Mar 02, 2014
Compiled and Edited by Allison Slavick
Two-time World Cup champion and Olympian Kikkan Randall made a statement Saturday, March 2, with teammate Sophie Caldwell as the two took first and third at the Lahti World Cup sprints, the first-ever double podium for U.S. women. It was a career-first podium for Caldwell, as well as the first time a US woman other than Randall has landed on an individual World Cup podium in the modern era. The crucial win put Randall back on top of the World Cup sprint standings as she continues the fight for her third-straight sprint title. The course featured an icy base with a top layer of soft, sugary snow that proved to be difficult for many athletes and caused crashes throughout the day’s heats. Randall and Caldwell sneaked by a big crash early on in the women’s final, which took out Olympic silver medalist Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia and Olympic gold medalist Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway. Caldwell pushed all the way to the end of the final, where she lunged and a photo finish confirmed her third spot on the historic podium. Simi Hamilton took the top spot for the USA in the men’s sprints, qualifying for the quarterfinals and finishing 20th with teammate Andy Newell in 28th. The Lahti Ski Games continued Sunday, with Randall placing 21st in the 10k freestyle and Noah Hoffman 24th in the men’s 15k race.
Jessica Jerome jumped into 15th Saturday March 2, at the World Cup premier of the Rasnov, Romania ski jumping venue. Jerome was the only US athlete to compete in the event after Lindsey Van injured her left knee during a training jump Friday. Sara Takanashi of Japan took the victory on the new hill. Jerome went on to land the best World Cup result of her career Sunday with second place. It was Jerome’s second World Cup podium after a third-place in Hinterzarten in 2012. She finished just behind Sara Takanashi of Japan in the second day of competition at the new Rasnov venue. The women head to Oslo Sat. March 8 for a World Cup on the large hill at Holmenkollen.
American Nina Lussi captured her first career Continental Cup (COC) win Saturday March 2, in Falun, Sweden, where next year athletes from around the world will descend for the 2015 World Nordic Ski Championships. Lussi backed-up the win with a 2nd-place finish on Sunday, followed by teammate Nita Englund, who claimed her first COC podium finish. Lussi came to Falun looking to build on the success of her 5th and 6th place finishes in Lahti, Finland, in mid-February. Lussi jumped 81 and 80.5 meters to win on Saturday and put up a pair of 82-meter jumps on Sunday for 2nd place, just missing the top spot by 3.3 points. Finland’s Susanna Forsstroem won Sunday’s event.
Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher combined their efforts Saturday to finish 14th in the team sprint HS130/2x7.5k World Cup at the Lahti Ski Games. Team USA I jumped into 14th position and maintained its position with the eighth fastest time in the cross country sprint, where Team Norway I skied to victory. Bryan Fletcher was the sole US athlete to compete in the individual 10k Gundersen World Cup in Lahti Friday, finishing 34th in his first nordic combined since the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Next, the athletes head to Trondheim, Norway for an individual 10k Gundersen World Cup on Thursday, March 6.
Olympian Tiger Shaw will take over as president and CEO of the US Ski and Snowboard Association effective March 3 as part of a long-planned transition, USSA Chairman Dexter Paine announced. Shaw was named chief operating officer last fall. Shaw succeeds Bill Marolt, who led the USSA to its greatest athletic success in history, with 17 individual medalists, including eight champions, at the recent Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, as well as 17 athletes winning 21 medals at Vancouver in 2010. He will continue as an advisor to the chairman, working specifically as a board member of the International Ski Federation, US Olympic Committee and 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, as well as supporting the USSA in a fundraising role.
The 6th Annual Ski Marathon & Tour is on for Sunday, March 16th. A point-to-point race and tour through the hills of Western Maine, the event will feature 3 distances, a 60K, 40K and 20K. The event features awards and prizes, aid stations along the course, and a post-race lunch for all participants, served at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, where each race concludes. Non-competitive (touring) participants also have the option to stop in for lunch at Poplar Hut for some blueberry soup, homemade bread and baked goods and hot drinks. The event’s website is www.mainehuts.org/ski-marathon.
