Tag Archive | "team"

WSI Clothing Brand Joins USASJ Family Of Sponsors

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June 27, 2013 (Park City, UT) – USA Ski Jumping national team athletes will be sporting a distinctive look and one that will help them train in comfort and style, thanks to a new partnership announced today by the USASJ’s Signe Jordet.

The Minneapolis-based manufacturer is one of the nation’s leading sports clothing suppliers. WSI products are sold across the nation and around the world and they feature a wide collection from protective garments for sport to leisurewear. WSI products utilize unique technologies, wicking fabrics, and cutting-edge designs that enhance the modern sports experience. They are known for their high tech performance apparel, particularly for cold weather applications.

In making the announcement Jordet noted that this partnership will enhance training opportunities. “Our athletes train hard, year-round, and in all kinds of weather and WSI’s special apparel line, designed just for us, will make sure that our jumpers are making that effort in both comfort and style. We are delighted to welcome WSI to our family of sponsors,” she said.

WSI President Joel Wiens also said that this partnership with the USASJ is the result of a new outreach in the Snow Sports category, offering….”This company started in 1990 on our kitchen table, with a three-thousand dollar investment and with a lot of ideas. We’ve grown considerably since that time and now many top professional and collegiate sports team wear our products. Now that we are entering the Snow Sports market in a big way, it seemed only natural to partner with a team that knows a lot about training and competing in both summer and winter. With summer ski jumping on plastic to competitions in Northern Scandinavia in December, our products will help our ski jumpers train in comfort and style.”

All WSI products proudly bare the “Made in the USA” label. A percentage of sales of all WSI/ USA Ski Jumping logoed gear will go to support the USASJ.

WSI products are available at fine retail stores around the country and on-line.  For more information and a complete look at the WSI line log onto www.wsisports.com.

Four US Ski Jumpers Begin Training in Europe

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June 24, 2013 (Park City, UT) – In a sure sign of the coming 2014 Olympic Winter Games season, members of the US National ski jumping team have arrived in Europe to begin their first international preparation period.

After leaving the US Sunday, the team comprised of Peter Frenette, Anders Johnson, Nick Alexander and Nick Fairall, will spend two weeks in Europe at the ski jumps of Stams, AUT and Kranj, SLO, they will be accompanied by USA Head Jumping Coach Clint Jones.

In an interview today Coach Jones told the USASJ News Bureau the camp was part of a very important season build up, noting…”We will be spending a lot of team with our new European-based coach Bine Norcic, which will be very exciting and we will be dealing with a host of issues like organizing rental vans for the season, training plans and locations, and gathering all the equipment from skis, to suits to bindings. We will be looking to test a lot of new equipment during the summer, and we will be looking to get some solid training with the many European teams who will also be in the area.”

Jones also stressed the importance of the US team to have close contact with the Europeans early in the summer, “so that they know exactly how high the level of competition is going into the summer training phase. This will help provide great motivation for our team, not only for the four athletes that are with us in Europe, but also those that they will be training with when they return.”

Talkin’ with the Gravy Train – Interview w/Chandra Crawford Part 2

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June 22, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – Talkin’ with the Gravy Train is pleased to present Part 2 of our interview with Canadian cross-country skiing star Chandra Crawford from Canmore, AB, of Olympic fame who is training on her own for the Sochi 2014 Games… listen to Part 1 HERE.

We caught up with Crawford in Canmore, AB… she was enthusiastic and happy and addressed such topics as her decision to take a step back from competition last February, how well her training is going, and her preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games next February.

Chandra also talks with eloquence about what it’s like to recharge the batteries after what she called a “solid burnout”, and how she has found the joy in skiing and training again. The Canmore, Alberta native also speaks about health and happiness in this inspired interview. At the end, one thing is certain…Crawford will be a force to be reckoned with this coming season.

Interview with Chandra Crawford – Part 2


Bine Norcic Named USASJ’s European Trainer

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June 07, 2013 (Park City, UT) – USA Ski Jumping is pleased to welcome well known Slovenia ski jumping trainer Bine Norcic to fill the new position of European based coach for the USASJ, serving with Head Coach Clint Jones.

Norcic, who grew up in Kranj, SLO, graduated from the University of Ljubljana in 2010 with a degree as a Professor of Physical Education and has served as coach for the National Jumping Team of Turkey from 2007-2013.

He has also served as a personal coach for ski jumping star Jernej Damjan of Sloveian and has been the Slovenian National B Team coach working with Ari Pekka Nikkola. He was also part of the Slovenian National Team as a ski jumper from 1992-2004, where he won a Continental Cup three times. He is the son of the legendary late coach Bogdan Norcic.

“We really conducted a world-wide search to fill this opening, and we have found a great fit for this position with Bine”, said USASJ Athletic Director Alan Johnson, “he has a terrific combination of skills, including hands-on coaching working with elite athletes, strong technical abilities and a complete understanding of the nature of World Cup and international competition. Bine will be a great addition to our staff and his expertise will allow us to keep offering our athletes the best possible coaching, which will help us to continue to make forward progress. We couldn’t be more excited that he agreed to join our program.”

Bine Norcic explained today from his home that he is very excited to accept this position with the growing USA program saying, “I’ll put all of my efforts and share my 10 years of coaching experience with a group of young, talented jumpers who have the support of an enthusiastic team, and they have what it takes for all around success. It must be said that working with Team USA is probably the greatest challenge and honor that any international coach could have.”

Norcic will begin his duties with USA Ski Jumping immediately.

Olympic Day with Olympian Andy Newell – June 23

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June 05, 2013 (Bennington, Vermont) – Olympic Day with Olympian Andy Newell, presented by The Bank of Bennington, is a celebration and international effort to promote fitness and well-being in addition to Olympic ideals of Fair Play, Perseverance, Respect and Sportsmanship.

When: June 23, 2013,  9-11:30 AM

Where: Willow Park – lower Pavilion

Event Details:
– Ages 15 and under
– Enjoy games and fun Olympic style events
– Create your own Olympic medals
– Photo signing with local Olympian Andy Newell
– Come any time between 9-11:30am






Cross Country Canada’s Inside Edge Episode 8 – 2013-14 Early Season Testing

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May 31, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – We are excited to bring you Cross Country Canada’s “Inside Edge” video series. With action, interviews, strategy and much more, Inside Edge gives you unprecedented access to our National Ski Team as it takes on the world’s best.

In this eighth episode of The Inside Edge, we take an inside look into Senior World Cup Team early season testing on the roller ski treadmill. Athletes Devon Kershaw, Perianne Jones, Ivan Babikov and Len Valjas talk about their goals for the season ahead.

