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Surgery Knocks Out Cologna for 6 Weeks; Peek Inside German Wax Truck

– Swiss star Dario Cologna was all set for a great season and, he hoped, a repeat of his Olympic gold medal from Vancouver. That’s what he told FasterSkier in an interview this summer, and he said the same thing just last week when talking to FIS Cross Country. But Cologna’s luck turned quickly: on Monday he injured his ankle in a training session and according to an MRI, the damage was a torn ligament. Cologna needs surgery and will be out for six to eight weeks.

“This injury hurts not only physically but also mentally,” he told FIS.”For an optimal pre-season I was looking forward to the season opener in Kuusamo. However, I will now stay calm, work with our medical specialists on a rehabilitation program and then build back my training for the Olympic Games in Sochi.”

More here.

Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle posted a video on her facebook page of the German team’s wax truck. Inside, things are organized in a meticulously German fashion. Check it out.

– Cities are already getting their bids together for the 2022 winter Olympics. Where will it be?

A few regions are out. The German region of Bavaria mulled a bid, with four communities (Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgadener Land, and Traunstein, which includes the 2012 biathlon World Championship venue Ruhpolding) splitting the duties. But Bayern voters rejected the proposal. Der Spiegel notes that it was the first time German voters have ever been offered a say in the Olympic bid process; no word on how Thomas Bach, the new IOC President from Germany, feels about it. Voters in the Swiss region of Graubunden, home of Davos/Klosters, rejected a bid in March. 1992 summer Games host Barcelona was mulling a bid (with snow sports in the Pyrenees), but the mayor recently announced that they would delay a bid until the 2026 process opens.

Still in the running are Oslo (Norway, considered a frontrunner), Stockholm (Sweden), Peking (China), Lviv (Ukraine), Almaty (Kazakhstan), and Krakow (Poland).

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Family and Friends Remember Gallagher at Home Service

On Nov. 3, those closest to the late Mike Gallagher, a three-time Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team head coach, gathered at his home in Pittsfield, Vt., for a “Celebration of Life” in his memory.

One of Gallagher’s former teammates at the University of Colorado, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) President and CEO Bill Marolt wrote the following for the service:

“As we watch the growing success of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team today, it’s important to think back to the sport’s roots. Decades ago, Mike Gallagher helped blaze an early trail for the sport in America, playing a pivotal role as an accomplished athlete and a motivational coach. His success was an inspiration to a generation of skiers led by Bill Koch and future stars like Andy Newell.
As a role model, Mike set the stage for the formation of the lifestyle necessary to be a successful cross country skier – very hard work, ability to endure through massive discomfort and a sincere love of the sport. That culture permeates our sport today thanks to the example Mike Gallagher set through his entire life as a cross country skier and leader.
Personally, I recall fondly our times as teammates at CU where we always enjoyed skiing together.
While we will all miss Mike, we will never forget the vision he set for his sport. He will always be an integral part of the history of cross country skiing in America.”

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Babikov, Gregg Win Frozen Thunder Skate Time Trial

Canadian World Cup Team veteran Ivan Babikov on his way to winning the Frozen Thunder 10 k skate time trial winner on Nov. 1 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Julien Locke.http://www.julienlocke.com/2013/11/frozen-thunder-skate-tt/)

Canadian World Cup Team veteran Ivan Babikov on his way to winning the Frozen Thunder 10 k skate time trial winner on Nov. 1 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Julien Locke)

Frozen Thunder’s celebrated classic sprint wasn’t the only excitement that recently took place on the roughly two-kilometre loop at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta. On Friday, Nov. 1, 43 men and 26 women tested their endurance around several loops of a freestyle time trial. After sitting out the sprint, Canadian World Cup distance specialist Ivan Babikov won the men’s 10 k, and American Caitlin Gregg topped the women’s 8 k event between the Canadian and U.S. nordic teams.

Babikov finished the six-lap TT in 24:57.4, beating runner-up Canadian biathlete Nathan Smith by 2.5 seconds. Another national-team biathlete, Scott Perras placed third, 27.1 seconds behind Babikov.

A Midwest native now with the Methow Olympic Development squad, Caitlin Gregg crushed the competition in 18:30.3, 7.3 seconds ahead of Sochi-bound Canadian biathlete Rosanna Crawford in second. Austrian Katerina Smutna was third, 9 seconds back from Gregg.

