But the last 15km was very painful and I am super happy to win.”

Aukland and Katerina Smutna (Team Madshus Silvini) are still leading the Swix Ski Classics Champion competition presented by Rottefella. Andreas Nygaard (Team LeasePlan Go) took back the green sprint bib and Team Santander is still leading the Team Competition. Anders Høst (Team Lyn Ski) took over the lead in the men’s youth competition and Tone Sundvor (Team Synnfjell) is still leading the women’s youth competition.

Top results

Swix Ski Classics Event 7 – Vasaloppet Men
1 PETTER ELIASSEN 04:01:48.30
2 ANDERS AUKLAND 04:01:53.65
3 STANISLAV ŘEZÁČ 04:02:12.10
4 ØYSTEIN PETTERSEN 04:04:43.95
5 JOHN KRISTIAN DAHL 04:05:01.90

Swix Ski Classics Event 7 – Vasaloppet Women
1 JUSTYNA KOWALCZYK 04:41:02.05
2 BRITTA JOHANSSON NORGREN 04:45:18.80
3 SERAINA BONER 04:49:16.85
4 LAILA KVELI 04:50:11.50
5 LINA KORSGREN 04:54:30.40

Searchable results

Sunday’s Vasaloppet: What You Need to Know

Vasaloppet (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

(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 Team Coop, as well as three time Vasaloppet winners Jörgen Brink Team Lager 157 and Oskar Svärd Team Coop, stand on the start line next to Olympic gold medalist Alexander Legkov Russian Marathon Team, World Champion Johan Olsson and World Champion Maxim Vylegzanin Russian Marathon Team.

In the female competition last year´s long distance queen #1 ranked Seraina Boner Team Coop, meet current yellow bib holder #4 ranked Katerina Smutna Team Silvini Madshus last two year’s Vasaloppet winner #2 ranked Laila Kveli Team Santander, the winner of König Ludwig Lauf #3 ranked Britta Johansson Norgren meet one of the most victories world cup traditional skier of all times Justyna Kowalczyk Russian Marathon Team.
The battle on Sunday in the Swedish forests will be amazing!

Follow Vasaloppet on www.skiclassics.com
History

The race was started in 1922 and is inspired by the run of that the future King Gustav Vasa made in 1520 to get away of the invading king of Denmark. Gustav vasa, fearing for his life and discovered by the Danish troops, spoke to an assembly of men in Mora, aiming to convince them to raise a levy and start a rebellion against king Christian of Denmark. The med didn’t want to fight for these reasons so on his ski’s, Gustav Vasa started to make his way towards Norway, to find refuge there, when two Mora brothers on ski’s caught up with him in Sälen. The men in Mora had changed their minds after hearing that the Danish rulers had decided to raise taxes, and they now wanted Gustav to lead the rebellion. On the 6th of June 1523, Gustav vasa was crowned king of Sweden, having beaten the Danish king Christian. Sweden has been independent ever since.

Vasaloppet is the oldest, the longest, and also considered the biggest cross-country ski race in the world. About 16,000 skiers competed in the main event. The course starts in Sälen where Gustav Vasa was caught up by the brothers and passes through beautiful taiga forests, villages, marsh lands, and lakes before finishing the 90K away in the picturesque city of Mora.

2014 RESULTS

Men

1. John Kristian Dahl UNBA 04.14:43
2. Johan Kjölstad UNBA 04.14:36
3. Jörgen Brink LEAS 04.14:38

Women

1. Laila Kveli CENT 04.31:57
2. Britta Johansson Norgren SKIP 04.33:06
3. Annika Löfström SKIP 04.33:48

RACE COURSE DETAILS

Sälen

Sälen is a municipality in the district of Malung-Sälen in Dalarna, Sweden, approximately located 65K northeast of the city of Malung. South of Sälen is the village Berga located, where the start of the Vasaloppet is located and has been since the beginning of the race.
Sälen is famous for their alpine skiing and has seven winter sport centers, focusing on downhill skiing. The largest centers are Lindvallen/Högfjället and Tandådalen/Hundfjället, which are owned and managed by the Swedish company Skistar. Both Lindvallen and Hundfjället has a family approach, meaning that large areas of the ski centers are adapted to children in all ages. Meanwhile, Tandådalen is more for the advanced skiers, with their stepper slopes.

Smågan

Smågan is the first checkpoint in Vasaloppet, which the skiers reach already after 11K. The checkpoint of Smågan came into play in 1983 since the organizers believed that it was to far for the amateurs to ski to Mångsbodaran before getting water.
Smågan is the name of the lake where the checkpoint is located and it is the only checkpoint in the entire race that is not located in a village or town.