Thanks to our partners at Twin Zebra Productions. More episodes coming soon! To view Episodes 1-8 click HERE.

The Inside Edge Episode 8: 2013-14 Early Season Testing

NNF and CXC Academy Announce Partnership

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May 30, 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT) – The National Nordic Foundation, America’s grassroots Nordic foundation, and CXC Academy, an online training subscription service are partnering up for the 2013/14 season. CXC Academy will be contributing 50% of new annual training subscription to the National Nordic Foundation for the coming season.

We at the NNF are so thankful for programs like the CXC Academy who are stepping forward to support the NNF in its quest to provide opportunities and support to our developing American Nordic skiers.

This is a great opportunity for skiers of all abilities to get back to training with a focus for the 2013/14 ski season and at the same time support America’s developing Cross-Country and Nordic Combined skiers.

The National Nordic Foundation (NNF) is a grassroots, 501(c)3 organization that supports our developing American Cross-Country and Nordic Combined skiers. This past season through the support of our American Nordic community the NNF was able to support 69 athletes with European racing opportunities in addition to domestic training camps and competitions.

CXC Academy is a program of Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC Skiing) and online subscription service that provides professional training plans and instructional videos for cross country skiers of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a beginner skier looking to finish your first 5K, a Master skier training for a big ski event, or simply looking to improve your overall strength and fitness, we have a training program to meet your goals.

For more about these organizations go to:

Sargent Report – Kauai in Pictures

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May 10, 2013 – Growing up, the Sargent family vacations were backpacking, skiing, or camping trips, which always involved packed itineraries, cold climates, paddling around another lake, or summiting one more mountain.  I was forever envious of my friends who traveled to Florida and just sat on the beach.  This year, since I didn’t need to rush back to school as soon as the ski season finished, my big sister Elsa and I decided to go on a tropical vacation together.  We chose the Hawaiian Island of Kauai… Read more and see lots of pics HERE.

APUNSC Spring Celebration – May 10

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April 08, 2013 – APU Nordic is hosting a celebration of the 2012-13 season this sprint. Please join us on Friday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the APU Atwood Building to celebrate the squad’s successes, including the crowning of the first American World Champion, winning the World Cup Sprint Crystal Globe, numerous podiums at U.S. Nationals, and more!

Hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks will be provided. Plus, participate in live and silent auctions!

Please RSVP to Calisa Kastning ckastning@alaskapacific.edu by Friday April 26th

Bjornsen Blog – Val di Fiemme Wrap

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March 08, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – I am just finishing up my week of Championships here in Val di Fiemme… looking back on all the great moments. At the same time, I am going through the process of reviewing my week and thinking about all the things that went very well, and the things to improve for next time. I must say, I didn’t have quite the Championships that I was hoping for, but in other ways- things were also very positive.

As a ski racer you can never look at anything as a failure. If you did, you wouldn’t make it very far beyond one year of racing on the World Cup- because this process is not very forgiving. The difference between an average day and an overly excellent day could be .15 seconds… one size larger boot. Or the difference between putting one too many layers of kick wax on your ski, or simply the difference between finding one more gear of energy for the last climb of the course. It is all so small, yet so important. So even though my two individual start races were less than my best, there were some very encouraging parts at the same time!

So in honor of moving forward in a positive manner; here are a few of the things about Val di Fiemme that I won’t be forgetting.

1. Fans! After having my first World Championships in Oslo, my standards of World Championships fans was set sort of high. To my surprise though, these Italian fans lived up to the challenge. Maybe 70% of them traveled all the way from Norway… but regardless they were out there in full force. It was also special to have so many US fans as well. World Masters took place somewhere near here, so there was an extra bunch of familiar voices and faces out there that made it special!

2. Hills- Holy hills! This venue knows how to test your fitness, test your mental strength, and test your hill climbing. I remember many of my teammates warning me of this after they raced the final stages of the tour here last year… but I didn’t experience the full feeling of it until racing. It was fun to test my hill climbing skills though.

3. Wax Crew- This week has been one of the most challenging weeks for waxing yet. With temperatures hanging around zero, and constantly changing… things get tricky and tough. The techs have been incredible at working hard and moving forward. The important thing to remember is just like an athlete, tech teams have tough days as well. Even if they are putting 100%, there will always be challenging days. So thanks techs for working your butts off and always staying positive.

4. Records- While the week started off with much less than our best, the following days were filled with records, bests, firsts and everything else. Kikkan and Jessie set the mood with winning the team sprint for US Nordics FIRST World Championship Gold. That was one of my more emotional moments of being a ski racer. As I watched the girls ski their hearts out and cross the line first, emotion struck. As tears rolled down the faces of all the US group… I may have spotted a tear rolling down the Norwegian coaches face too. Finally, US is a force to recon with. Over the years as Kikkan has set an example of believing that we can compete, the rest of our team has started following along!

5. Sunshine- It is hard to not absolutely love every second of the day when you are out ski racing hard in the sun. Black suits sometimes make that experience a little more miserable than it should… but for the most part, the sunshine always brings out the best in us! If there is one thing you can count on in Italia, that is sun!

6. Team Spirit- The team “spirit” has been great throughout the week. The success of the team just spreads through our group. I think this is one of the things that is bringing us to a higher level as a team. Because one person’s success is contagious, it helps us all believe!

7. Relay- Yesterday I got to participate in my first World Cup 4×5 relay. Since being a young girl, relay racing has always been my favorite. There is something about the different pressure, and your collective effort… it just gets me in a new level of energy… as with all the US ladies. Aside from being fun, the US Team managed to finish our best result ever in history. Although we were just off the podium, we were extremely stoked with a 4th place finish. This was a huge improvement from our last World Championship finish in 9th. With our goals set on a medal of course, we came away proud and pleased that we had reached 4th place! Everyone skied their hearts out, and our goal is certainly attainable in the near Olympic future!

All of these things have made this Championship week incredible and memorable. With two more races to go, the 30 and 50k, we will be back on World Cup soon. Next weekend we will be racing a 10k Classic and Team Sprint, so some more exciting racing in the near future!

Let’s say that the scene was the most beautiful and the American athlete of the relay this morning (yesterday, ed), shooting as he undressed. Sadie Bjørnsen has affected all of us photographers, the femininity and grace of gesture, of usual when it comes to the masculinity of athletes.

Thanks everyone for the cheers and nice emails this week. I really appreciate it!! A few more days here, and then off to Scandinavia!