“First victory on my new Madshus Skis, boots and poles!” Gregg wrote on Facebook. “Feels great to have such an amazing company with incredible people behind me! So grateful for the awesome organization and effort put forth by the coaches and athletes who are here in Canmore. Thank you to all my sponsors and generous supporters who are making this year (and this trip in Canmore, AB) possible!”

Results: Men’s 10 k | Women’s 8 k 

Photos (by Julien Locke)

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Demong Schools Lauer on the TODAY Show

Billy Demong teaches Matt Lauer how to ski on the TODAY Show on Oct. 29. (Photo: Facebook/Kristina Dickson)

Billy Demong teaches Matt Lauer how to ski on the TODAY Show on Oct. 29. (Photo: Facebook/Kristina Dickson)

Back for the first time since he reviewed his proposal to his now-wife at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Billy Demong appeared on the TODAY Show on Tuesday morning for a rollerski segment in New York City. After fielding a few questions from anchor Matt Lauer, the four-time Olympian and U.S. Nordic Combined veteran led the way down a narrow stretch with a GoPro attached to his chest.

(Check out the video here)

Lauer made it from one end to the other with a few awkward strides, but looked relatively comfortable for a rookie.

“Matt was awesome, he practiced beforehand and kept it rubber side down!” Demong wrote in an email. “Not too much set up on my part but the Today show crew did an awesome job of having everything dialed in! I think despite the constraints of the venue it looked great and hopefully inspired some folks to try it out.”

Demong returned from his team’s final overseas training camp on Oct. 24, arriving in Chicago for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Ball on Oct. 25. Two days later, he flew home to Park City, Utah, for a little family time before jetting to NYC for USSA’s New York Gold Medal Gala and 100 Days Out Olympic celebration.

He posted the following Central Park rollerski workout on Strava.

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U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Officially Named

World Champions Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins highlight a team of 11 athletes named to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2013-14 season. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)

World Champions Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins highlight a team of 11 athletes named to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2013-14 season. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)

(Press release)

PARK CITY, UT – World Champions Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) highlight a team of 11 athletes named to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2013-14 season. The team was announced at the conclusion of a final two-week training camp at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City and the newly-repaved roller ski track on the Olympic trails at nearby Soldier Hollow. The season opens Nov. 29 in Kuusamo, Finland. The 2014 Sochi Olympic Team will be selected primarily from World Cup events this season and will be named in late January.

2014 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Roster
including Name, Hometown, Club (Skis, Boots, Bindings, Poles, Eyewear) Date of Birth
* Denotes Olympian
** Pursuing degree in Westminster College partnership program

A Team

  • Holly Brooks, Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Salomon, Salomon, Salomon, Swix, Rudy Project) 4/17/82 *
  • Jessie Diggins, Afton, MN, Stratton T2 (Salomon, Salomon, Salomon, One Way, Rudy Project) 8/26/1991
  • Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Salomon, Salomon, Swix, Rudy Project) 11/30/1983 *
  • Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Fischer, Salomon, Salomon, Swix, Rudy Project) 12/31/1982 *
  • Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT, Craftsbury Green Team (Fischer, Alpine, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 1/25/1988
  • Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, Burke Mountain Academy (Rossignol, Rossignol, Rossignol, One Way, Rudy Project) 1/12/1987 * **

B Team

  • Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Fischer, Salomon, Salomon, Swix, Rudy Project) 11/21/1989
  • Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Fischer, Fischer, Fischer, Swix, Rudy Project) 7/14/1991
  • Sophie Caldwell, Peru, VT, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Salomon, Salomon, Swix, Rudy Project) 3/22/90
  • Simi Hamilton, Aspen, CO, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Alpina, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 5/14/1987 *
  • Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (Madshus, Madshus, Rotefella, Madshus, Oakley) 8/1/1989 **

Coaching Staff

  • Chris Grover, Head Coach, Head Men’s Coach
  • Matt Whitcomb, Head Women’s Coach
  • Jason Cork, Assistant Coach
  • Bryan Fish, Development Coach

World Cup Service Team

  • Peter Johansson, Head of Service
  • Randy Gibbs, Head of Glide
  • Oleg Ragilo, Head of Kick
  • Cory Wubbels, World Cup Service