Mångsbodarna

Mångsbodarna is a village, previous mountain farm, in the southwest part of the Älvdalens parish in Dalarna. The village, located on 430m (o.s.l), is most known for being the location of the second checkpoint in Vasaloppet.

The first time Mångsbodarna is named in the history books is back in the mountain farm inventory in 1663. Already in the middle of the 19th century some of the mountain farms become residents to the area and at the turn of the century the village had developed to 240 buildings, whereof 40 was cabins and where eight families where residents of Mångsbodarna. For almost 150 years Mångsbodaran has been determined to be a reserve due to their amazing and environment. Mångsbodaran is today well known for their quarry, where the company Wasasten is producing the popular Dala sandstone.

Risberg

Risberg is a mountain farm in Älvdalens parish in Älvdalen’s municipality. The area of Risberg can be found as early as the 17th century, specifically in the mountain farm inventory list in 1963/64. The mountain farm is located on 410m (o.s.l), and many of the original cottages has been restored over time. Today the cottages are mainly used for recreation activities.

Evertsberg

Evertsberg is a village in Älvdalens municipality, approximately 12 kilometers southwest of Älvdalens population center.
Evertsberg is located in an old farming and forestry district, where the well known sight is the old chapel; Evertsberg’s Chapel.
During Vasaloppet are the skiers passing under a large portal, where the faster skier to this point wins the so called Bergspriset (mountain award).

Oxberg

Oxberg is a small village in the north west part of Mora parish, in the Mora municipality. The village of Oxberg is located on the west side of the Österdalälven, approximately 201 meters o.s.l.
Oxberg is most known for their check point in Vasaloppet and are also the starting point for the shorter events during the Vasaloppet week; Tjejvasan, Kortvasan, Halvvasan.

Hökberg

Hökberg is a mountain farm located in Mora municipality, where two popular hiking routes are passing by; Siljansleden and Vasaloppsleden.
Resident registers for Hökberg can be found as early back as 16th century and in the middle of the 19th century the register shows that there was 13 permanent house owners living in Hökberg. Today the numbers of farms in the village is as high as 41, where 2 of them are owned and managed by the local ski club IFK Mora. These 2 farms are used by the Vasalopp organization both in the summer and the winter.

Eldris

Eldris is a mountain farm 10k west of the city of Mora, belonging to the village Långlet. Eldris was used as a mountain farm during most of the year, since the farmers from Långlet moved out there cows to Eldris at the end of may for approximately one month before moving along to another mountain farm called Northerns Garberg. However, when the fall came the farmers moved their cattle back to Eldris and stayed until Christmas.
Eldris is most famous to be the last checkpoint in Vasaloppet; 9 kilometers before the finish line in Mora. The checkpoint has not always been located in the middle of the farm as it is now, since the course has been moved multiple times during the years.

Mora

Mora is the home for the Vasaloppet’s organization and is also the finish for this 90kilometers cross-country race.
The name Mora is assumed to derive from the old Swedish word “mor”, meaning something close to “thick forest with high humidity”. In the area of Mora has been the home for people for a long time, and it is assumed that the Mora perish was established in the 13th century. The famous Swedish artist Anders Zorn is born in Mora, both his home, the Zorn Farm, and the Zorn museum have become a large tourist sight.

Novak, Mannima Win Bieg Piastów; Brooks Fourth

Tatjana Mannima of Estonia and Petr Novak of the Czech Republic are leading the overall FIS Marathon Cup with two events to go. Photo: Worldloppet

Tatjana Mannima of Estonia and Petr Novak of the Czech Republic are leading the overall FIS Marathon Cup with two events to go. (Photo: Worldloppet)

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 a racer grabbing a drink and had to let the other women go, she explained to the organizers after the race. Brooks never managed to bridge the gap.

That left Mannima, Klara Moravcova of the Czech Republic and France’s Aurelie Dabudyk to battle out the podium places. Mannima won the sprint finish and secured her third classic win on the FIS Marathon Cup this season. Moravcova was second (+3.7) and Dabudyk took third (+5.5). Brooks placed fourth, 3:46.3 off the podium and 3:51.8 behind Mannima in first.

“It was a hard race, but I had very good skis, especially in the downhills,” Mannima said. “I had a big advantage of good glide, which helped me a lot. … I am very happy win here today, and to get the red bib back again. I hope I can now keep it until the end of the season.”

With today’s victory Mannima leads with 427 points, while Brooks in second place has 410 points. Dabudyk is in third place with 354 points. With two races left, it will be a tough fight for the overall victory until the end.

Novak set out with a plan

On the men’s side, the race took a clear direction early on, and by 26 k, only seven men, including the podium contenders, were left in the lead pack. With 10 k to go, Novak and Stanislav Rezac, also of the Czech Republic, made their moves and dropped Chauvet.

