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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Grover’

Cory Wubbels Joins USST World Cup Service Team

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Cory Wubbels recently joined the U.S. Ski Team (USST) staff as a part of its World Cup service team. Wubbels has previously worked as a service tech for the Rossignol race team and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation team.

The recent growth of the USST’s presence on the World Cup has brought a need for an expanded service crew this season. Peter Johansson, who has worked with the team since 2006, will take on additional duties as the Head of Service. Wubbels joins Randy Gibbs and Oleg Ragilo as the other World Cup servicemen.

Wubbels briefly joined the tech team this winter while recently retired USST coach Pete Vordenberg went home for the birth of his new baby.

“We are very excited to have Cory join our World Cup Service Team,” said USST head coach Chris Grover. “As the size of our World Cup Team has grown over the last several years, the need for increased coaching and service support for this Team has grown as well. Adding Cory to our staff will help us increase our strike-rate for making World Cup winning skis. Cory brings a lot of experience in the wax room to the U.S. program, including World Cup service experience with us during the 2011-12 season. Cory has the experience and know-how to help U.S. athletes ski at their absolute potential.”

U.S. Names Relays; Randall Opts to Rest

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

In an email on Saturday, U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover named his men’s and women’s relays, the latter of which was expected to include Kikkan Randall in Sunday’s 4×5 k event in Nove Mesto na Moreve, Czech Republic.

Because Randall wasn’t feeling 100 percent, Grover wrote that she would skip the relay and take the weekend off to prepare for the upcoming World Cup sprints in Szklarska Poreba, Poland, on Friday.

The U.S. women’s relay will include Holly Brooks, who did not finish Saturday’s 15 k classic race because of stomach problems, Ida Sargent, Liz Stephen and Jessie Diggins.

The men’s relay will be Kris Freeman, Noah Hoffman, Tad Elliott and Simi Hamilton.



Randall to Sit Out Nove Mesto 15 k, Rest for Relay

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Kikkan Randall will not be competing in the 15 k classic mass start on Saturday to kick off the World Cup weekend in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. She was not listed on the start list and U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover confirmed that Randall would skip Saturday’s race to prepare for Sunday’s 4×5 k relay.

“She’s good, she’s healthy,” Grover said in a phone interview on Friday. “She’s just choosing to skip this one, but she’ll be racing the relay for sure.”

He said Randall and her Alaska Pacific University coach, Erik Flora, made that decision as early as last Sunday or Monday.

“She just knew that she was kind of feeling a little bit tired, and she needed to kind of skip a couple races during this period in order to focus on recovery and ski fast for the rest of the season,” Grover said.

While Randall is a shoe-in for the relay, Grover said the three other starting positions on the women’s team are up for grabs. He will help decide for who will race in the women’s and men’s relays after Saturday’s races: the 15 and 30 k classic mass starts. Tad Elliott, who will not race Saturday because of team entry limits, was the only definite U.S. men’s relay member as of Friday.

Women’s 15 k start list (race at 12:30 p.m. local time, 6:30 a.m. Eastern time)

Men’s 30 k start list (race at 2:15 p.m. local time, 8:15 a.m. Eastern)

Led by Freeman, American Men Stay with Pack

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Chaos and cold apparently worked well for Kris Freeman on Saturday as the 31-year-old U.S. Ski Team veteran tore around the 2.5 k loop in the 15 k freestyle mass start in Rybinsk, Russia, to make the points for the second time in two weekends of World Cup races.

Freeman finished 28th, about 6 seconds out of the top 10 and 3.2 seconds from 20th. In a phone interview, Freeman said he was in sixth or seventh with 2 1/2 k remaining, but ran out of energy and finished 17.6 seconds behind winner Devon Kershaw of Canada (36:47.5).

“It was one of the more insane races I’ve ever done,” Freeman said after nabbing his second-best individual World Cup result this season. He was 22nd in the 15 k classic in Otepää, Estonia, on Jan. 22.

According to Freeman, Saturday’s skate course was narrow with several turns, two hills per lap and plenty of flats.