HIGHLIGHTS

  • World Champions Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) lead 11 athletes named to the 2013 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
  • Diggins and Randall teamed up to win the World Championship team sprint. Randall won her second straight FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint title and was third overall – both first for a U.S. woman.
  • Also returning to the A Team are veteran sprinter Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), fifth in World Cup sprint standings last year, and Liz Stephen (Montpelier, VT), who was top five in last year’s World Championships.
  • Moving up to the A Team are Holly Brooks (Anchorage) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT). Both had strong World Cup performances last season.
  • The team capped its pre-season dryland training with a camp at the USSA Center of Excellence and roller ski trails at Soldier Hollow.
  • The USSA partnered with Soldier Hollow to re-pave the roller ski trails this summer.
  • The season kicks off Nov. 29 in Kuusamo, Finland.
  • The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team will send another squad to the Tour de Ski stage race, Dec. 28-Jan. 5 at sites across Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
  • The 2014 Olympic Team for Sochi will be selected primarily from World Cup results this season and will be named in late January.

QUOTES
Kikkan Randall, World Cup sprint champion
The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team has never seen so much momentum! This has been an incredibly productive summer of training, the whole team is looking fit and healthy, and we can’t wait to kick off the 2014 season in a few weeks.

The confidence and success of this team has been building over the past few seasons. We’ve reached a new level of team cohesion and together with the incredible support of our team at the USSA. We feel prepared and excited for the opportunities ahead. We Believe in U.S.! Do you?

Chris Grover, Head Coach
The 2013-14 U.S Cross Country Ski Team will be the strongest team that the USA has fielded in 30 plus years. Led by World Champion and two-time overall sprint champion Kikkan Randall, this team is redefining the limits of success in U.S. cross country skiing. Although the team will be focused on peak performances in Sochi, we expect to be fighting for podiums each and every weekend throughout the World Cup season.

Official Cross Country Suppliers
Uniforms
Bjørn Dæhlie (BJ Sports)

Equipment
Alpina
Atomic
Bolle
Briko
Fischer
Madshus
Oakley
One Way
POC
Rossignol
Rudy Project
Salomon
Swix

Wax, Tools and Training Devices
Bosu
Dominator
Holmenkol
Kenwood Radios
Sun Valley Ski Tools
Swix
Toko
Tools4boards
Wintersteiger
World Cup Supply

Uniform Logo Sponsors
Audi
BJ Sports
Charles Schwab
High Sierra
Nature Valley
Putnam
Sprint
Visa

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Women’s Ski Jumping USA Names Team for Historic Olympic Season

(Press release)

PARK CITY, Utah (Oct. 29) – Women’s Ski Jumping USA has named the athletes to represent the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team this year on the World Cup and Continental Cup circuits. This season also marks the first time women will be competing in ski jumping in the Olympic Winter Games.

2014 Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team

(Teams determined by performance criteria and coaches’ discretion).

Team A

  • Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT

Team B

  • Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT
  • Lindsey Van, Park City, UT

Team C (World Cup)

  • Abby Hughes, Park City, UT
  • Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT

Team C (Continental Cup)

  • Nina Lussi, Lake Placid, NY
  • Nita Englund, Steamboat Springs, CO

Development Team

  • Emilee Anderson, Eau Claire, WI
  • Manon Maurer, Park City, UT

The U.S. women are going into the 2014 winter World Cup season as the No. 1-ranked team in the world for a second year in a row led by 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson and long-time pioneers of the sport Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome.

“As a team and as individual athletes we’re all looking forward to this World Cup season,” said Van. “While it does carry a little more weight with it being our first Olympic season, we’ll continue to train hard, prepare, and have fun just like we do every year.”

This marks the third year for a women’s ski jumping World Cup circuit. In previous years, the International Ski Federation held only the lower tiered Continental Cup circuit for women jumpers. A World Cup circuit means better ski jumping venues, more international support, larger winnings, and mandatory broadcast time for the events.

But what will dominate headlines this season is the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games where women’s ski jumping will debut after a long push to be included.

“Our goal is to have more women on the podium,” said Head World Cup Coach Paolo Bernardi. “We want to start this World Cup season with a clear idea of where we are compared to the other teams, be more consistent, and be in the best shape possible, and absolutely ready for the Olympic Games.”