Craftsbury GRP Ski Program Accepting Applications for 2013/14

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February 28, 2013 (Craftsbury, VT) – The Craftsbury Green Racing Project (GRP) is now accepting applications for the 2013-14 training year. Space will be limited, but we hope to be able to add a few new members to the team. Applications will be due by April 1 and decisions will be made by April 15 at the latest.

The Craftsbury Green Racing Project is enjoying another successful year, with one member on the USST, several others who got World Cup starts, two members on the USBA World Cup squad, an USST U23 team member, several top-10s at Nationals, SuperTour podiums, and the Eastern Cup overall women’s winner to name a few highlights of the year thus far.
The GRP is a program of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is:
1) to support and promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports with a special focus on rowing, running and nordic skiing;
2) to use and teach sustainable practices; and
3) to protect and manage the surrounding land, lake and trails.

In exchange for coaching, travel support, room & board, GRP skiers are asked to take on projects that contribute to work of the Center. GRP projects in the past have included: ski trail mapping and improvements, construction of single-track trails, coaching of youth and junior skiers, outreach to area schools, growing vegetables for the Dining Hall, designing and building a compost system for the Center, construction of a stone/brick pizza and bread oven, organization of events and programs at the Center, design of the GRP website and clothing, blogging and writing articles, helping develop a regional trail system, and working to bring more local food into the Center’s Dining Hall.

If this sounds like work you would enjoy, while taking your skiing to the next level, then you may be a good fit for the GRP. You can read more about the team at their website: www.greenracingproject.com. The application is available here, and you will find FAQs here. Any remaining questions may be addressed to skiing@craftsbury.com.

Athletes applying, or thinking of applying are encouraged to talk to coach Pepa Miloucheva at one of the late season ski races, contact her at the skiing@craftsbury.com address, or call 802-586-7767 ext 33.

XC Oregon Team Applications Open For 2013/14 Ski Year

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February 20, 2013 (Bend, OR) – The XC Oregon Elite Development Team has opened applications for new additions to our funded roster for the 2013/14 ski year. On the heels of a highly-successful fundraising campaign, beginning Spring/Summer 2013 XC Oregon is looking to add several new funded-level athletes with sights set on elite competition ranging from the domestic elite calendar, World Cup/Olympic pipeline events, European Cups, Worldloppet races, and/or other major marathons worldwide.

One of the longest-running elite development club programs in North America, next year XC Oregon enters our 16th year. During the past 15 years XC Oregon has produced Olympians, National Champions, World Cup qualifiers, Super Tour winners and athletes who have been on the podium in almost every major event in the U.S. We pride ourselves on offering an athlete-centered program featuring a very adaptable design structure with an outstanding tradition of community outreach.

XC Oregon serves athletes 20 and older with a range of direct and indirect financial support for elite level training/racing, year-round coaching/management, training partners, community network, and world-class sports science support. Funding levels vary per athlete based on demonstrated results, future athletic potential, need, and overall life+sport plans.

Although most funded XC Oregon athletes will live in Bend, Oregon (a location that speaks for itself in terms of North America’s longest accessible ski season, dryland training/event options, economic opportunities, ease-of-access, and vibrant lifestyle) — our program’s flexible design allows athletes to base anywhere in the state.

Based on our long track record supporting US elite skiers, we realize the move to a new location to continue a racing career can be intimidating for both recent college graduates and seasoned elite veterans alike. Having familiar teammates of either gender can be a good resource to aid in the transition process. Thus we welcome applications that involve a “package” of 2 or more athletes applying at the same time regardless of potential funding levels.

Interested athletes that are not U.S. citizens are welcome within the XC Oregon structure provided you have USA residency status for a substantial part of the 2013/14 ski year. Athletes that view themselves as fitting our very open Associate criteria are also welcome to contact the program at any time year-round with a much less formal evaluation process required.

The XC Oregon application process as well as complete information about our program is available at www.xcoregon.org (see “Joining Us” and “About Us” tabs) at this time.

The 2013/14 application process will remain open as late as Fall 2013, but support schedules are subject to change for applications received after April 15, 2013. Given a limited number of funded elite openings, we recommend serious candidates apply as early as possible.

For more information about XC Oregon, please contact Coach/Director J.D. Downing at jd@xcoregon.org or 541-317-0217. Also feel free to contact any of our over 100 past or present XC Oregon Athletes worldwide for recommendations on how our program can benefit your ski racing career.

Watch Canada’s Jones and Gaiazova Score Women’s 4×1.25km CL Sprint Bronze at Sochi WCup

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February 06, 2013 – Check out this great video of the FIS women’s 4×1.25km team classic sprint in Sochi, where Canada’s Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova snapped up a thrilling bronze medal with an incredible surge in the final leg.

NBC and Universal Sports to Broadcast IBU Biathlon World Championships – Feb. 9-12

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February 06, 2013 (Nove Mesto, CZE)  – To commemorate tomorrow’s one year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia and to kick-off its Road to Sochi campaign, the United States Olympic Committee, in partnership with NBC Sports and the U.S. Biathlon Association, will air two hours of same-day coverage of the 2013 IBU World Championships from Nove Mesto on the NBC Sports Network Feb 9 and 10 at 6 PM EST.  Universal Sports will air additional coverage of the opening weekend on Feb. 11 and 12 at 7 PM EST.

“Same day coverage of the IBU Biathlon World Championships on the NBC Sports Network is a profound step forward for biathlon in America,” said Max Cobb, US Biathlon President & CEO. “Biathlon has long been Europe’s most watched winter sport and now Americans will get a chance to enjoy the great drama and excitement that is biathlon.  It is a wonderful one year to go preview of the 2014 Olympics.”

Veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger, who provided commentary for the London 2012 Olympic Games and has experience in nearly 30 sports over his 15-year career, will work with biathlon expert Chad Salmela who will serve as the program’s analyst. Salmela, a biathlon coach and former competitor, was NBC’s biathlon commentator during the Torino and  Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

“The Road to Sochi is about sharing our athletes’ journeys to the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and with just one year until the Games, we are thrilled to bring Olympic winter sport competition into living rooms across the country,” said USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird. “America’s athletes are incredibly inspiring, determined and talented, and these Road to Sochi telecasts will help introduce their stories and their sports to the American public ahead of the Games.”

NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports “Road to Sochi” 2013 IBU Biathlon World Championship Schedule

Date NBC Sports Network Universal Sports
Saturday, Feb. 9 Men’s sprint: 6-7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb 10 Men’s pursuit 6-7 p.m.
Monday, Feb 11 Women’s sprint: 7-8 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb 12 Women’s pursuit 7-8 p.m.