“Basically it was just 60 guys trying to squeeze around a two-wide lane for 15 kilometers and a lot of contact out there,” he said.

Freeman made the most of it and skied four solid laps before dropping behind in the fifth.

“I wouldn’t change anything except that I would have more in the tank for the last hill,” he said.

“[It’s a] good sign for Kris to be able to stick with that pack for most of the race,” U.S. head coach Chris Grover said. “He felt like he had a good 14 kilometers of racing, but just a bad last kilometer.”

Freeman said it was a sign that his less-than-satisfying first half of the season was on the upswing.

“The entire first half of the season I knew I was not in good form because whenever I tried to accelerate I would slow down,” Freeman said. “When I call on my body to do something and it can do it, it’s pretty fun, and I wasn’t having any fun in the first half of the year.”

He felt particularly good on Saturday despite sub-zero temperatures in the morning that threatened to delay or cancel the races. Freeman said it was one of the coldest races he had ever been in.

Adding to the fun was seeing his teammates do so well, he said. USST rookie Tad Elliott was vying for a top-10 place with about a kilometer to go before he went down in a crash with Slovakia’s Martin Bajcicak, whom Elliott said skied into him. Just behind of Freeman at the time, Elliott finished 39th (+50.5).

“I wanted to keep the first half chill then really kill it on the second half. It was going amazing,” Elliott wrote in an email. “Eh, another day tomorrow.”

Grover noted how well Elliott was skiing until that point.

“That was a bummer for Tad because he was skiing out there with a lot of energy,” he said.

Sylvan Ellefson rounded out the American men’s field, finishing 43rd  (+1:14.1) for his best World Cup result in two starts. He was recently 53rd in the Moscow freestyle sprints. In an email, the 25-year-old wrote that he was pleased with his result. It helped that he skied with Freeman and Elliott for a while after the mass start.

“My plan today was to feel out how a WC race unfolds,” Ellefson wrote. “Sitting in the pack was a good call for me. If I were to do it again, I would probably try to move up a little sooner to get a good spot.”

In his first World Cup distance race, he had some pre-race jitters, even after he shook out some of the nerves Thursday in Moscow, he wrote. His legs were also fatigued, and the cold didn’t help.

“I am not really sure how to put today in words,” Ellefson wrote. “I still feel like I need just a little bit more time over here before some bigger results come, but honestly I was pretty happy with today for how I am feeling … It was honestly one of the craziest, ‘scrappy’ races I have ever been in.”

According to Grover, all three men will race again tomorrow in the 30 k skiathlon.

Men’s 15 k freestyle mass start results

Freeman Still Looking for Answers, Hamilton out of Tour

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

TOBLACH, Italy – It was not a good day for the US men’s contingent at the 2012 Tour de Ski. Kris Freeman finished 52nd, well off the pace in the 5km classic prologue, while Simi Hamilton didn’t even make it to the start line due to illness.

Freeman, who hasn’t been able to find his top form this season, will continue the Tour, racing the freestyle sprint on Wednesday, but he has no answers for his subpar racing.

“I am at a loss…I raced really hard,” Freeman told FasterSkier. “I just had nothing.”

Freeman on the first climb.

He said his skis were decent on the highly variable course, with “slow points, fast points, slick points,” and did not see that as major player in his race.

Hamilton is out with a stomach bug. He started feeling poorly on Monday, but chalked it up to hard racing, according to US Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover.

But he did not improve, and Grover said it was apparent that it wasn’t merely the result of hard competition.

Like Andy Newell, whom he joined on the sidelines, Hamilton has been isolated from the rest of the team.

However, before the sickness was evident, Hamilton traveled in the same van as the rest of his teammates on the long trip from Germany to Italy.

Grover said he was concerned about the health of the team and the possibly of the bug being passed around.

At this point no decision has been made as to what Newell and Hamilton will do moving forward.

The big decision is whether or not the two men travel to Val die Fiemme, the final stop on the Tour.

It will depend in large part on how quickly they recover.  Newell is already feeling better according to Grover.