Bernardi said the other nations to watch are Slovenia, Germany, and Japan — home to teen phenom and 2013 World Cup champion Sara Takanashi.

Hendrickson won’t be starting the World Cup season in December. She will be continuing with her rehabilitation after surgery to repair torn ligaments in her right knee – an injury sustained during an August training jump. Her focus and goal is to be back and ready for the Olympic Games. 

Hendrickson, Van and Jerome also have met U.S. Ski Team criteria. They, along with the entire Visa Team, receive access to resources offered through the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. 

Notes:

  • There are 18 individual competitions on the women’s World Cup winter circuit, including stops in Norway, Austria, Russia, Germany, Japan, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden.
  • The WC opener is Dec. 7 in Lillehammer, NOR.
  • Nordic Junior World Ski Championships are Jan. 27-Feb. 2 in Val di Fiemme, ITA
  • U.S. Olympic Trials for ski jumping are Dec. 29 in Park City, UT and will be broadcast live on NBC.
  • The official 2014 Olympic Ski Jumping Team will be announced Jan. 19.
  • Olympic Winter Games are Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia. (Women’s ski jumping event is Feb. 11)

Women’s Ski Jumping USA is the primary support group for the VISA Women’s Ski Jumping Team and aims to foster development level athletes throughout the U.S. WSJ-USA, a 501c3 foundation, also advocates for equality for women and girls in sports.

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Wall Street Journal Takes a Stand on Behalf of Freeman

Three-time Olympian Kris Freeman, a longtime staple on the U.S. Ski Team until this year, was featured in an Oct. 16 Wall Street Journal editorial in which writer Matthew Futterman proclaims: “The USSA leadership has made some great decisions of late. But they made a bad call earlier this year when they cut former national champion Kris Freeman from the U.S. cross-country team.”

In the article, titled ‘The Skier Who Got the Cold Shoulder,’ Freeman explains the decision cost him thousands of dollars in anticipated travel expenses and $2,450 dollars a year directly from the U.S. Olympic Committee. He also has to mitigate his health-care costs, which aren’t cheap for someone with Type 1 diabetes on COBRA. The U.S. Ski Team did not name him to his 2013/2014 squad in April after more than a decade on the team.

“I was told that my trajectory was not what they were looking for,” said Freeman, 33.

“You fall out of the top 30 in the rankings, they’ll give you a second year, but if it happens two years in a row they cut you,” former teammate Andy Newell told the WSJ.

Now in his second season with the Maine Winter Sports Center, Freeman is still training hard for the Olympics and anticipates covering the costs of food and lodging on the World Cup circuit, which amounts to about $150 a day.

“Maybe getting cut off will prove advantageous,” Futterman writes. “There is a certain edge in Freeman’s voice these days. He seems determined to prove the USSA made the wrong decision.”

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Oct. 14 Roundup: Northug Motivated by Revenge, Brits Fundraise

– Bjørge Ingar Stensbøl has published a book called Norske Vinnerskalle, which translates to something like “Norwegian winners’ callings,” and recently offered up some insight based on conversations with Petter Northug. He told NRK that Northug is motivated by revenge and a perception that people do not want him to succeed.

Of recent developments, including the decision to leave the national team and seek support from Team Coop instead, Stensbøl says this:

“He has said that he feels that there are some who hope that he won’t be able to achieve such good results in the winter because he left the national team. And he has said that this is a major motivation for him, where he has much to avenge.”

This is not exactly out of line with previous experience. A fall in the skiathlon at the Sapporo World Championships in 2007 apparently weighed heavily on his mind in subsequent racing:

“In a year after [Sapporo] I was nearly as hurt as if I had lost a family member. The fall caused almost all of what happened later. When I got my next chance to become individual world champion in Liberec in the Czech Republic in 2009, I thought only “revenge, revenge, revenge” at the end of the skate portion, said Northug.”

– Last week we wrote about Pursu.it, a microfunding platform that several Canadian biathletes are using to fund their training for Sochi. The British nordic team has turned to Crowdfunder, to try to raise a fairly modest 5,000 pounds to help with their own chase. As Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young and other team members explain in a video, the team has little real financial sponsorship, and although it has received four quota spots and the possibility for a fifth, skiers must meet qualification requirements before they fill those spots. That means more racing in the first period of World Cups than the team traditionally can afford. To chip in, check out their page here.