The Frenchman was the only one of the former seven racers who was still with them at that point. It looked as if the finish of this year’s La Transjurassiene would be repeated, but Novak made his move on a short uphill before the finish and kept on pushing for first in 2:19:19.7. Rezac finished second (+2.1) and Chauvet battled alone to claim third (+1:58.5).

“After the waxing disaster in the U.S., I came home very disappointed and did not feel well,” Novak told organizers after the race. “On the other hand, it gave me some extra motivation to have a good race today.”

“I wanted to be at the head of the race to control the situation and not to spend too much energy,” he added. “I knew that with Rezac, I would need to save enough energy for the finish sprint. I thought that he would start pushing hard on the last uphill, and I needed to keep up with him there. One k before the finish there was a little bump, and I took my chance and accelerated there. Luckily, I was able to keep the gap until the finish line.”

FIS Marathon Cup overall 

With the victory today, Novak increased his lead in the overall FIS Marathon Cup. Novak now has 404 points. Chauvet is in second place with 315 points, and Sergio Bonaldi of Italy is third with 223 points.

More than 1,500 skiers representing 27 countries participated in Saturday’s 51 k classic marathon.

Complete results & overall FIS Marathon Cup standings

— Inge Scheve

Eliassen of Norway and Norgren of Sweden Win König Ludwig Lauf

Petter Eliassen of Norway and Britta Johansson Norgren of Sweden won the König Ludwig Lauf in Germany. The event was the sixth of nine races in the 2015 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Petter Eliassen of Norway and Britta Johansson Norgren of Sweden won the König Ludwig Lauf in Germany. The event was the sixth of nine races in the 2015 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

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.

Eliassen has been strong the whole season, and he finally won his first Ski Classics race in a photo finish with fellow Norwegian Tore Bjørseth Berdal of Team United Bakeries. In that perspective, the 1.6-second margin down to third place was huge. Eliassen finished in 1:59:42.9 and Berdal in 1:59:43.00.

After 46k, a tenth of a second separated Petter Eliassen (left) from Tore Berdal (yellow) in second place. Photo: Ski Classics

After 46k, a tenth of a second separated Petter Eliassen (left) of Norway from Tore Berdal (yellow), also of Norway, in second place. Photo: Ski Classics

“It was awesome to win today. I tried to make my moves on the hills, but I didn’t quite succeed. We worked as a team the whole way, which allowed me to save some energy,” Eliassen said to Norwegian broadcaster TV2 after the finish, explaining that conserving power was an important strategy.

“I am not the best sprinter in the end, so I tried to push hard all the way from the last 5k, making the other guys tired. It was amazing to win my first Swix Ski Classics race, and I am in a good position to reach the podium in the champion competition,” Eliassen said in a Ski Classics press release.

Norway’s Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Team Santander followed up last weekend’s Marcialonga victory with a new Ski Classics podium and placed third, clocking in at 1:59:44.6.

Yesterday, he raced the 30 k skiathlon at the Norwegian national championships, hoping to land a spot on the national team squad that will be representing Norway at the 2015 FIS World Championships in Falun, Sweden, later this month. After finishing fifth in the skiathlon, he narrowly missed the National team selection. As soon as the team selection was announced Saturday afternoon, Gjerdalen flew from the race venue in Røros, Norway, to the Ski Classics in southern Germany.

Norway’s Øystein Pettersen of Team United Bakeries moved back into the green points bib after winning the first sprint of the day, at 9 k, pushing Team Santander’s Andreas Nygaard, also of Norway, down to second place. Pettersen, who ended up 16th in the Koenig Ludwiglauf, has 180 sprint points and now leads the sprint competition by 20 points after six of the season’s nine events. Eliassen of Norway is third with 120 points, 40 points behind Nygaard, who has 160 points.

Alone Into The Finish
In the women’s race, which started 15 minutes before the men’s, Britta Johansson Norgren and Lina Korsgren, both Swedish and both of Team SkiProAm, managed to break away from the chasing group half way through the race.

Korsgren had to let go at the big climb by the Linderhof Castle, and Norgren continued to ski alone won her first Swix Ski Classics victory by nearly a minute, with a time of 2:16:28.6.

“Our first gap came a little bit too early, but I had really fast skis and my shape is good, so I just had to go for it. It was amazing to win for the first time, and also to have two more team members among the top five,” Norgren said to Ski Classics reporters after the race.

After getting dropped by Norgren, Korsgren was caught by the chase group. She lost the sprint finish by a tenth of a second to Austria’s Katerina Smutna of Team Madshus Silvini, and ended up third. Smutna and Korsgren clocked in at 2:17:10.10 and 2:17:10.20, respectively.

