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U.S. Nationals Distance Race Preview: Part 1

HOUGHTON, Mich. — The 2016 U.S. Cross Country Championships is well underway and the next races up are the men’s 30-kilometer and women’s 20-kilometer freestyle mass starts on Thursday. In both the men’s and women’s races, the favorites include several veteran racers and as well as young up-and-comers. U.S. nationals falls after Period 1 of the U.S. Super Tour which included two weekends of races at West Yellowstone, Mont., and Sun Valley, Idaho.

In the men’s race, Scott Patterson of Alaska Pacific University (APU) is one of the skiers to beat as he is the distance SuperTour leader after Period 1, punching his ticket to race on the World Cup later this month. Patterson is coming off commanding victories in the 15 k classic at Sun Valley Super Tour and the 15 k classic this week at nationals. However, Patterson was bested by Brian Gregg and Matt Liebsch at the only SuperTour freestyle distance event so far this season in West Yellowstone.

Brian Gregg (Team Gregg) is a major contender after winning the 15 k freestyle at West Yellowstone Super Tour, which allowed him the opportunity to compete in the World Cup 30 k freestyle in Davos, Switzerland. Gregg was fifth in the classic event this week at nationals and narrowly missed making the freestyle sprint final.

Matt Liebsch (Gear West) is consistently in the hunt in distance races and brings a high level of racing experience. Liebsch proved his fitness this season with a second-place finish in the 15 k freestyle at West Yellowstone and placed eighth this week in the 15 k classic at nationals.

Kris Freeman (Freebird) is always a threat and is looking to add another national title to his extensive resume after recently returning to the U.S. from racing Period 1 of the World Cup. Freeman won the 30 k classic mass start and took second in the freestyle event at nationals last year.

Lex Treinen (APU) has bagged consistent top-10 SuperTour results and is a contender for the podium with a good day. Treinen finished second in the 30 k classic mass start classic last year at nationals and narrowly missed a podium placing this year in Sun Valley.

Many young talented skiers look to make statements on the big stage. Kyle Bratrud is skiing for CXC this year and posted a fifth-place finish at Sun Valley. Previously a Northern Michigan University (NMU) skier, Bratrud took a surprise victory in the 15 k freestyle over Freeman last year at nationals and also placed fourth in the 30 k classic mass start. This year, Bratrud won’t be overlooked.

Fredrik Schwencke of NMU is looking to continue his momentum from his first two races of U.S. nationals as the Grand Champion of the College Cup. Teammates Adam Martin and Ian Torchia could also be in the mix, after finishing third and seventh in the 15 k classic this week and contributing to NMU’s domination of the College Cup.

Finally, U.S. Ski Team D-team member Paddy Caldwell, of Dartmouth and the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team, should not be discounted with consistent top-20 SuperTour results. Last year, Caldwell notched a third-place finish in the 15 k freestyle at U.S. Nationals.

Many consistent performers will likely be players on Thursday including Sun Valley Gold Team teammates Miles Havlick and Matthew Gelso as well as the strong APU contingent including Eric Packer, David Norris, Reese Hanneman, and Logan Hanneman.

Follow the action on Thursday by following FasterSkier on Twitter (@FasterSkier) or the official Twitter feed of the Cross Country Championships (@NordicNationals), watching the live stream, and following live results from Superior Timing.

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Current Rankings for the World U23, World Juniors, Youth Olympic Games, and U18 Trips After Day 2

With two days of racing at U.S. nationals in Houghton, Mich. complete, the current rankings for the World Under-23, World Juniors, Youth Olympic Games, and the Under-18 trip are provided below. In order to qualify for a trip, athletes generally must accumulate 115 to 120 result points. For more information on the selection criteria for the 2016 U23 World Championships taking place in Rasnov, Romania, click here.  More information regarding the selection criteria for the 2016 World Junior Championships may be found here. Selection criteria for the 2016 U18 trip in Otepää, Estonia provided here. Selection procedures for the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway is available here.    Below are links to the PDF documents for the current athlete result points, separated by gender. 2016 YOG Boy’s Ranking List Day Two 2016 YOG Girl’s Ranking List Day Two 2016 U18 Trip Boy’s Ranking List Day Two 2016 U18 Trip…

Canadians Jump into Austria Cup: Nishikawa, Cockney Win 5/10 k Classic

By Gerry Furseth While the Tour de Ski and U.S. nationals are grabbing most of the headlines this week, a group of Canadians have been training in Obertilliach, in the Tyrol region of Austria. “There is 6km of beautiful terrain and Europe’s first snowfall came a few nights ago,” Dahria Beatty of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian National U23 Development Team wrote in an email. The group, dubbed Canada’s U25 European B-Tour,  has been preparing for the OPA Cup races this Friday through Sunday (Jan. 8-10) in Planica, Slovenia, followed by the Planica World Cup a week later. “[The] Austria Cup wasn’t originally on the plan,” Beatty wrote, “but when we found out it was near by some of us opted to change up our training plan a bit and get in an extra race.” On Sunday, four Canadians made the short drive to Villach. Jess Cockney (AWCA/NST B-Development Team) won the…

