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.