Tahoe Donne’s first annual Taste of Truckee on-snow gourmet food and wine event will debut at the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center March 23. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and foodies alike, cross country skiers and snowshoers can work up an appetite by hitting the trails and then indulging in food samples from local restaurants along with a selection of wines. Beginners can rent skis or snowshoes at the Cross Country Ski Center and get a few free pointers from experienced instructors before heading out on the trail. Tickets can be purchased online at tahoedonner.com/shop or by calling the Cross Country Ski Center at 530-587-9484. A percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Tahoe Food Hub and to the Far West Nordic Ski Education Association.
After 42 years, Vasaloppet USA is moving the race from Sunday to Saturday. The date of the first Saturday race is February 7, 2015. The Vasaloppet Board of Directors at its annual meeting last May approved the race day change, but the announcement was delayed until after the the 2014 race to avoid any confusion. Race officials spent considerable time following the 2013 race survey skiers, community volunteers and local businesses on whether such a change would be positive for the race. The response was overwhelmingly in support of a Saturday race. “A Saturday race provides a number of benefits to skiers and volunteers alike,” said Vasaloppet USA president Mike Brown. “The biggest advantage is that it allows skiers and volunteers to have Sunday to rest up before returning to work or school on Monday. It also gives skiers the opportunity to spend more time socializing at the Vasaloppet celebration tent after the race, and enjoy other activities around Mora on Sunday.” The move to Saturday will mean the Miniloppet children’s race will be held on Sunday, the day after the race. Following the Miniloppet there will also be skijoring race events held by Skijor USA. Vasaloppet USA, established in 1973, is an international cross-country ski race located in Mora Minnesota. It is one of four Vasaloppet races in the world including: Sweden, United States, Japan, and China.
The 7th Equinox Snow Challenge will be held on March 22nd and 23rd at the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, Montana. Skiers and fatbike riders can enter as a relay team or as a soloist in 3 Hour, 6 Hour, 12, Hour or 24 Hour divisions. Fatbikes and skiers will have separate courses and share a start/finish area. This is a unique event highlighting participants pushing their limits and also enjoying beverages around a fire while cheering on the other teams. The Challenge includes a 24 Minute Kids Challenge, an annual highlight. The festivities include a potluck on Saturday evening and the requisite all night bonfire at the start/finish line. Complete details, race updates and online registration are available at www.equinoxsnowchallenge.com.
Camels Hump Nordic Skiers Association (CHNSA) announces a for now experimentally designated a dog-friendly ski loop, so you can exercise your four footed friends before returning them to your car while you explore the rest of the trails. The dog-friendly loop starts at the warming hut at the Bert White Road parking area, onto the Sugarbush trail, to Marijka’s Mainline, down Jackrabbit, across the Meadow, and back to parking lot via Skunk Brook. Dogs are asked for a $0.50 per paw ($2) donation each, and beseeched to stay on these designated trails only.
If you plan for a more adventurous way to strap on your cross-country skis this winter, the Canmore Ski Fest 2014 should appeal to the sport’s more hard-core participants. To be hosted in Canmore, Alberta, on April 5 and 6, the competition, in its fourth year, offers to race for 6-, 12- or 24-hours. Solo skiers and teams of two or four will ski on a three-kilometer loop through the Canmore Nordic Centre to see how far they can ski in this 6-,12- or 24-hours period. There’s even a world record up for grab if 24 hours solo female competitors can ski more than 333 km within 24 hours, while solo male racers should overcome 433km. For more information, go to canmoreskifest.com or email email@example.com
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has announced that its second annual Fat Bike Birkie on March 8, 2014, presented by Freewheel Bike, has been named the US National Fat Bike Championship race. Part of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series and the Wisconsin State Fat-Bike Race Series, the Fat Bike Birkie is the final race of the season and offers the opportunity for America’s top fat bike athletes to compete in the USNational Fat Bike Championship race. With distances of 47K or 20K the race offers a once-a-year chance to ride a fat bike on the American Birkebeiner Trail system. The race is capped at 500 participants, with registration available at www.birkie.com.