Complete results

No changes in the overall standings
Smutna, and Norway’s Anders Aukland of Team Santander, who was fourth in the König Ludwiglauf, are still leading the Ski Classics Champion competition. Also, Aukland’s Team Santander took over the lead in the team competition.

Sweden’s Bill Impola of Team Coop and Norway’s Tone Sundvor of Team Synnfjell are still leading the youth competition.

All Ski Classics standings
Long and proud history
König Ludwig Lauf was run for the first time on March 17, 1968. The distances were 45 k and 90 k. After three years, in 1971, there were already 1,383 racers. Thanks to the foundation of the Alpetris the number of participants number increased to over 2,000 in 1974.

Only two years later, in 1976, the race was integrated in the Euroloppet and later became a part of the Worldloppet race schedule. König Ludwig Lauf has been a part of the Ski Classics since 2011. It also serves as the World 20th annual Medical Cross Country Championships, where physicians, pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians from all over the world participate.

–Inge Scheve

Pre-Sapporo Loppet Shoutout from Two New Zealanders (Video)

After completion of a very successful World Cup in Sapporo, Japan, most of the U.S. Nordic Combined team flew to Italy for the next World Cup in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Acting head coach and overall assistant to the assistant coach, Fast Big Dog, had additional responsibilities in Japan however, namely maintaining foreign relations with several different Asia/Pacific nations.

As a worldwide ambassador of awesomeness and goodwill, next stop was the mountain village of Asahi-dake, Japan, for some incredible powder skiing and nordic training in preparation for the Sapporo International Ski Marathon, part of the Worldloppet series.

In the hotel lobby, the global impact of both this vital stewardship and the reach of FasterSkier on not only skiing, but also on life, became immediately apparent, as two loyal FasterSkier readers from New Zealand, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins explain in this short video.

— FBD

Trouble viewing video above? Click here.

More from Sapporo: Provisional-jump day video | Day 1 recap | Day 2 report

Gjerdalen and Smutna Win Marcialonga; Brooks 17th

Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Norway and Katerina Smutna of Austria won the Marcialonga 2015. Photo: Ski Classics

Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Norway and Katerina Smutna of Austria won the Marcialonga 2015. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

Tord Asle Gjerdalen of Norway won the three-way sprint in the men’s race of the 2015 Marcialonga, while Katerina Smutna of Austria won the women’s race by 10 seconds. Former U.S. Ski Team racer Holly Brooks was 17th. The 57-k classic race in Northern Italy was the fifth event in the 2015 Ski Classics series and the third event of the 2015 FIS Marathon Cup.

Due to lack of snow, the course was cut from 70 k to 57 k, making the competition even fiercer than expected with a fight for positions right from the get-go.

The Marcialonga ends with an extremely challenging last climb of 2 k up to the finish in the town of Cavalese. Norway’s Øystein Peterssen of Team United Bakeries made a move just before the last climb and lead the race until the last 500 meters.

However, Gjerdalen and Anders Aukland, both of Team Santander, caught Pettersen during the last half-kilometer, turning the race into a three-way sprint. Gjerdalen was the strongest in the end, snagging the victory from his teammate by 2.5 seconds and earning his first Ski Classics victory.

Øystein Pettersen (left) and Tore Berset keep Team United Bakeries in the lead in the team competition. Photo: Stian Grønås

Øystein Pettersen (left) and Tore Berset keep Team United Bakeries in the lead in the team competition. (Photo: Stian Grønås)

“It was really cool to win here in Italy, and one of the most important races of the season. We had incredible skis, and the whole team did a great job attacking during the race,” Tord Asle Gjerdalen said to Ski Classics reporters after the race, which he finished in 2:05:15.8.

Øystein Pettersen was third (2:05:21.7), and teammate Tore Berseth was fifth, contributing to keep the team on top of the Ski Classics team competition.

Tight race for the women’s podium 
In the women’s race, it also came down to a three-way sprint. Austria’s Katerina Smutna of Team Silvini Madshus, Norway’s Laila Kveli of Team Santander, and Swiss long-distance veteran Seraina Boner of Team Coop entered the last climb close together. Smutna made her final move close to the finish and won with a 10-second margin down to Kveli, crossing the line in 2:20:32.3. Kveli clocked in at 2:20:42.2 and and Boner in 2:20:44.5.

“My skis were much faster the second half of the race, but I used too much energy catching up. Laila and Katerina were just too strong today,” Boner said in a press release from Team Coop.

Brooks remains on top of FIS Marathon Cup

Despite finishing 17 among the women, Holly Brooks maintains the lead in the FIS Marathon Cup and will continue to wear the red leader-bib when she moves on to her next race.

Brooks now has 194 points in the FIS Marathon Cup, and has a 40-point margin over to Aurelie Dabudyk of France in second place with 154 points. Dabudyk was ninth in the Marcialonga. Smutna and Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland both have 100 points and are tied for third place after three of the nine events in the FIS Marathon Cup.