NorAm Period I Review: Results, Photos and Video

Period I of the Haywood NorAms is done and the first set of team selections are complete. The NorAm opener was held in Canmore, Alberta, with three races: classic distance, classic sprint, and freestyle mass start. Sovereign Lake in Vernon, British Columbia, then hosted a freestyle sprint and 10/15-kilometer freestyle interval starts. After five races in nine days, Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NDST) dominated the women’s races with three victories to take the lead in both sprint and overall in the NorAm standings. Andrea Dupont (Rocky Mountain Racers) and Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/NDST) are tied for second on both lists. On the men’s side, Kevin Sandau (AWCA) won all three distance races to lead the overall, followed by Knute Johnsgaard (AWCA/NDST) with four podiums, while Andy Shields (NDC Thunder Bay) completed the top three. Shields is leading the NorAm sprint standings with a win and a third place, followed by teammate Bob Thompson (NDC Thunder Bay) and Sebastien Boehmler-Dandurand (Canmore). Complete standings at Cross…

Yeaton Double Poles to Besh Cup Sprint Win, Dominates 10 k Skate

The following recap of Besh Cups 1 & 2 was submitted by Matthew T. Pauli, chief of competition for the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage.  If you’re interested in sending in a summary or photos of a regional race in your area, email info@fasterskier.com. *** ANCHORAGE — The Cross Country Alaska Besh Cup race series kicked off this past weekend with classic sprints and freestyle interval start races at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska.  The series serves as the junior national and Arctic Winter Games qualifier series and is one of the highlights of the Alaska state-wide race schedule. Low-snow conditions forced the hosts, the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA), to confine competition courses to the snowmaking loops at and adjacent to the Kincaid Park stadium.  The NSAA operations crew and volunteers worked diligently over the last two weeks to produce enough snow tfor skiing to occur in Anchorage.  Environmental conditions…

Miller, Grav, Patterson, & Turgeon Win at Eastern Cup Openers

Note: If you’re interested in sending in a summary or photos of a regional race in your area, we’re interested in posting them. Contact info@fasterskier.com. CRAFTSBURY, Vt. — The New England Nordic Ski Association’s Eastern Cup circuit kicked off this weekend in Craftsbury, Vt., with a pair of freestyle races on a loop of manmade snow. Well over 400 racers from the Eastern U.S. and Canada made their way to the Northeast Kingdom for competitions which included all age classes. Senior and college athletes had the chance to race against the best competition in the East, with many athletes home for the holidays, while for the juniors the two days of racing are part of an eight-competition series which will determine qualification for the New England team to Junior Nationals. Saturday’s sprint was delayed after icy road conditions left many team vans and individual vehicles at the bottom of the hill…

Methow Valley Nordic Hosting Online Auction Fundraiser

(Press release) The Methow Valley Nordic Team in Winthrop, Wash., is gearing up for the upcoming ski season with an online auction fundraiser.  Methow Valley Nordic Team started over 25 years ago and continues to develop kids who love to Nordic ski. Famous alumni include Sadie and Erik Bjornsen and Brian Gregg. With over 100 kids signed up for this year’s program and snow in the hills, Methow Valley Nordic Team is off to a strong start for the 2015-16 ski season! Dryland training for the Team has been taking place throughout November and a crew of skiers will head to Silver Star, B.C., for our annual Thanksgiving training camp.  Competitions will begin in mid-December with some skiers focusing on qualifying for Junior Nationals to be held in Cable, Wis., in March and others aiming towards Biathlon trials in December where they hope to qualify for international biathlon races.  Many…

Skiing Before Opening Day at Sovereign Lake (FS Report)

VERNON, British Columbia — Sovereign Lake and Silver Star are not officially opening until Nov. 12, but that hasn’t stopped local skiers from getting on snow in the provincial park. Reports of skiable snow began to trickle in on Oct. 26.  When FasterSkier arrived at Sovereign Lake on Saturday, Nov. 7 to investigate, about 25 kilometres of trail within the park was rolled and reasonable for classic skiing.  Intermittent snowfall during the day and another 10 cm overnight allowed the groomers to start serious work preparing the race trails for the NorAm races in December. The early season trail work is focussed on building a base and preserving the snowpack.   Until opening day, set tracks and smooth skating lanes are a rarity.  Despite the marginal early season conditions and closed day lodge, there were at least 50 skiers out each weekend morning. — Gerry Furseth buy ventolin online

West Yellowstone Grooming Update

West Yellowstone – Rendezvous Ski Trails – 11/5/2015 Grooming Report (Press release) Those who have been missing the fluffy, white snow of winter are smiling this week. The 8+ inches of heavy, wet snow received earlier in the week is setting up a great base for early season skiing on the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, Montana. Trails groomed: Rendezvous, Biathlon Range, Deja View, both Sprint Loops, Drewski, Jerry’s and the Doodle. Almost all trails have classic and skate. Some trails may still be a little soft in the center, but most of the classic looks very good. Early season conditions, so ski with care. More snow is the forecast for the coming week, with continued cool temperatures to hold the base. Only two weeks until the Annual West Yellowstone Ski Festival, and things are looking bright! For current trail conditions visit Skirunbikemt.com or follow us on Facebook and…

Snow Touches Down in West Yellowstone

It snowed in West Yellowstone on Friday, and according to West Yellowstone Chamber Marketing Director Wendy Swenson, more was in the forecast. West Yellowstone, Mont., is home to the annual Yellowstone Ski Festival, which officially kicks off the nordic racing season in the U.S. This year, the event will take place Nov. 24-28. Send your early season snow photos to info@fasterskier.com. Please include when and where the photo was taken, and whom it should be credited to. buy ventolin online