Newell Drops Out of Tour, Will Look Towards Milan Sprint

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

OBERSTDORF, Germany – U.S. Ski Team sprinter Andy Newell dropped out of the 2012 Tour de Ski before its fourth stage here on Sunday, failing to fight off an illness that had been threatening since Thursday.

“I think maybe we were all in a little denial that he was coming down with it,” said U.S. Head Coach Chris Grover. “But this morning, there was no denying it. He sounded quite bad.”

Even with a rest day approaching on Monday, Grover said that neither he nor Newell felt that the sprinter would be able to recover quickly enough to fight for good results over the next few stages in Toblach, Italy, so they pulled the plug on the Tour and will focus on upcoming sprint races over the next month in Milan, Estonia, and Russia.

Grover said that Newell would be isolated from the rest of the team, but that he’d probably travel with them to the next venue in Toblach. Asked if Newell would be strapped to the top of the American van to avoid infecting his teammates, Grover responded, “absolutely.”

“We have multiple vehicles, so he’ll be riding with the staff,” Grover said. “With the expendable part of the crew.”

Randall Undone by Freak Fall

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

According to US Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover, Kikkan Randall felt she had the skis and the body to compete for the podium in today’s Tour de Ski Classic sprint.

Randall advanced out of the quarters and was as good as through to the finals when she fell hard entering the stadium. There were no other skiers near her, and as Grover put it, “it was one of those kind of crashes where she didn’t even know what had happened.”

A visibly frustrated Randall was heard asking Grover “how did that happen?” in apparent bafflement.

While crashes are not uncommon in sprint races, they usually happen due to contact with other racers.

“It is especially frustrating when it is no one’s fault but her own,” Grover said.

Randall was not the only top skier to crash out. Swede Emil Joensson went down in the semis as well, after entering as one of the favorites.

And another strong woman, Krista Lahteenmaki (FIN), fell on the challenging downhill corner, but as in Randall’s crash, there were no other skiers near.

The tracks held up well considering the heavy rain that fell throughout the day, but the combination of the moisture and wet snow from earlier in the morning made for tricky conditions, particularly on the high speed descents.


Babikov, Freeman on Men’s 20 k Pursuit at World Cup Finals

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

FasterSkier had a chance to catch up quickly with Canadian Ivan Babikov after the men’s 20 k pursuit in Falun, Sweden on Saturday. He finished 14th—just two-tenths of a second and one place behind his teammate Alex Harvey.

Some highlights from the interview are below, along with some quotes from Kris Freeman from a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association press release. Freeman, Harvey, Devon Kershaw (CAN), and U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover could not be reached for comment after the race.

Babikov, on the conditions: It was a pretty hard wax day today. Some places in the sun, it was pretty slushy, [others] pretty, actually, dry and slow. We struggled a bit, but managed to get back.

On skiing with Harvey: I worked with Alex a lot on the flats—I was pushing on the uphills. We caught back to the lead group at the end there…At the finish line, we just had a bit of fun fighting—I actually had a pretty good sprint.

On his improving results towards the end of the season: I usually go pretty good at the end of the season…This time of year, it’s like, if you have it in the tank, then you can push it.

Freeman, on the conditions: “We had a bit of everything. It was powder snow yesterday; it got very cold overnight, and we had this mix of slush on the sunny parts of the course, and the need for dry-snow hard wax in the shaded areas of the course. Everybody had difficulties, but I would say we had good skis overall. It was tricky.”

On his 19th-place finish: You know, I am happy to be in the top 20, but I’d rather be in the top 10. I just couldn’t hold the pace on my skate leg. My skate wheels have just seemed to have come off lately, and I don’t know why.

Daily Roundup, Wednesday, April 14

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Not a lot happening in the cross-country ski world right now, but we turned up a couple of things.

First, with Chris Grover being appointed head coach of the U.S. Ski Team, we send you back to a live Q+A that we conducted with him last year. Read it here.

Second, Italian skier Antonella Confortola Wyatt is competing in the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships this weekend. She’s married to Jonathan Wyatt, a world mountain running champion. Read that story here.

Finally, for anybody who missed the excellent video of Torin Koos and Andy Newell going head-to-head on the homestretch in the sprint at Spring Series, check it out below.

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