– At the latest FIS meetings in Zurich, the Subcommittee for the World and Continental Cup talked about schedules through the 2018/2019 season. Among the discussions were details on the major features and goals of each World Cup period. Read the details on FisCrossCountry.com.

– France may have matched the silliness of those giant-logoed Ralph Lauren outfits the United States wore at the next Olympics; check out their Lacoste blazers. Maurice Manificat … acknowledges.

Vibeke Skofterud is winning the “recovery after a hard training day” competition on Instagram with this beauty.

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Olympic Flame Goes Out Multiple Times in Russia

It happens. It’s not a big deal, but the fact that a Russian officer used a cigarette lighter to relight the Olympic torch on Sunday and the Pennsylvania-based  company Zippo claimed to save the day was.

You see, Zippo posted a Facebook photo on Tuesday stating the lighter was theirs, with the hashtag “#ZippoSavesOlympics.” Russian officials didn’t think it was so funny, especially since they have a law banning the use of Olympic symbols in advertising without approval.

Then there was another issue: if the flame goes out, it’s supposed be brought back life to with Olympic lanterns from Greece, according to R-Sport.

On Zippo’s part, the company removed the hashtag and accompanying photo from its Facebook page after being contacted by Russian officials. It replaced it with: “Zippo: Perfect for all winter games. *wink wink*”

According to NBC’s Nick Zaccardi, the flame has since gone out a second, third and fourth time in the last two days.

Check out this video of the torch blunder. (Notice the silence, even when it’s lit.)

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2014 Prohibited List Posted by WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency has posted its 2014 list of prohibited substances for athletic competition. Among the changes:

– For anabolic steroids, the definitions of “exogenous” and “endogenous” were clarified.

– Vasosuppressing V2 Agonists were added as an example of illegal masking agents.

– MDMA and MDA were removed from the list as they are not considered performance-enhancing.

– Several other stimulants, however, were added to the list.

The updatated Prohibited List can be found here.

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August 25 Roundup: Stephen First to the Top Of Vermont

— U.S. Ski Team members and Vermont natives Liz Stephen and Ida Sargent claimed the top two spots, respectively, in Sunday’s North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont.

Stephen set a new course record in the sixth annual event, running 4.5 miles up (2,564 ft. climb) the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road in Stowe more than five minutes faster than her closest competitor, Sargent.

2011 World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman was third to the summit of Vermont’s highest peak.

Former USST member Justin Freeman was runner-up in the men’s race, behind U.S. Mountain Running Team member Eric Blake, who also set a course record. Skiers Gordon Vermeer (Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Ben Hegman (Mansfield Nordic), Scott Patterson (UVM), and Patrick O’Brien (Craftsbury GRP) all placed in the top 10.

Results

— Russians won both the men’s and women’s races of the 23rd annual Kangaroo Hoppet Saturday. The 42-kilometer freestyle ski race (on snow) is held in Victoria, Australia.

Last year’s World Cup distance champion Alexander Legkov repeated as champion and joined teammates Ilya and Alexey Chernousov on the podium. The Russian team had been training in the area for the past three weeks.

Marina Chernousova won the women’s race over Lauren Fritz of the United States (Alaska Pacific University) and Chisa Obayashi of Japan.

Results

 

 

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German Couple Takes Top Spots on Argentina’s Marchablanca Podium

Start of the 2013 Marchablanca in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Start of the 2013 Marchablanca in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, with Federico Cichero (ARG) in the lead.

(Press release)

Tierra del Fuego race marks its 27th edition as a candidate for World Loppet status 

Germans Caroline and Falk Goepfert won the women’s and men’s 21 KM Marchablanca on Sunday August 18th near Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.  The 27th edition of the Club Andino Ushuaia’s popular race was held in classic technique for the first time in decades.

Argentina’s Federico Cichero and Goepfert skied off the front from the beginning of the race under humid, light falling snow with temperatures right around 0 Centigrade.  Goepfert gapped Cichero slightly on the last major climb.  Cichero fought back on the flats, caught Goepfert only to lose in a double-pole sprint for the line.  Goepfert and Cichero finished the single-lap race in 1:02:29 and 1:02:30 respectively.  Czech Jiri Suchy took third, about five minutes back.