Team USA Arrives in Nove Mesto for 2013 IBU World Championships 

Team USA has arrived in Nove Mesto, CZE in preparation for the start of the 2013 IBU World Championships, which kick-off Thursday with the Mixed Relay. The women start the relay each skiing a 6-kilometer relay leg then tag off to the men who each ski 7.5-kilometer legs.  The Mixed Relay has been added to the Olympic biathlon program for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Team USA remained in Antholz, Italy for a two-week training camp to prepare for World Championships following the World Cup held there. “Everybody is healthy and in a very good mood,” said US Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. “We had a great camp in Antholz the last two weeks and the athletes are ready to go.”
The Team USA roster for the 2013 IBU World Championships is listed below:
– Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) Two-time Olympian (2006, 2010)
– Tim Burke (Paul Smits, NY)
 Two-time Olympian (2006, 2010)
– Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME)
– Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN)
– Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY)
World Championship debut
– Hannah Dreissigacker ( Morrisville, VT)
World Championship debut
– Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT)
– Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) 2010 Olympian

2013 IBU World Championship Schedule
(all times CET, +6 hours ahead of EST)
Livestream webcast of all races will be available here

 Date Start time Distance Discipline Category
07.02. 17:30 2×6+2×7.5 km Relay Mixed Start List / Results
09.02. 13:00 10 km Sprint Men Start List / Results
09.02. 16:15 7.5 km Sprint Women Start List / Results
10.02. 13:00 12.5 km Pursuit Men Start List / Results
10.02. 16:15 10 km Pursuit Women Start List / Results
13.02. 17:15 15 km Individual Women Start List / Results
14.02. 17:15 20 km Individual Men Start List / Results
15.02. 17:15 4×6 km Relay Women Start List / Results
16.02. 15:15 4×7.5 km Relay Men Start List / Results
17.02. 12:00 12.5 km Mass Start Women Start List / Results
17.02. 15:00 15 km Mass Start Men Start List / Results

Interviews w/Canada’s Gaiazova and Jones on Their Podium at Women’s CL Team Sprint in Sochi + Video

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February 04, 2013 (Sochi, Russia) – SkiTrax caught up with Canadian Ski Team members Dasha Gaiazova and Perianne Jones after their bronze medal women’s team sprint effort in Sochi. It was a thrilling finish to the women’s 6×1.25km Classic Team Sprint as Gaiazova started the final leg in fourth, then stormed on to pass the USA’s Sadie Bjornsen in third, and then chased down Russia’s Natalia Matveeva to barely miss out on silver in a photo finish. Check out what the ladies had to say about their race.

Perianne Jones


Dasha Gaiazova


FIS video HERE.

USA Men’s Nordic Combined Team 7th in Relay as Germany Scores Victory in Russia

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February 04, 2013 (Krasnaya Polyana, Russia) – The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup wrapped up Sunday as the final test of the RusSki Gorki jumping complex prior to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The USA was seventh in the 4x5k team event with Germany taking the win. Skiing second, Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) posted the fastest cross country time on his leg. The U.S. Ski Team will skip next weekend’s World Cup in Kazhakstan to prepare for the upcoming World Championships.

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) had the fastest second leg of the 4x5k team event as the USA finished seventh behind Germany.

The U.S was eighth in the jump with Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) getting the long ride at 128.5. The USA started 55 seconds behind Germany in cross country.

Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) led off moving up a spot to seventh, with brother Taylor then bumping it up to fifth. Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) ran third with Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) anchoring the relay to seventh.

It was the final test for nordic combined on the RusSki Gorki complex where both the jumping and cross country shared the same venue. Athletes skied a serpentine course through the outrun of the jump and out onto a cross country trail network built into the hillside.

After days of clouds and heavy snow at times, the sun broke through for a clear sky day in Krasnaya Polyana, 45 minutes outside Sochi.

The U.S. Ski Team will take a break from the World Cup to prepare for the upcoming World Championships.

Billy Demong:
Team USA stepped up its game today. We were right in the hunt with about eight other teams that were very very close together throughout the whole race. We were close enough to know how close we really are. In our Worlds preparation, that’s really important and obviously also for next year’s Olympics. Today the weather broke. We were under bright sunny skies. The jumps are situated within a magnificent mountain backdrop. We are starting to see the venue and the valley take shape where next year I think Sochi will not only be ready for the Olympic Games but also will have put on the final window dressing on and made it to a point where the world will get a snapshot of Russia that will define what a lot of people think about Russia for the coming years.

What I took away from the weekend was that the most important things for me were not only getting comfortable with this place, but also with the competition venues and mostly where I am and where I need to be a year from now.

Results HERE.

USA’s Hendrickson Third in Sapporo as Austria’s Seifriedsberger Wins First Ski Jumping WCup

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February 04, 2013 (Sapporo, Japan) – Park City’s Sarah Hendrickson was 3rd and 7th in a pair of tough and windy competitions in Sapporo this weekend, boosting her to second place overall on the World Cup.

Hours before Sunday’s event, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rattled the northern Japanese island of Hakkaido, the epicenter of which was about 120 miles east of Sapporo. There were no reports of damage, though it made for an interesting start to Sunday’s competition.

Hendrickson endured multiple gate change delays to finish on the podium in 3rd place with jumps of 93.5 and 87.5 meters. U.S. teammates Lindsey Van clinched 8th with jumps of 91 and 87 meters, Jessica Jerome was a strong 15th with jumps of 87 and 90.5 meters, and Abby Hughes was 29th with jumps of 80 and 78 meters. Austria’s Jacqueline Seifriedsberger claimed her first World Cup victory and Norway’s Anette Sagen had a huge leap of 99 meters in her second round to take 2nd.

“It was typical weather for this area and made the comp very difficult,” said Van. “You never know what kind of wind you are going to get, so it is like a lotto game. I enjoy the randomness most of the time, though. It is an outdoor sport and is always fun.”

Saturday’s event ended after the first round of jumping due to high and irregular winds, leaving Hendrickson in 7th, Jerome in 10th, Van 28th and Hughes 34th. France’s Coline Mattel was 1st over Seifriedsberger and Sagen.

Home country favorite and current World Cup leader Sara Takanashi, 16, finished 12th on Saturday and 5th on Sunday.

World Cup competition continues Feb. 9-10 in Zao, Japan.

Results at www.fisskijumping.com

Canadian Men 7th, Women 10th in Relays at IBU Junior Biathlon World Championships – Photos

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February 01, 2013 (Obertilliach, Austria) – The Canadian squad finished an impressive 7th in the Junior men’s 4×7.5km relay at the IBU Youth and Junior Biathlon World Championships in Obertilliach, Austria, while their women’s teammates placed 10th in the Junior momen’s 3x6km event.