With sixth place today, Petr Novak of the Czech Republic increased his lead in the overall FIS Marathon Cup, as Toni Livers of Switzerland was racing the World Cup in Rybinsk, Russia, and his other main competitors Benoit Chauvet and Adrien Mougel, both of France only finished 60th and 78th, respectively. After the Marcialonga, Novak has 200 points, while Livers has 150 points and Chauvet has 145 points.

Trading bibs

With second place today, Anders Aukland moves into first place in the overall Ski Classics standings, while Pettersen drops to second place, giving up the yellow leader bib. Morten Eide Pedersen is in third place.

In the women’s overall competition, Smutna keeps the yellow bib and increases her lead to Boner, while Ishida of Team United Bakeries is third. Team United Bakeries remains in the top of the team competition, while Team Santander moves up to second place, only nine points behind.

Team Santander’s Andreas Nygaard of Norway reclaimed the green sprint bib Sunday, pushing Norway’s Petter Eliassen of Team LeasePlanGO down to third place, while Pettersen remains in second place.

Bill Impola moved up to snag the overall youth racer bib, while Tone Sundvor of Team Synnfjell is now first place in the overall youth women’s competition.

The Ski Classics moves to Germany for the 45 k König Ludwiglauf next Sunday. After that, the long-distance series takes a month off before the Vasaloppet in Sweden on March 8, Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 21 and the Ski Classics Final, Årefjällsloppet on March 29.

Top 3 women Marcialonga 57k classic

1. Katerina Smutna, Team Silvani Madshus/Austria, 2:20:32.3
2. Laila Kveli, Team Santander/Norway, 2:20:42.2
3. Seraina Boner, Team Coop/Switzerland, 20:20:44.5

Top 3 men Marcialonga 57k classic

1: Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Santander/Norway, 2:05.15.8
2. Anders Aukland, Team Santander/Norway, 2:05:18.4
3. Øystein Pettersen, Team United Bakeries/Norway, 2:05:21.7

Complete results and standings

Brooks Debuts in Marcialonga Wearing the FIS Leader Bib

Holly Brooks training on the Marcialonga course on Friday. (Photo: Graham Longford)

Holly Brooks training on the Marcialonga course on Friday. (Photo: Graham Longford)

When former U.S. Ski Team racer Holly Brooks steps onto the starting line in the Marcialonga on Sunday, she will be wearing the red FIS Marathon Cup overall leader’s bib after winning the Dolomitenlauf in Austria last weekend.

Brooks will face a stacked women’s field in the Marcialonga, as the classic race in Northern Italy is a part of both the Ski Classics long-distance series and the FIS Marathon Cup, bringing together the entire field of the top long-distance specialists in the world.

The snow situation is again causing trouble for Central European race organizers, forcing the Marcialonga committee to shorten the course from 70 k to 57 k, and move the start further up the valley.

Confidence-builder
While Brooks won the 42-kilometer freestyle race Dolomitenlauf last weekend by 2.5 minutes, she admits being quite nervous going into the event after a month away from the race scene.

“I was actually pretty nervous after taking a long break from racing. While it was nice to be home over the holidays it was hard to sit in Alaska and watch the results roll in from the Tour de Ski and Nationals without having my own chance to race,” Brooks wrote in an email.

With the recent Dolomitenlauf victory and the red leader’s bib, Brooks feels more confident going into this weekend’s race, which features 57 k classic.

Brooks Tirol Wreath - Thomas ISEP“The (Dolomitenlauf) was awesome. I felt good in the race, had good skis, and found a pack of guys to ski with,” Brooks said, adding that the winning experience itself was unique. “I’ve been dreaming about getting one of those wreaths for a while so that was pretty cool. Also, they played the Star Spangled banner at the awards,” she said.

Fierce female battles on tap

The snow conditions and shortened course do not seem to deter skiers from the race. The Marcialonga is also a part of the FIS Marathon Cup schedule, which means that all the top long-distance racers will be on the same racecourse, as opposed to last weekend where the field was split between the Ski Classics La Diagonela in Switzerland and the FIS Marathon Cup race Dolomitenlauf in Austria.

Brooks seems to be enjoying herself in Italy so far... (Photo: Graham Longford)

Brooks seems to be enjoying herself in Italy so far… (Photo: Graham Longford)

Masako Ishida of Japan will challenge experienced Katerina Smutna and Seraina Boner for the overall Ski Classics lead, while Russian Marathon team racers Tatiana Jambaeva and Julia Tikhonova are other tough opponents.