The women’s race was won by Caroline Goepfert in 1:18:26.  Second place went to Italian Valentina Puntel who was present as a coach for a small Italian team of Paralympic athletes training at Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor.  Local Argentine Maria Giro took third place.

World Loppet representative Paddy Field was present during the event in order to observe the race’s organization and form a report regarding the admission of the Marchablanca’s sister race, the Ushuaia Loppet 42K, into the World Loppet.  A final decision on the Ushuaia Loppet’s World Loppet candidacy is expected in October or November.

The Tierra del Fuego region is incrementally building a body of cross-country skiing events under the moniker Mes internacional del esquí de fondo (“International Cross Country Sk Month”).  The Club Andino Ushuaia, a local non-profit formed in 1958, held its second annual FIS sanctioned races at the nearby Francisco Jerman Nordic Ski Area on August 9, 10, and 11 this year.

Cichero, who won two of the three FIS races commented on them, “the first year we had seven racers, this year we had 18, and I do not think it is too crazy to expect maybe forty racers in 2014 including some junior or continental level teams.”

The Marchablanca’s new sister race, the Ushuaia Loppet 42 kilometer freestyle ski marathon, takes place on August 24th.  The Ushuaia Loppet is two laps of the Marchablanca course (or Provincial Cross Country Ski Trail / PIPEF) run in the opposite direction.  One of the three climbs on the Marchablanca course is not included in the Ushuaia Loppet and, instead, replaced with easier terrain.

Falk Goepfert, who is a wax tech for the German National Cross Country Ski Team, said after the Marchablanca, “I really like it here, I really like the part of the course that goes in and out of the trees,…one could easily ski or train here for six weeks.”

More information is available at www.ushuaialoppet.com.

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Longtime Birkie Racer, Van Hoof Killed in Bicycle-Car Collision

A well-known Birchlegger with 33 American Birkebeiners under his belt, Tom Van Hoof died Sunday after a car struck him late Thursday night in Glendale, Wis., just north of Milwaukee.

According to local columnist Tom Held with The Active Pursuit, the 60-year-old Milwaukee resident was riding with a group of friends on the Oak Leaf Trail around 10 p.m. when Van Hoof rolled through an uncontrolled intersection without stop signs for motor vehicles. The new section of the pathway had recently been paved and not officially open, according to Guy Smith, director of operations for the Milwaukee County Parks Department. Signs warning drivers and cyclists of the intersection had not yet been installed.

The county medical examiners’ report stated Van Hoof was headed south when an eastbound car struck him as he crossed the intersection. He had a small blinking light on his bike, but the driver reportedly did not see him until Hoof landed on the hood of his car, Held wrote. He was wearing a helmet, but died of severe head injuries on Sunday.

Almost exactly two years ago, one of the original Birkie founders David Landgraf died after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike in Hayward, Wis. Van Hoof is Wisconsin’s sixth cyclist to be killed in a motor-vehicle accident this year.

As of Tuesday, no citations had been issued, but yellow caution strips will be installed on the bike path.

“The 60-year-old husband, father and cancer survivor was a swaggering fixture in a tight group of cyclists and skiers from the Milwaukee area,” Held wrote. “They pedaled thousands of miles together. Just a week before his crash, Van Hoof finished a 200-mile group ride to a family cabin north of Oconto, a ride dubbed the Double Trouble. He skied 33 American Birkebeiner races and gathered friends on all of his adventures – cycling, skiing or sailing.

“One couldn’t help but gravitate toward him,” he added. “He had a wicked grin, and an attitude to match, and a get-it done approach to life.”

For more on Van Hoof, visit Held’s blog.

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USOC’s Ashley Responds to Questions on USSA Funding

After our recent interview with USOC Chief of Sports Performance Alan Ashley (read it here), former U.S. and Canadian national team coach Marty Hall asked how much control the USOC has over how the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association divies up their funding between different disciplines, for instance alpine, nordic, and freestyle. In a comment, he wrote:

“USST XC is definitely underfunded when it comes to USOC dollars—are we, being out here in the hinterland, correct when it comes to the dispersal of the USOC funds for the different disciplines, that it is the USST that decides where the dollars go and not the USOC—meaning that your funding is handed over to the USST in full?”