The Norwegian men’s squad took the top spot in a time of 1:18:33.2 with a total of 13 shooting penalties. The second place French team shot much cleaner with only six penalties, but they had to settle for silver at only 14s back from the leaders. Team Russia grabbed the bronze with 16 penalties and trailed by 50s.

The Canadians, Menno Arendz, Christian Gow, Jasper Mackenzie, and Macx Davies, amassed nine penalties and finished 4:55.2 behind.

In the Junior women’s race, the Germans were in a league of their own, acquiring only one penalty to finish in a time of 52:39.4, a whopping 2:03.4 ahead of second place, Ukraine, with eight shooting penalties. The Russians finished third with 11 penalties and a 2:24.8 deficit.

The Canadian team of Rose-Marie Cote, Julia Ransom, and Emma Lodge were 3:52.1 behind with 10 penalties. No Americans completed in either relay.

Junior men HERE.
Junior women HERE.

Canadian Tire Supports Canada’s Paralympians

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January 24, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased to announce that Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) is now going for gold as a multi-year Premier partner supporting Paralympic athletes across Canada, through to 2016.

“Canadian Tire is an iconic brand and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Canadian Paralympic family,” said David Legg, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

“Not only will Canadian Tire’s investment in high performance sport help our athletes achieve excellence at the Paralympic Games, it will also help us foster the next generation of Canadian athletes through their support of our grassroots funding programs, helping make the benefits of sport accessible to more Canadians.”

As part of this partnership, the CPC will work with CTC to increase opportunities for Canadians with a disability to participate in organized sport and active living.

“At Canadian Tire, we believe in the power of sport to inspire greatness and change the lives of all Canadians,” said Duncan Fulton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and Chief Marketing Officer, FGL Sports, Ltd. “From playground to podium, we will play a role in helping Canadian families and amateur athletes succeed and are pleased to work with the Canadian Paralympic Committee in communities across Canada to promote participation in sport and active living.”

Benoit Huot and Summer Mortimer, multiple gold medallist swimmers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were onsite for the announcement of the partnership, which will continue through the next two Paralympic Games – Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

“To achieve greatness requires commitment and Canadian Tire has shown its commitment in spades here today, to Paralympians and to the country itself, by helping ensure Canada’s strong and vibrant sporting heritage,” said Huot, a 19-time Paralympic medalist and Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Mortimer, who won four swimming medals in London, added: “It is thanks to the investment by corporate partners such as Canadian Tire that I can maintain my focus and ensure I am properly prepared to represent Canada on the world stage with my teammates at the next Paralympic Games in Rio.”

In addition to its agreement with the CPC, CTC also confirmed new and expanded partnership agreements with the Canadian Soccer Association, Skate Canada, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada Alpin, Canada Snowboard, all designed to inspire Canadians and encourage lifelong healthy and active living through the ‘power of sport.’

CTC and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities also plan to work with Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Foundation to help more kids get in the game.

US Biathlon Announces 2013 World Championship Roster

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January 21, 2013 (New Gloucester, ME) – US Biathlon‘s  International Competition Committee is pleased to announce the 2013 World Championships Team.  Team USA will travel to Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for the IBU World Championships Biathlon, which opens with the mixed relay on February 7th.  A complete event schedule and links to the 2013 World Championships can be found HERE. Congratulations, and good luck Team USA.

2013 US Biathlon World Championships Team

– Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY)
– Tim Burke (Paul Smits, NY)
– Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME)
– Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN)

– Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY)
– Hannah Dreissigacker ( Morrisville, VT)
– Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT)
– Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID)

2013 IBU World Championships Biathlon, Nove Mesto, CZE
– 07 Feb – 11:30 – Mixed 2×6+2×7.5 km Relay
– 09 Feb – 07:00 – Men 10 km Sprint
– 09 Feb – 10:15 – Women 7.5 km Sprint
– 10 Feb – 07:00 – Men 12.5 km Pursuit
– 10 Feb – 10:15 – Women 10 km Pursuit
– 13 Feb – 11:15 – Women 15 km Individual
– 14 Feb – 11:15 – Men 20 km Individual
– 15 Feb – 11:15 – Women 4×6 km Relay
– 16 Feb – 09:15 – Men 4×7.5 km Relay
– 17 Feb – 06:00 – Women 12.5 km Mass Start
– 17 Feb – 09:00 – Men 15 km Mass Start

Women’s Ski Jumping USA Announces New Leadership Team

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January 17, 2013 (Park City, UT) – Women’s Ski Jumping USA has named Robbie Beck as the foundation’s Executive Director and Jenny Holden as Athletic Program Director. Beck and Holden, both of Park City, Utah, will support the top-ranked VISA Women’s Ski Jumping Team as they prepare for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and beyond.

Beck will provide overall leadership to WSJ-USA with a focus on marketing, fundraising, and strategic planning.

“Robbie’s Olympic experience is immeasurable and Jenny’s team leadership has been a game changer for us,” said WSJ-USA President Deedee Corradini. “We’re thrilled about this new leadership team as they help this foundation continue to grow and support these great women ski jumpers.”

Beck served as the Summit County Olympic Coordinator leading up to, and during, the Salt Lake 2002 Games. She consulted for the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) on general fundraising and marketing efforts as well as Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup events. Beck’s most recent role has been as the Business Development Director for the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation.

“This is an exhilarating time and I’m proud to work with Jenny and the coaching staff to help these women excel and reach their Olympic dreams,” Beck said. “This team truly is a product of Utah’s 2002 Olympic Winter Games Legacy.”

Holden filled both the Executive Director and Team Director roles for WSJ-USA for more than two years as the foundation evolved into a world-class program producing the 2012 World Cup champion (Sarah Hendrickson) and 2012 Overall Nations Cup title. Corradini said Holden now will be able to focus solely on team and development programs, strategic planning, and helping to maintain the high level of performance of current athletes and assist aspiring female ski jumpers across the country.

“We have received incredible support from individuals, families, and businesses,” Holden said. “That generosity has allowed us to develop one of the strongest teams in the world. Robbie and I are excited to build on this momentum to become even stronger.”

Women ski jumpers will make their Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012/13 Contest Final Standings and Winners after Stage 7 in Val di Fiemme

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January 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are excited to announce the final SkiTrax FIS Tour de Ski 2012/13 Fantasy Contest standings after stage 7 in Val di Fiemme, Italy. In another dramatic turn of events, the top three spots changed completely, with Team Fratuzzi TdS leaping to the top of the standings with a total of 1,019 points. Team Powered by Biscuits secured second place with 1,002 points, followed by Team Kostroma Russia in third with 996 points.