Also, Sweden’s Britta Johansson Norgren and Annika Löfström of Team SkiProAm, Adela Boudikova of the Czech Republic, local Italian favorite Antonella Confortola and Brook’s Santander teammate Laila Kveli of Norway are some of the contenders expected to give Brooks a good run for her money on Sunday.

Women’s elite start list

Small margins in the men’s race

The elite men’s start list includes last year’s second-place finisher John Kristian Dahl of Norway, and his teammate Øystein Pettersen who is currently wearing the yellow Ski Classics leader bib, as well as a long list of Ski Classics pro team racers eager to snag the leader bib, the sprint points and the victory: Morten Eide Pedersen of Norway and Team Coop is only five points behind Pettersen in the overall standings, while Anders Aukland of Team Santander is five points behind Pedersen, so there is a lot at stake in the men’s race.

“I am excited for the race, especially when I am so close to the yellow jersey. Every point counts and it will be a tight race with a shorter course than normal. We have had a good week of recovery and it has been a good build up for Marcialonga,” Pedersen said in a press release from Team Coop.

Legendary veteran Thomas Alsgaard, who retired from World Cup skiing in 2003 after more than a decade on the circuit, three Olympics and five FIS World Championships, is also on the start list. Other veterans include Giorgio Di Centa of Italy and Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic.

Men’s elite start list

Despite snow trouble, Marcialonga is a go, and the battle is on for points and bibs on Sunday. Photo: Newspower.it

Despite snow trouble, Marcialonga is a go, and the battle is on for points and bibs on Sunday. The organisers have produced more than 100,000 cubic meters of snow.  Photo: Newspower.it

Shorter and even flatter: Marcialonga reduced to 57km

Due to a warm winter and lack of snow, the course is shortened from 70 k to 57 k, and the short version, Marcialonga Light, is cut down to 33 k from its normal length at 46 k. The start for both races is moved to Mazzin. The start time for elite men and women in Ski Classics is postponed one hour, and will start at 9am Central European Time. Ski Classics sprints remain the same and will be in Canazei after 5 k and in Predazzo after 32 k.

However, the organizers have seen the problem coming and prepared for the race with a backup plan. More than 100,000 cubic meters of artificial snow have been produced in the past weeks due to a lack of natural snow so far, and on Thursday, it was snowing in Val di Fiemme and Fassa.

The course

The 2015 Marcialonga will start in Mazzin, 13 k up on the original course, hence shortening the track to 57 k. The original course over 70 k starts on the plain of Moena, Val di Fassa, and finishes in Cavalese, Val di Diemme. After the start the course climbs 20 k through the villages of Pozza, and Canazei, where competitors then turn around to head downhill to Moena and on towards Predazzo before starting the last part which goes through the villages of Ziano, Panchia, Lago di Tesero, Masi di Cavalese, Castello–Molina. After 67.5 k the most famous and hardest part begins; the Cascata climb, where the athletes struggle up the serpentines to the finish in the center of Cavalese.

Science at work

This year’s Marcialonga is part of the new Marcialonga Science Project, which aims to evaluate and measure the impact of the double poling technique on muscles, muscle fibers and the heart of some athletes during and after the competition. The results of the study will be presented at the International Congress on Science in Nordic Skiing in Finland next June, and at the Mountain Sport Health Congress in Rovereto, Italy, next November.

The 2015 Marcialonga is a part of a regional science project that aims to study the effects of double-poling Photo: Newspower.it

The 2015 Marcialonga is a part of a regional science project that aims to study the impacts of double-poling technique on muscles, tendons and the heart. Photo: Newspower.it

Proud history

Marcialonga is the most important Italian cross-country ski race. Founded in 1971 from the idea of four friends who, on the way back from the mythic Vasaloppet, decided to organize a similar event in Italy. However, it has been discussed that the idea to Maricalonga started already in 1969 inspired by the Italian skier Franco Nones outstanding performance in the Grenoble Winter Olympics the year before, where he took the gold medal in the men’s 30 k.

The first problem was “where” an event at this size should take place, and almost immediately the two valleys of Fiemme and Fassa came to mind. The first race was held in 1971 and became famous for their promotional action, where they dropped 50.000 leaflets from an airplane over the valley to get the attention from the inhabitants. In the end the name Marcialonga, long march, was chosen.

The podium at the 2014 Marcialonga Story. Photo: Newspower.it

The podium at the 2014 Marcialonga Story. Photo: Newspower.it

Aukland, Boner Take La Sgambeda 35 k Classic Titles; Brooks 10th

La Sgambeda offers 35K in classic technique, is a part of the Swix Ski Classics and open to professional racers as well as recreational skiers. Photo: Swix Ski Classics

The 35 k classic La Sgambeda is a part of the Swix Ski Classics and open to professional racers as well as recreational skiers. It took place Sunday in Livigno, Italy. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

By Inge Scheve

Anders Aukland of Norway and Seraina Boner of Switzerland won the first long-distance race of the 2014/15 Swix Ski Classics series, both by a comfortable margin.

