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JO’s Classic Sprint

We are excited to welcome all the athletes to Kincaid Park, racing on our home courses. We wish the snow conditions would have been better, but, thankfully we’ve been spared by mother nature and with lots of hard work by the organizers we had an exciting and competitive sprint race. We were impressed by the level of fitness of the other divisions, especially New England who ended the day 2 points ahead on Alaska Cup standings. Nice job! We were stoked to to have two National Champions (Amy Glen and Becca Rorabaugh and many skiers into the final rounds in all divisions.


We’d also like to give a call out to Sarah Tegeler, who had to miss the first race because of an errant slip on the ice and ended up with a nice gash on her head. Be careful out there! Today we’ve been resting, skiing the course and making sure we have plenty of energy for the race. The coaches have been testing wax, powders and grinds, eating some food, then doing it all over again. Special thanks to Coach Flora and Arians for logging at least 30K’s each testing Klister ALL day. For the vanity conscious skiers, some of the AK girls are having a headband-making party, making sure we look good while passing you on the downhill out on 2.9 Lekisch. Fortunately, Lake Kincaid (The Stadium) has frozen and the groomers have taken our new $350,000 groomer out and made the ice into a rocket fast mix of slush, snow and a little dirt. As of this post, the weather gods have responded to our calls with a light snow that’s falling over the race coarse. It’s not supposed to snow much, but it will be nice to have the dirt and grass on the side of the trail covered for the Skate Race tomorrow. Unfortunately, the race organization decided to change the course from the original 5K Lekisch loop to Elliots climb into the 2.9 Lekisch. Still a grunt of a course, but no where near the zesty second half of the Lekisch. Good luck to all the athletes! We’re psyched and looking to take the lead in the Alaska Cup tomorrow. We’ll have photos tomorrow…..

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Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Erin Phillips says:

    I am an athlete for Team Alaska and I was asked if i had anything to say about the course change that we could psot on the blog. At the time I was simply too angry to say anything about the change. However, now I have had a chance to cool off and I would like have our feelings heard. The course that was originally planned was a fantastic course with several hard uphills and two sections with some technical downhill corners. Alaskans have been racing this course for years and just this year we held our State Championships on this course. At the State meets no one complained about difficult downhill corners and no one saw fit to change the course. However, here at Junior Nationals with the finest skiers in the nation race officials have decided that some of the skiers may not be able to handle these turns. And this idea that SOME skiers may not make it is what led to the change. It is this mentality that is plaguing American skiing, we are too focused on making a course that anyone can race on that our lead skiers suffer because they are forced to race on courses that are not up to par. This change was unneccessary and has only worked to show that American skiing still has a long way to come. The new course is a good course and I have no complaints about it, the only problem I see is that there was no need to change the course in the first place.

  2. Don Haering says:

    It is highly unfortunate that the decision was made not to utilize the best trails at Kincaid. The best Juniors in the country are missing a unique experience to push the envelope of their skills. Hundreds of skiers of all skill levels competed on these same trails under similar conditions two weeks ago during Highschool State Championships without incident. One would hope that the best Juniors in the country would be able to handle it. There has been much talk recently on the subject of how we can increase the level of competition in American skiing. I don’t have the answer, but it certainly doesn’t involve breaking under the pressure of a difficult course and opting for a tamer alternative.

  3. Kelsey Boyer says:

    Hey Alaska. Nice Job Yesterday!! yeah i’d be super dissapointed about missing out on that part of lekish too, it was awesome at state, even after the girls took the course and set up some banked snowplow corners for us. is really too bad that the organisers arent taking advantage of the awsome finish to th likish loops.

    either way tear it up out there and kick some lower 48 A**!!

    Good Luck Guys (and girls =])

  4. Jeff Meserve says:

    I sympathize with you kids. You would have loved skiing in the 60’s and 70’s when turning wasn’t an issue because it was expected!

    Jeff

  5. Erick Romig says:

    Word. I do not have a whole lot to add, as most of it has already been said. Personally, the new course plays to my strengths as a ski racer, as I have more fitness than tactics and technique. However, skiing isn’t all about the fitness. After being around some great coaching this last season, I have realized that technique and the good tactics go a long way…perhaps longer than just fitness. I have also realized that falling makes you a better skier. This change has caused more harm than good on our skiing abilities. That is all for now.

    erick

  6. Gary Snyder says:

    As a skier I sympathize with your dissappointment in the course change. We all like a challenge or we wouldn’t be skiers, and I know if I was racing I would want the tough hills in. But with all due respect, keep in mind the perspective of the organizers (who are kicking as much butt as the skiers this week). Unfortunately for American skiers, we are skiing in America, the land of the lawsuit. Don’t blame the officials for our American culture of blaming others.

    At the State meet a month ago (and no new real snow since then) there was a smorgasbord of broken equipment on that corner. I picked up broken poles from the middle of the trail (for safety’s sake) when others refused to even venture out there to pick it up. There were volunteers shoveling snow on the bad corner (a month ago), and NSAA could use more volunteers out there this week, especially since the snow has gotten much worse. They made a tough call, in part to protect themselves, as well as skier safety. The best skier will win on any course. Don’t criticize organizers too much until you have put on a few races or recruited some shoveling volunteers.

    That being said I can’t wait until the Oosik race Sunday, where hopefully challenging conditions are the acceptable norm…

    Happy Trails, Gary

  7. Gary Snyder says:

    Oops, the Oosik is Saturday. By the way, any Jr. National skiers should be able to find an Oosik in a downtown tourist shop if they are curious what that is.

  8. Ben Arians says:

    As a longtime (ouch) ski coach, I agree with what Gary writes, but I also have sympathy for the skiers that were disappointed not to be racing on the Lekisch 5km course. I believe that the organizers were correct in altering the course, and that the course change made the finish order more dependent on fitness and strength over a roll of the dice on whether there would be someone sprawled across the trail upon rounding the second set of chicanes. Don’t be too quick to criticize the organizers until you look at all sides of a situation. Regarding the “back in my day” comment, technique and racer field size has changed somewhat over the past 30-40 years, so let’s not make too many comparisons to what is was like back in the day. There are still races that take place on closer turnier trails (the Oosik Classic: it’s longer and harder!), the Junior Olympics doesn’t need to be one of them. Turns: yes; too narrow: no. After skiing the course on inspection day, I was quickly convinced that the change was not simply for the safety of the less skilled skiers but for the more skilled racers that would be affected by others, particularly on the second lap. With the top skiers on their 2nd lap coming through the later starters on their 1st lap, carnage would have been unavoidable.

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