Stage 7 saw the USA’s Liz Stephen score her second podium of the season with the second fastest time up Alpe Cermis, behind climbing star Therese Johaug (NOR), while Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) took home the overall TdS victory – read more here. On the men’s side, Ivan Babikov pulled through for Team Canada, claiming the second fastest time on the stage for yet another Canuck podium and his best-ever overall Tour result in 7th. The final stage up Cermis was won by Sweden’s Marcus Hellner and the overall men’s title was claimed for the first time by Russia’s Alexander Legkov – read more here.

For the contest standings after Stage 7 in Val di Fiemme click HERE.

As we wrap up the SkiTrax FIS Tour de Ski 2012/13 Fantasy Contest, we’d like to congratulate the winners, thank all of our contestants, and once again thank all of our great sponsors, including Mont Ste-Anne, Alpina, One Way, Marwe, Halti, 2XU, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, CCC, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012/13 Contest Winners

 – Fratuzzi TdS – Anton Burmelev – Minsk, Belarus
1st Prize
Mont Ste-Anne – 2 nights lodging w/breakfast + 3-day XC gift certificate, tune-up (value $800)

– Powered by Biscuits – Jacob Scheckman – Minneapolis, MN
2nd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)

– Team Kostroma Russia – Alexander Orlov – Kostroma, Russia
3rd Prize
One Way Premio Ski Poles (value $400)

– fleur – Simone Berrod – Fleurie, France
4th Prize
Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)

– karukoobas – Rain Kuldjari – Harjumaa, Estonia
5th Prize
Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– Maffe – Marius Urstad – Rogaland, Norway
6th Prize
2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– mlynek – Pawel Mlynski – Warsaw, Poland
7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)

– birks ski – Birgit Hanilane – Paulvamaa, Estonia
8th Prize – Two free CCC Inside Track Rewards Cards plus a $50 Gift Card to the CCC e-store (value $100)

– AndreFTW – Andre Marchand – Masham, QC
9th Prize
Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– RK Ski Team – Siim Sarapu – Virumaa, Estonia
10th Prize Buff Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Interviews w/Canada’s Gaiazova and Valjas after Liberec WCup Sprints

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January 14, 2013 (Liberec, Czech Republic) – Check out these audio interviews with Canada’s Dash Gaiazova and Len Valjas following the Liberec World Cup sprints on the weekend. Gaiazova had a stellar day on the 1.3 CL course, finishing just off the podium in fourth. In the team sprint, Gaiazova and Perianne Jones finished 11th. Gaiazova is coming off of recent podium finishes on the OPA Cup circuit.

Valjas was the top Canadian man of the day in Liberac’s 1.6 CL event in 10th place. It was the rangy Canadian’s first race back after the grueling Tour de Ski during which he delivered the country’s first World Cup medal of the season.



Canadian Para-Nordic Athletes Rack Up Five Medals at IPC World Cup in Wisconsin

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January 14, 2013 (Cable, WI) – Canada’s Para-Nordic squad teamed up to win five medals – one gold, three silver and one bronze – in middle distance cross-country ski races at the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wisconsin on Sunday.

Mark Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., skied to his second-ever cross-country ski medal, winning the silver in the 10-kilometre skate-ski race in the men’s standing division. The 22-year-old Arendz, who has finished second overall in biathlon on the IPC World Cup standings the last two years clocked a time of 25:08.9.

“I’m very happy with the race. A lot of things were right where I want them, with my speed and fitness,” said Arendz, who now has 17 IPC World Cup medals in his career. “I was having a great race and knew I was on the podium, but it never sunk in until after the race that I was on track for a best-ever cross-country race. It shows that I’m in solid shape for the biathlon races later in the week.

Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset won the division with a time of 24:07.9.

Brian McKeever and guide Erik Carleton, both of Canmore, Alta., teamed up to win the lone gold medal of the day. A winner of 10 Paralympic medals, the 33-year-old McKeever set the time to beat at 24:03.0 in the men’s 10-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race.

The path to the podium continued to roll in the women’s races as Canada’s legendary Colette Bourgonje powered her way to the silver medal in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski division. The six-time Paralympian from Saskatoon, who has skied on the national team for the last 20 years, clocked a time of 14:29.0.

Germany’s Anja Wicker won the women’s sit-ski race with a time of 14:17.0.

Canada also grabbed the silver and bronze medal positions on the women’s visually impaired podium. Robbi Weldon, of Thunder Bay, Ont. clocked a second-place time of 15:38.0 in the five-kilometre skate-ski race. Ontario’s Margarita Gorbounova and her guide, Andrea Bundon, celebrated the bronze with a time of 16:17.0.

The Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team is using the Wisconsin event to start qualifying athletes, in particular development athletes, for the 2014 Paralympics. Five of the eight development-level athletes to hit the start line on Sunday met the IPC Paralympic qualifying standard.

The IPC World Cup continues on Monday in Cable, Wisconsin.

Results HERE.

Utah’s Miles Havlick Wins 10-km Classical Race at CU Invite

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January 14, 2013 (Steamboat Springs, CO) – Senior Miles Havlick recorded his seventh career victory in the 10-km Classical at the CU/Spencer Nelson Invitational on Sunday in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

The Utes ended up fourth in the team standings with 723 points, which trailed third-place New Mexico by 18.5 points. Host Colorado came away with the meet title with 878 points. Utah put up a meet-high 124 points in the men’s 10-km classical race on Sunday with a pair of Utes in the top three and three in the top 10.

Havlick turned in his second straight podium finish to start this season and he has finished third or better 21 times during his career as a Ute. The Boulder, Colo., native won the race by more than 10 seconds.

“Today, our team really demonstrated the grit and determination that make us so strong,” Havlick said. “When it’s -3F at the start of the race and there are smiles all around, you know it is going to be a great day.

“I want to dedicate my race today to my former teammate Charlie Smith, who finished on the podium at the NCAA Championships in the 15-km classical on this same course in 2010. He passed away over the holidays, but continues to be an inspiration to us all and constantly in our thoughts.”

In his first year at Utah, senior Einar Ulsund turned in his first top-three effort with a third-place finish. Ulsund, a Trondheim, Norway native, finished fourth yesterday in the 20-km freestyle to cap an impressive debut weekend.

Noe Bellet and Tucker McCrerey finished 10th and 11th, respectively. Bellet rounded out Utah’s scoring as its third finisher with his second consecutive 10th-place finish to start the 2013 season. Freshman Niklas Persson rounded out the Ute effort on the day with a 16th-place finish.