FasterSkier forwarded the question to Ashley, who responded:

“The US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) as the National Governing Body for Ski and Snowboard (NGB) develops a strategic / high performance plan that prioritizes where resources are invested in order to help the best athletes succeed at the top internationally.  It is based on this plan that the USOC invests resources with USSA.  It is done this way because clearly the USOC will never have the expertise of the NGB in understanding what sort of training, competition and coaching is necessary to achieve international success.   This is especially critical in the case of NGBs that have multiple disciplines involving different groups of athletes, coaches, officials etc. because there are always going to be difficult decisions and tradeoffs knowing that there are never enough resources to support ever program at every level of the pipeline.   It is important that the individuals closest to this athletically and business wise are driving these priorities.”

In the original interview, we asked whether he thought USSA was doing a good job in the way that it divided these resources. This was his answer at the time:

“I think they’ve been true to their principles. They are trying to come up with a system to let the very best athletes achieve at the highest level. It’s always going to be a little complicated. From the perspective of the USOC working with USSA, I think we have worked well together and the results show that.”

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U.S. Alpine’s Brandenburg Wins USST Sufferfest; Hoffman Posts Fastest Time

A member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Will Brandenburg was proclaimed king of the hill on Sunday, winning the second-annual U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Sundance Sufferfest, an uphill road-bike race in Sundance, Utah.

The almighty Sundance Sufferfest trophy, made by race organizer and USST Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Moore. (Photo: http://noahhoffman.com/sufferfest/)

The Sundance Sufferfest trophy, made by race organizer and USST strength and conditioning coach Alex Moore. (Photo: Noah Hoffman)

Noah Hoffman of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team wrote in his blog that USSA Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Moore organized the event, which attracted nearly 50 riders this year.  Handicapped to make for a more competitive race, the time-trial course climbs eight miles from Provo Canyon’s South Fork to the top of the Alpine Loop some 8,000 feet above sea level.

Brandenburg, a 26-year-old World Cup skier, won the race with a handicapped time of 37:14 after starting 31 minutes ahead of the last starters (Hoffman and U.S. Nordic Combined skier Taylor Fletcher). Last year’s female winner, freestyle moguls Olympian Heather McPhie defended her title in second overall, just 20 seconds back from Brandenburg after starting with a 20-minute handicap. Hoffman declined a handicapped start and placed third in 38.02.

After beating Hoffman last year, Fletcher ended up eighth on Sunday, 7 seconds ahead of his coach, Dave Jarrett, in ninth. Men’s alpine head coach Sasha Rearick won the inaugural race last year and former USST member Tad Elliott placed second with the fastest-course time of 40:32. Hoffman said Moore and Fletcher felt he should get a head start on Sunday, but he declined it.

“I don’t like the idea of starting an endurance race with a handicap,” Hoffman wrote.

He started out with Fletcher and stuck with him for the first half of the race.

“He asked me to lead several times, but I ignored him,” Hoffman wrote. “I focused on saving my energy and making it as easy as possible. Finally, at about the half way point (4 miles), Taylor got fed up with me following him. He pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. At that point I decided to attack so he couldn’t just follow me.”

Hoffman soon caught other nordic-combined skiers like Billy Demong, who started two minutes ahead, and Michael Ward, who was given a 3-minute handicap.

“I attacked them as well and nobody was able to go with me,” Hoffman wrote. “I road the rest of the race alone, catching many of the early starters.”

He finished 48 seconds behind Brandenburg, who started 31 minutes ahead of him, and pointed out that he beat Fletcher by a minute and 45 seconds.

“I rode more than two and half minutes faster than I did last year,” he wrote. “I also road almost a minute and a half faster than the Strava (an app that is a digital time trial record book) record for the same course.”

2013 Sufferfest results

Photos

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Havlick to Ski for Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation

Miles Havlick on the podium at NCAA Championships in March.

Team announcement season continues; on Monday Miles Havlick, two-time NCAA Champion at the University of Utah, decided to ski for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in 2013-2014. The 23-year-old from Boulder, Colo., fielded a competing offer from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/Team HomeGrown in Vail, Colo., but Havlick says SVSEF will be a return to the familiar. He took a post-graduate year with the program before going to UU and looks forward to returning to Sun Valley, Idaho, in August after he finishes two final classes in Salt Lake City this summer.