Seraina Boner (SUI) won the womens race with a comfortable margin. Photo: Swix Ski Classics

Switzerland’s Seraina Boner after winning the women’s La Sgambeda 35 k classic on Sunday by 25 seconds over Katerina Smutna. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

U.S. two-time Olympian Holly Brooks finished 10th among the women, almost five minutes behind Boner.

After a short 15-kilometer Pro Team Prologue on Saturday, the Swix Ski Classics continued with the 35 k classic La Sgambeda in Livigno, Italy. The course was one big loop with a challenging climb in the middle.

Both Aukland (Team Santander) and Seraina Boner (Team Coop) won with similar tactics: they skied away from their competitors and stayed up front.

Norway’s Petter Eliassen (Team LeaseplanGO) was considered one of the top contenders for the 35 k classic, and led for the first 15 k. Aukland caught him there and stayed ahead for the remaining 20 k, winning in 1:21:20.

“It was a hard race with high speed in the big climb,” the 42-year-old Aukland told the Ski Classics media after the race. “I had really good skis, but it was tough to stay in front, and I didn’t feel safe until the last kilometer.”

Øystein Pettersen (NOR) of Team LeasePlanGO, is full of respect for the 42-year-old Anders Aukland, who won La Sgambeda. Photo: Swix Ski Classics

Norway’s Øystein Pettersen is full of respect for the 42-year-old Anders Aukland, who won La Sgambeda on Sunday. (Photo: Swix Ski Classics)

Aukland’s competitors did their best to challenge the veteran, but didn’t stand a chance.

“We have to be respectful of the elderly, isn’t that what they teach us?” Øystein Pettersen said to TV2. “Actually, Anders was incredibly strong. He is incredibly strong. At 42, he was sixth at Beitostølen [Norway’s FIS season opener in November], and today he was simply better than everyone. Johan [Kjølstad] and I did our best, but this guy was faster. He was a little faster than us, and that’s totally OK.”

Pettersen (Team United Bakeries) placed third, just 0.79 seconds behind teammate Kjølstad in second place.

With the cross-country World Cup racers racing in Davos, Switzerland, just down the road from Livigno, several of the World Cup racers opted out of the Davos sprint on Sunday and chose to start the 35 k classic instead. Eldar Rønning of Norway and Russians Alexey Poltoranin and Maxim Vylegzhanin were among them, but didn’t manage to fight for the podium.

“This was a race with stiff competition. Several of the best skiers in the world were on the start line and it’s really fun to compete with them,” Aukland told TV2. “Maybe it’s a bit unexpected for them, but the level on the long-distance circuit is really high.”

Boner skied away from the women’s field, winning by 25 seconds in 1:35:06. Katerina Smutna (Team Silvini Madshus), snagged second place, 2.5 seconds in front of Julia Ivanova of Russia.

“This was a great start to the season, and I am happy to start with the yellow champion bib also next race,” Boner said.

***

Team Coop is still leading the team competition after Sunday’s 35 k, ahead of Team Santander in second and Team United Bakeries in third overall.

The next competition in the Swix Ski Classics is Jizerska Padesatka in the Czech Republic on January 11, 2015.

Event 2 – La Sgambeda men

  1. Anders Aukland (Team Santander) 1:21:20
  2. Johan Kjølstad (Team United Bakeries) 1:21:34
  3. Øystein Pettersen (Team United Bakeries) 1:21:34
  4. Daniel Richardsson (Lager 157 Ski Team) 1:21:35
  5. Alexey Poltoranin (Kazakhstan) 1:21:35
  6. Morten Eide Pedersen (Team Coop) 1:21:35

Complete results

Event 2 – La Sgambeda women

  1. Seraina Boner (Team Coop) 1:35:06
  2. Katerina Smutna(Team Silvini Madshus) 1:35:31
  3. Julia Ivanova (Russia) 1:35:34
  4. Britta Johansson Norgren (Team SkiProAm) 1:36:23
  5. Julia Tikhonova (Russian Marathon Team) 1:36:32
  6. Olga Kuziukova (Russia) 1:37:3

Complete results

 

Swix Ski Classics Champion Men’s Standings

1 Anders Aukland SANT 220
2 Johan Kjølstad UNBA 190
3 Øystein Pettersen UNBA 140
4 Daniel Richardsson L157 120
5 Morten Eide Pedersen COOP 115
6 Petter Eliassen LEAS 110

 

Swix Ski Classics Champion Women’s Standings

1 Seraina Boner COOP 220
2 Kateřina Smutná SILV 190
3 Britta Johansson Norgren SKIP 120
3 Julia Tikhonova RUSM 120
5 Adéla Boudíková PIIN 100
6 Holly Brooks SANT 95