On the women’s side in the 5-km Classical race, the Utes ranked second in the meet with 107 points as a pair of Utes finished among the top eight.

Senior Rose Kemp registered a third-place finish for her second straight top-10 effort to start this season. The Boise, Idaho native has now finished third or better three times over her Ute career.

Freshman Sloan Storey turned in the first top-10 finish of her career with an eighth-place effort after coming in 12th in yesterday’s 15-km Freestyle event.

Senior Parker Tyler was Utah’s third scorer with a 13th-place finish for her 18th career top-20 finish as a Ute. Marta Larsen completed Utah’s effort with a 28th-place finish.

The Ute Alpine squad concluded its races for the Denver Invitational in Winter Park, Colo., on Sunday. Heading into next weekend’s Nordic events, Utah stands in fourth place with 376 points, which is just eight points shy of third-place New Mexico. Host Denver leads the way with 457 points halfway through the meet.

“Congratulations to the whole team for their effort this whole weekend,” Utah Head Alpine coach Jaka Korencan said. “We could not be more proud of this small group of athletes. We scored a lot of great results for NCAA qualification and performed well as a team at the same time. Unfortunately, Tim [Hribar] was not able to help us because he suffered a knee injury last weekend in Eldora. We all just hope he can return in Loveland in a couple of weeks.”

In the ladies’ slalom race, a pair of newcomers led the way for the Utes. Sophomore Ana Kobal turned in a fourth-place effort for her second top-five effort of the young season and the fourth top-10 performance.

“I am really impressed with our small women’s team performing so consistently and glad that I can do my part,” Kobal said. “I’m still not completely satisfied with my own performance. I know I can be much faster, but now I’m just looking forward to some rest and training.”

Kobal’s classmate, Kristiina Rove followed in fifth place as the Utes’ second competitor among the top 10. Rove, an Espoo, Finland native, has been among the top 10 four times already in 2013. Junior Jaime DuPratt capped Utah’s performance with a 26th-place finish.

“Our women’s team again had a very solid performance today in the slalom,” Korencan said. “To compete with just three women and have them all strong and safe in the finish is just a great accomplishment. They did an awesome job.”

Utah’s performance in the men’s slalom was highlighted by freshman Andy Trow and junior Jeremy Elliot, who took 10th and 11th place, respectively. Trow has already finished in the top 10 three times in 2013. Senior Ryan Wilson placed 24th, while Eian Sandvik was disqualified during his second run.

“The highlight of today was Jeremy, who had won the second run and proved to himself and his teammates that he can really ski slalom,” Korencan said. “I am just so excited for Jeremy to finally show what he has been doing in training in a race. Andy had a great day as well and finished strong. Unfortunately, Ryan and Eian made a few mistakes today, but I know they will return strong in Loveland.”

The Utah Nordic team completes the Denver Invitational next weekend at Minturn, Colo. The 5/10-km Freestyle will be held next Saturday and the 10/15-km Classical race will be ran on Sunday.

CU/Spencer Nelson Invitational Results HERE.
DU Invitational Results HERE.

Seventh for USA’s Fletcher Duo in Nordic Combined Chaux-Neuve WCup

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January 14, 2013 (Chaux-Neuve, France) – Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) paired up to finish seventh in a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup team sprint in Chaux-Neuve. The brothers jumped to 13th and slowly moved up through the pack for the top 10 finish. The World Cup now heads to Seefeld, Austria for a pair of events next weekend.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Tino Edelmann won the contest by 1.4 seconds over their closest rivals, Team Norway. The hometown favorite French team was third.

Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) were 13th.

Bryan Fletcher
Today was a fun day. Personally I was a little disappointed with my jumping today, however I was pumped with Taylor’s performance both on the jump hill and in the cross country. I have not felt that great in cross country throughout the weekend however today I was able to hang tough and keep us moving up throughout the second half of the race. I am really proud of Taylor and his performance lately. He is really starting to step it up and he is without a doubt one of the strongest guys on the cross country course day in and day out.

Personally it’s very fun to race with my brother and I hope to do it more often. This is the second time this season we have been a team together and both times I think we have surprised ourselves with what we are capable of even if we don’t have a perfect day.

Taylor Fletcher
It was a pretty decent day for both of us. I had a pretty solid jump and a pretty good race as well. Bryan had a great race and hung though when the speed was turned up. We moved up about as far as we really could! The top jumpers really showed themselves today which put some time between packs. Racing with Bryan is a lot of fun. We keep improving with each race and hope to get a podium before the end of the year.

Full results HERE.

NNF Funded U23/Jr. World Nordic Championship, U18/J1 Scando Cup Teams Named

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January 10, 2013 – Congratulations to all the athletes named to represent the USA at the U23 and World Junior Nordic Championships and the U18/J1 Scando Cup. Their hard work, dedication, and outstanding performance earned them the right to compete against the best skiers their age in the world while representing our country and our American Nordic community.

The NNF is contributing $93,000 in support of these trips ($81,000 XC, and $12,000 NC). Thanks to the support of this American Nordic community and the NNF’s Drive for 25 fundraising efforts we are sending these athletes to go up against the World’s best at a significantly reduced cost them. This ensures the athletes can afford to go and have the coaching support that is necessary to succeed. We thank all the NNF supporters for making this happen. Stay tuned to see how our young athletes do.

U23 and JR World Championship Cross Country Team Liberec, CZE (Jan. 20-27)

U23/World Junior Championships + PreCamp
– NNF will fund $45,600 of $64,025 total trip cost.
– Athletes pay $700 for the races and $200 for the 5-day pre-camp. (not including airfare).

Post Championship Continental Cups
– NNF will fund $17,000 of $25,000 total trip cost. Athletes pay $675

U23 World Championship Cross Country Team

– Sophie Caldwell (SMS T2)
– Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project)
– Annie Pokorny (Middlebury College)
– Annie Hart (Dartmouth College)
– Elizabeth Guiney (University of New Hampshire)

– Erik Bjornsen (APU/USST)
– Skyler Davis (SMS T2/USST)
– David Norris (Montana State University)
– Eric Packer (SMS T2)
– Sam Tarling (Dartmouth)

World Junior Championship Cross Country Team

– Mary O’Connell (Dartmouth College)
– Corey Stock (Dartmouth College)
– Heather Mooney (Middlebury College)
– Anika Miller (Payette Lakes Sports)
– Sloan Storey (University of Utah)
– Emily Hannah (SSWSC/Harvard University)

– Logan Hanneman (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
– Ben Saxton (F.A.S.T. Performance Training)
– Tucker McCrerey (University of Utah)
– Kyle Bratrud (Northern Michigan University)
– Sawyer Kesselheim (Bridger Ski Foundation)
– Forest Mahlen (APU Nordic Ski Center)

World Junior Championship Nordic Combined Team

– NNF will fund $12,000 of $22,600 in trip costs. Athletes pay $1,108 (not including airfare).