“It was really a tough decision,” Havlick said. “Both teams are obviously top-notch and have a lot of momentum and great things going for them. It’s just — Sun Valley is a place I love to be. I go up there every summer for a few weeks and I skied for them before college, so it’s something familiar and I think, hopefully, it’ll help me take the next step with my skiing as well.”

In addition to winning the 15 k mass start at NCAA Championships for two straight years, Havlick was eighth in the 30 k classic at U.S. Nationals in January and won six Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) races during his senior season with the Utes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hamilton, Pokorny Added to 2013-20214 SMS T2 Team

The Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 team announced its 2013-2014 roster on Monday evening and there are two notable additions to the group. Joining returning skiers Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, Erika Flowers, Andy Newell, Eric Packer, and Skyler Davis are Simi Hamilton, a U.S. Ski Team member formerly of Sun Valley’s elite team, and Annie Pokorny, 20-year-old former Middlebury College skier who recently completed her sophomore season.

“Simi…brings an impressive results resume and exactly the team first attitude our group revolves around,” reads the SMS T2 announcement. “Annie Pokorny…was a dominant Eastern collegiate skier this past year. She will join and add to a tight knit SMST2 women’s team.”

SMS T2 wrapped up its inaugural season this spring and all six original athletes are returning next fall along with head coach Gus Kaeding, bringing its full-time athlete count up to eight going into the Olympic year with four national team members.

 

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WADA Post Statement on Veerpalu Case

Wednesday afternoon, a day and a half after the Andrus Veerpalu decision was delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency finally posted a statement on their website concerning the case, which could be considered a rebuke to WADA for not following sound science in developing a guideline to separate positive and negative findings. The statement is brief and does not address any of the concerns raised by CAS:

WADA is disappointed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision on the Andrus Veerpalu case.

It is of course pleasing and important that CAS has accepted the reliability of the hGH test method. However, we are concerned at the conclusion reached by CAS about the Decision Limits applied for hGH. This hGH test was developed with leading experts in the hGH field.

We received the court’s reasoning yesterday, and will not comment more specifically until we thoroughly analyze the findings and its consequences.”

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U.S. OPA Trip Recap Video

More from the department of skiers being really good at video editing: SMS T2 skier Eric Packer produced this short clip on Tuesday recapping the U.S. OPA Cup Finals trip to Toblach, Italy, this season. Give it a watch.

 

 

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Canada’s Mark Arendz Wins Overall IPC Biathlon World Cup

(CCC press release)

Arendz ends dream season with three IPC World Championship medals, four IPC World Cup podiums

SOCHI, Russia — Mark Arendz put the finishing touches to a memorable season by locking up the overall IPC World Cup biathlon title after winning the bronze medal in the men’s 15 kilometre biathlon race in Sochi, Russia on Thursday.

Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., took advantage of a stellar day on the range where the 21 year old missed just one target in four rounds of shooting to clock a time of 48:48.3 for third spot.

“It was a great race for me. It was so slow that I really had to focus on my technique and shooting. I felt I was more comfortable on the range today then yesterday [where he placed fifth],” said Arendz. “The one miss took me out of second, but I’m very pleased with how the day went. It has been a great opportunity to ski at the Laura venue in anticipation for next year’s Paralympic Games.”

Norway’s Nils Erik Ulset fired his way to the gold medal with one miss and a time of 45:53.0. Grygorii Vovchynskyi, of the Ukraine, had one miss of his own, but celebrated the silver with a time of 48:09.3.

The bronze-medal finish caps off a strong season for Arendz where he captured his first career IPC Biathlon World Cup Crystal Globe. The 2010 Paralympian skied his way to the podium four times on the IPC World Cup, in addition to racking up three World Championship medals including his first victory at the worlds.

“It has been a great season. I had some tough races and results, but I’m very satisfied that I was able to stay consistent all year,” said Arendz. “That consistency paid off. After finishing second overall the last two years, I get to go home with the overall title and the Crystal Globe. This is a huge boost of confidence for me.”

Daily reports of all the action at the IPC World Cup Finals from Sochi are published at www.ipc-nordicskiing.org.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will take place between March 7-16, and are set to feature 700 athletes from 45 countries. Athletes will compete in five sports – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. Para- snowboard will make its Games debut as part of the alpine skiing programme.

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Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities, AltaGas, Statoil and Canadian Pacific – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2ten, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com

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