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Spring lasted all winter and what a spring wrap-up day of racing, eating, dancing, and celebrating took place at Solitude’s Spring Fling! Hard corduroy set the stage for a 7 km morning race. All the big boys lined up in front where, as the gun went off, Torin Koos gave them a front and center display of a memorable sprint start around the inner loop and out onto the course. Barry Makarewicz also gapped the pack and may have kept Torin in sight, occasionally in sight (?), maybe in sight (?). Behind Barry, the pack racing was tight for the first of three laps with the lead trades indicating who blew-up too soon, who can climb hard in a V2, and who had the fastest glide on the flats. The second two laps had the multiple packs mostly sorted out within each pack and lots of just hanging on ‘til the finish. The course ran a quick inner loop in front of the Nordic Center, then around the north side of Silver Lake before it dove a tight turn into the aspen and Engelmann Spruce forest. The one big climb was through the aspen from the bottom of the Evergreen loop up to the top of Bypass. This was the hill that sorted out the climbers with big lungs as the course is at 8700 feet. Then back around the lake and Nordic Center to be repeated two more times.

Now a seven km race is not such a great distance for the master skiers, but this distance was skied by all. Eight, nine, ten year olds raced the three laps as well. Three times farther than any race they had ever skied in. They not only raced the morning 7 km race, many also joined in the 1 km obstacle course race designed for the Recreation skiers. But they were not finished yet, many of these young Rec. and Jr Comp skiers then competed in the afternoon sprint races where each sprint lap was another 2.2 km loop of the morning’s distance race! That is a total of ten kilometers of racing for these Junior Comp and Rec. skiers! Outstanding!

 

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The race usually known as the Farm race for its location was relocated to Soldier Hollow. This makes four of five races at Soldier Hollow with thier snowmaking capability – though very few nights have frozen lately. The track was superb and the citizens raced the slightly harder competition course with bigger climbs – four times! The 4.3km loop was shorter but tougher. Watch highlights of Junior skiers, sit-skiers, special Olympians, and master skiers:

 

 

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The Utah sun returned to Soldier Hollow with March intensity. Sun was out, shirts were off, and who remembered the sun screen? Watch the second full day of junior racing among Intermountain, Rocky Mountain, High Plains, Pacific North-west, and California, and the Wyoming state xc meet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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750 skiers competed at the Super-Junior National Qualifier. This meet includes Intermountain, Rocky Mountain, High Plains, Northern, Pacific North-West, and the Wyoming State Championships all in one gigantic, 2 day Junior race series. Sprint videos start at U10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bless Soldier Hollow and their snowmaking. The Wasatch Citizens’ race #4 went off on an other beautiful day of blue glide wax and hard snow. Nearly 300 skiers skated the 5 or 10kms with some surprising results. Take a look at highlights of the race.

 

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A cool blue sky for a blue wax race day greeted the skiers racing at Soldier Hollow. Watching Torin Koos double pole the entire 10km course at the hilly Soldier Hollow track was shocking as he blew on by. John Farra and the US Paralympic team including Andy Soule and Tatyana McFadden joined us as their final shake-down before Paralympic World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin this week. Local regulars showed their classic skills by shaking up the finishing order the way switching to classic always does over a freestyle race. Enjoy the video highlights from sunny Utah.

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At Soldier Hollow, on Saturday January 10th, the Utah Biathlon Club hosted a simultaneous men’s 10km sprint and a women’s 7.5km sprint followed by a novice biathlon race. The Novice racers did not carry rifles and shot both bouts prone. An hour of training was required and provided at noon on the day of the race. Then the novice skiers watched the open class race, only raising the excitement level at the stadium.

Answers for why are you trying this ran from, I wanted to see what a biathlon skier goes through, to, I attended a training session years ago and finally matched up with a race date. Robert Lazzaroni added the other Nordic skiing competition (biathlon) to his Nordic Combined and Cross Country racing.

First off the starting post was Patrick Johnson, coach Matt’s brother. Any competitors paying attention must have raised their sinking heart-rate while watching Patrick rise out of the stadium. You might recall that at US Senior Nationals last year, Patrick took-off, blowing the overly content field of skiers a big kiss as he left them behind. (Okay – not literally for the kiss). Patrick recently added biathlon to his repertoire is now coaching for Auburn Ski club out of Truckee with favorite and former TUNA skier Gus Johnson.

Patrick exhibited an economy of motioned unmatched by any other competitor. Like a magician, his sleight of hand opened and closed the cover on the tip of the barrel while taking off or slinging his rifle to his shoulders. No extra motion was needed. While shooting, he worked through several targets without pausing. Then, while leaving the shooting station and skiing back to the track, he tucked each pole under each arm and simultaneously slipped each hand into each pole strap at the same time. Then he was gone and rising out of the stadium again leaving everyone else gracelessly fumbling through the same motions.

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Watch day three of the US National Paralympic and NorAm Nordic Skiing Championships. The sit-skiers raced the 2002 Paralympic Games 15km course. Next are the World Paralympic Nordic Championships in Cable, Wisconsin.

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The Wasatch Citizens’ Race number two was as different as a race can be from race number one. Although only a week apart, the two races shared little. Race one was the first sprint race ever for the series, the fog lifted out of the Heber Valley to brilliant blue skies, the course climbed almost the whole race, the technique was classic, initially with individual starts, and the race was short (twice) and painful. Okay, painful was shared with both races.

A week later the freestyle race at the White Pine Nordic Center of Park City mixed clouds, sun, wind, and snowfall with wave starts and twice the number of skiers. A rare chance to try a sprint race was missed by too many Utah citizen skiers last week. For race two, the White Pine 5.4 km loop course, skied one to three times, wanders the golf course, among the condominiums, the ponds, and fairways with low climbs and gentle downhills.

The youngest juniors and sit-skiers skiers in the first six wave starts raced one to 5 kms sorted by age and difficulty class. These racers completed their races before the other eight waves began. The finish was spectacular. The older skiers of this set start first and ski farther. The youngest skiers start last and ski a shorter loop putting everyone at the finish at the same time. The junior finish is the most beautiful chaos of colorful outfits, screaming parents, and young skiers tangled and weaving among each other. Somehow the timing crew sorts them out as they come over the line. Sit-skier Brittany Fischer took her Wasatch first place to Soldier Hollow the following day to a repeat first American at the US Paralympics Nordic Skiing Championship sprint held at Soldier Hollow.

That left over 150 skiers itching to go. The Open Class and U18 skiers lined up first for wave eight followed by one mixed junior wave, four men’s waves, one women’s wave, and one mixed wave of novices and ages 60 and up. With one hundred and fifty skiers out on a 5.4 km course, skiing one, two, or three laps, many skiers formed traveling packs.

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The Wasatch Citizens’ Race Series held its first ever Sprint race. All U12 skiers raced in heats as the fog lifted. Everyone older started at 15 second intervals for a qualifying round. Following lunch and the raffle, the racers were placed into heats in a close combination of age groups and qualifying times.

Watch the racing in the three following videos:

 

 

 

 

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