Compiled and Edited by Allison Slavick
The National Park Service has announced a record of decision for winter use at Yellowstone National Park, developed in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Beginning with the 2014-15 winter season, a fixed maximum number of vehicles allowed in the park each day will be replaced with a new, more flexible concept of managing vehicle access by transportation events, defined as one snowcoach or a group of up to 10 snowmobiles, averaging seven seasonally. Commercial tour operators will be able to use their allocated transportation events for snowmobiles, snowcoaches, or a mix of both, as long as no more than 50 of the authorized 110 daily transportation events are snowmobile events. The decision relies on user demand to determine the best mix of oversnow vehicle (OSV) use and focuses on the impacts of OSV use on park resources.
USSA recently named a strong U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2013-14 season. World champions Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) highlight a team of 11 athletes 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 November 29 in Kuusamo, Finland. In late January, USSA will name the 2014 Sochi Olympic Team based primarily on World Cup results this season.
In addition to Randall and Diggins, also returning to the “A” team are veteran sprinter Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vermont), fifth in World Cup sprint standings last year, and Liz Stephen (Montpelier, Vermont), who finished among the top five in last year’s World Championships. Moving up to the “A” team are Holly Brooks (Anchorage) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vermont). Both had strong World Cup performances last season. 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 U.S. “B” team
roster includes Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash.;
Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash.; Sophie Caldwell, Peru, Vermont; Simi Hamilton, Aspen, Colo.; and Noah Hoffman, Aspen, Colo.
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 compete in ski jumping in the Olympic Winter Games.
The 2014 Visa Women’s Ski Jumping “A” team includes Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, Utah. Team “B” is
Jessica Jerome, Park City, Utah, and Lindsey Van, Park City, Utah. Team “C” (World Cup) is Abby Hughes, Park City, Utah, and Alissa Johnson, Park City, Utah. Team “C” (Continental Cup) is comprised of Nina Lussi, Lake Placid, New York, and Nita Englund, Steamboat Springs, Colo. The Development Team includes Emilee Anderson, Eau Claire, Wis., and Manon Maurer, Park City, Utah.
The U.S. women are going into the 2014 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.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced the appointment of Olympian Tiger Shaw as chief operating officer, effective October 1. Shaw, a native of Stowe, Vermont, and former U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete will transition in the spring of 2014 to become president and chief executive officer of the USSA. He will succeed Bill Marolt, who will retire after leading the USSA for 18 years. Marolt will remain president and CEO through the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, and continue to serve as a vice president of the International Ski Federation (FIS) as well as a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors. Shaw competed as part of the U.S. Olympic Team in the 1984 Olympic Winter Games under then Head Alpine Coach Bill Marolt; he is a two-time Olympian, a nine-time U.S. Champion, and successful business executive.
BP (British Petroleum) has announced sponsorship of Alaska Olympic Nordic skiers Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks and three-time Paralympian Tatyana McFadden as they prepare for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. Randall is one of six BP Ambassador Athletes and has been on the U.S. Ski Team for a decade, becoming the most successful women’s cross country skier in U.S. history. Brooks is one of 26 Team BP Athletes who will make appearances on behalf of BP to promote physical fitness and education. Paralympian McFadden has won 10 medals, and she captured a national championship in her third race ever.
With its sights set on Sochi, the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has named Marc Nölke, an Olympian and highly-regarded ski jumping coach, to oversee its jumping program. Nölke, a German coach who has worked with both Austrian and German national jumping teams, was one of the youngest Olympic ski jumpers ever, qualifying for the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville before a serious injury there cut his career short. During his tenure from 2006-2010 with the Austrian National Team the Austrians won four Nations Cup titles, the Olympic team event in Vancouver, and were dominant at World Championships and in the prestigious Four Hills Tournament.
Olympian Sarah Konrad, who competed in Nordic skiing and biathlon at the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006, finally got her shot to discuss what she terms her “geeky” side. Demonstrating experiments with water and ice in the “cold lab” at the University of Wyoming, Konrad is now the subject of an NBC Learn segment. For her program, Konrad discussed the science of snow and how it relates to Nordic skiing. In 2006, at age 38, Konrad became the first U.S. female Olympian to qualify in two sports at the same Olympic Games – Nordic skiing and the biathlon. She competed in four events in Torino, finishing 14th in the women’s cross country relay. Konrad also placed 32nd (and the first American) in the women’s Nordic 30-kilometer event. For the past four years, Konrad was the United States Olympic Committee’s athlete representative for biathlon. Now, she serves as chair of the USOC Athletes’ Advisory Council, which oversees 47 athlete representatives for all of the various Olympic and Paralympic sports. The program will be posted on the NBC Learn website about one week prior to the winter Olympics.
The 2013-14 Nordic season at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, will unveil a newly designed Nordic stadium and improved FIS-sanctioned race course as part of the preparations to host the Junior Nationals, March 1-8, 2014. Youth ages 14-18 will participate in this week-long festival of Nordic racing. On March 14, the Ski-Orienteering National Championships will begin with a full weekend of racing as competitors ski from check-point to check-point while navigating maps to pick the shortest route.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area, is celebrating 40 years by completing the third phase of a $2.25 million enhancement. There will be more offerings for the Nordic skier with the opening of new Nordic high-country terrain on Mount Stickney, providing early and late-season skiing. Extending out from the new Mount Stickney Cabin, the trails are easily accessed via a T-Bar lift or by skiing up Mountain Road. The new trails will allow Nordic skiers to take advantage of Alpine amenities, including the Mount Stickney Cabin.
In Vermont, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center has broken ground on a new activity lodge and fitness center scheduled to open in May 2014. The net-zero energy facility will replace the existing Touring Center. The center is committed to becoming carbon neutral; major material, structural, and aesthetic decisions were made based on local sourcing and total carbon impact. The new facility will be built with as much local wood as possible, and hot water for the buildings will come from waste heat generated by the snowmaking system. The building includes a large ski lodge/event space with a ski and bike shop, a cafe, a fitness and weight room, and ski waxing area. Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, Vermont, is rolling out a snowbike fleet this year to add to the fun. Snowbike rentals and bike-specific trails will be available throughout the 2013-14 season. Camel’s Hump Nordic Skiers Association has announced trail and facility improvements. The Association manages a 35 kilometer-plus trail system on a unique mix of public and private lands in Huntington. With the help of a grant from Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation, they’ve developed a groomed route to the top of 1,800 ft. Cobble Hill with 360-degree views of Camel’s Hump, Lake Champlain, and the surrounding foothills. A new south-end parking area on Bert White Road will double parking capacity, and a new warming hut will welcome skiers there. Trails previously closed due to logging activity will re-open this season.