 

Swix Ski Classics Sprint Standings

1 Andreas Nygaard SANT 45
2 Øystein Pettersen UNBA 30
3 Bruno Debertolis TXLS 15
4 Andrey Tyuterev RUSM 10
5 Sami Jauhojärvi COOP 5

 

Swix Ski Classics Team Standings

1 Team Coop 580
2 Team Santander 501
3 Team United Bakeries 495
4 Russian Marathon Team 382
5 Silvini Madshus team 293
6 Lager 157 Ski Team 213

 

 

Canadian Masters Nationals Registration Open, Welcomes All Countries

Registration is now open for Canadian Masters Nationals hosted by the Overlander Ski Club in Kamloops, British Columbia, from Feb. 8-15. There are three Masters races with classic and freestyle options. The 30-kilometer free technique Overlander Loppet on the final Sunday is open to all ages. Non-Canadian skiers are welcome.

Anyone who was inside the fence at the 2011 World Masters or the 2010 Olympics will see some familiar faces on the organizing committee.

Nationals attendees are usually split between hard-core competitors and social skiers who use the races as a conversational ice-breaker for the parties.

JD Downing (American XC Skiers) leans towards the competitive side: “When skiers travel across the border it gives our respective Nationals more of a special, international flavor and adds to the depth in various categories,” he wrote in an email.

Mike Bell (BC Masters) represents the social side: “Essential fluid replacement will include red, white, brown and blonde options,” he explained in an email.

The official social events are listed on the Special Events Page.

There are other skiing options near the race site. Three more of the Kal West Interior Loppet Series venues are within day tripping distance: Larch Hills, Sovereign Lake, and Telemark.  Whistler Olympic Park and Methow Valley are in driving distance for an extended ski vacation.

Weekend Roundup: Noqueman Ski Marathon, the Inaugural Stagecoach Classic, and the Venerable Marcialonga

As the days get longer, sunshine returns, and athletes have had a chance to build their hours on skis, ski marathon season returns. This weekend was a busy one, with the 50-kilometer Noquemanon Ski Marathon being hosted on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, finishing in Marquette, Michigan; the inaugural 30 k Stagecoach Classic, held in the mountains of Colorado; and the 41st Marcialonga, a 70 k classic race through the Italian Dolomites.

The Noquemanon ski marathon was held in northern Michigan yesterday in arctic conditions, with temperatures around zero Fahrenheit and winds gusting as high as 25 mph. The course is mostly flat, with a few small uphill, but drops nearly 850 feet as it descends from the start in Ishpeming to the finish in Marquette. The overall men’s winner was local Michael Brothers, taking his third consecutive title in 3:08:05; in the women’s division the surprise winner was Diana Finkel in 3:35:07. Brothers’ first title was in 2012 when he skied the 50 k course more than 45 minutes faster than on Saturday, in 2:22:13, on a year with excellent conditions. Both Finkel and Brothers were in the freestyle division and are both 42, where the 50 k classic division was won by Claire Luby, 25, in 3:45:33 and Karl Nygren, 26, in 3:08:57.

“It got snowier the further we went along, so you just had to slow down and be patient,” Nygren said in an interview with The Mining Journal.  “With the way the conditions were, I didn’t even notice it was downhill.”

See the Noquemanon Ski Marathon’s official website for complete results.

New this year was the Stagecoach Classic, a unique event linking Devil’s Thumb Ranch to Winter Park the Idlewild Ski Area in the mountains of Colorado. The race was hosted on trails groomed specially for the event, making it a one-time experience for the racers.

While many ski marathons are dominated by older skiers, this year’s Stagecoach was dominated by young skiers – the top five men were all under 25, and two of the top three women were age 21. The men’s 30 k division was won by 20-year old Moritz Madlener in 1:16:53, second was Rune Malo Oedegaard, age 22, two seconds later, and 22-year old Mads Stroem was third (+1:55). The top woman was 21-year old Elena Breed in 1:36:11, Lenka Palanova, 30, was second (+1:38), and Katie Gill, 21, took third (+1:43). See the Stagecoach Classic’s official website for complete results.

And don’t count out the 70 k Marcialonga, Italy’s premier loppet, a World Loppet event hosted Trentino, Italy. The men’s race was dominated by Norwegians, taking the top six spots. Simen Östensen won in 3:10:16, John Dahl was second (+0:12), and the 2012 and 2013 winner, Jorgen Aukland, was third (+0:13). Russian Julia Tikhonova won in 3:27:54, Switzerland’s Seraina Boner was second (+1:09) and Sweden’s Annika Löfström was third (+2:24). Complete men’s and women’s results.