CCC Announces 2013 U23/Jr. World Championship Team

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January 09, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – The CCC has announced its list of qualified athletes for the Junior and U23 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, January 20-27, 2013. The following athletes are selected to represent Canada at the event. Find out more about the event HERE.

Junior World Championships

– Frédérique Vézina Club Nordique M.S.A – CNEPH
– Maya MacIssac-Jones Rocky Mountain Ski Racers
– Cendrine Browne Fondeurs – CNEPH
– Katherine Stewart-Jones Nakkertok
– Anne-Marie Comeau Club Nordique M.S.A – CNEPH
– Raphaël Couturier Skibec – CNEPH
– Alexis Turgeon Skinouk – CNEPH
– David Palmer Black Jack
– Ezekiel Williams Nakkertok
– Scott Hill Team Hardwood – NDC TBay

U23 World Championships

– Andrea Lee Strathcona Nordic – NDC TBay
– Marlis Kromm Foothills Nordic – AWCA
– Heidi Widmer Foothills Nordic – AWCA
– Annika Hicks Canmore Nordic – AWCA
– Andy Shields Lappe – NDC TBay
– Patrick Stewart-Jones Nakkertok – AWCA
– Russell Kennedy Canmore Nordic – AWCA
– Colin Abbott Whitehorse

Selection Synopsis
The following athletes are selected to the World U23 and Junior World Championships in accordance with 9.8 of the criteria.

1. Criteria 9.b: In accordance with the criteria the race winners in each event, including each of the four categories (U23 men and women; Junior men and women) were selected as follows:

– Frédérique Vézina Junior Women – 10K skiathlon
– Maya MacIssac-Jones Junior Women – sprint
– Cendrine Browne Junior Women – 10K fr
– Raphaël Couturier Junior men – 20K skiathlon, 10K fr
– Alexis Turgeon Junior men – sprint
– Andrea Lee U23 women – 15K skiathlon
– Marlis Kromm U23 women – sprint
– Annika Hicks U23 women – 10k fr
– Andy Shields U23 men – 30K skiathlon
– Patrick Stewart-Jones U23 men – sprint
– Russell Kennedy U23 men – 15K fr

3. Criteria 9.8.c: The remaining positions up to four men and 4 women for each class were selected considering on the balance between sprint and distance athletes based on consideration of the ranking lists (refer to 6.8.c) for men and woman from the designated selection events.

Junior Women
– Katherine Stewart-Jones was selected considering her third overall placing on the distance ranking list(172.11 CPL) including a 2nd place finish in the pursuit and 2nd place finish in the skiathlon10K;
– Anne-Marie Comeau was selected based on a force majeure. Due to illness, Anne-Marie did not race at the trials event. Anne-Marie was selected based on her demonstrated international potential to achieve the objectives in the criteria based on her results at the Canmore World Cup, NorAm events in December 2012 and her 18th place finish at the WJC 2012.

Junior Men
– David Palmer was selected based on being second on the distance ranking list (184.14 CPL) including 2nd place finish in the pursuit and15K.
– Ezekiel Williams was selected based on being third on the distance ranking list (183.75 CPL) including a 2nd place finish in the sprint, a 3rd place finish in the pursuit and a third place finish in the 15K.
– Scott Hill was selected based on being 4th on the distance ranking list (183.34) including 6th in the pursuit and 4th in the15K.

U23 Women
– Heidi Widmer was selected based on force majeure. Due to a significant fall in the sprint heats, Heidi was eliminated from the sprint competitions and was diagnosed with a possible concussion. Due to this mishap and based on medical advice, Heidi did not race in the 10K free event. Heidi was selected based on her demonstrated international potential to achieve the objectives in the criteria based on her previous international and domestic results. Consideration was also given to Heidi’s 2nd place finish in the pursuit and 2nd place qualifier position in the sprint,

No other U23 women were selected from the distance ranking list due to not being able to meet the U23 IPB distance standards(refer to 9.7 in the criteria) and being too far behind the distance ranking leaders in total CPL.

U23 Men
– Colin Abbot was selected on being 3rd on the distance ranking list (186.44 CPL). Colin placed 3rd in the skiathlon and 4th in the sprint.

Best Wishes from the selection committee to all the selected athletes and staff for a successful Championship in Liberec.

– Michael Badham CCC High Performance Committee
– Lisa Patterson U23-WJC Trip Leader, CCC HP Coordinator, Eastern Canada
– Stéphane Barrette CCC Director of Coach and Athlete Development
– Godefroy Bilodeau participating under a Level 5 coaching assignment
– Thomas Holland CCC Director of High Performance

On the Team Canada Bus – Interviews w/Babikov, Kershaw, Valjas, Harvey and Wadsworth

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January 07, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – As the 2012/13 FIS Tour de Ski wrapped up on Sunday with the grueling handicap-style Alpe Cermis hill climb it was time for goodbyes until next time as teams dispersed and some were on the road soon after. We caught with the Canadians on their magic bus en route to Munich to get their final take on a very strong Tour.

Ivan Babikov, who won this stage in 2009, finished a fantastic second place to take seventh overall in this season’s TdS nailing a personal best along with the top Canadian result this year. Devon Kershaw posted a personal best 13th place on the Stage 7 ascent up Cermis to secure a respectable 12th overall in the Tour, followed by TdS rookie Len Valjas in 23rd on the day and 23rd overall. Alex Harvey was forced to abandon the Tour to protect his left leg, which was operated on in 2008, but scored a podium and showed his form is getting stronger. And finally we chatted with Head Coach Justin Wadsworth for his take on the Canucks at the Tour and beyond aka relay…

Ivan Babikov
– 7th overall

Devon Kershaw – 12th overall

Len Valjas – 23rd overall

Alex Harvey

Justin Wadsworth

Interviews w/the Moustache Gals – Randall, Diggins, Stephen and Brooks after the TdS 1.4km FR Sprints

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January 02, 2013 (Val Mustair, Switzerland) – Check out these comments from the “Moustache Gals” U.S. Women’s XC team skiers Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins, Liz Stephen, and Holly Brooks – after the Tour de Ski 1.4km FR Sprints in Val Mustair, Switzerland. Randall dominated the field, winning by over 8 seconds, while all of her teammates qualified for the heats. Full Stage 3 results HERE.


Kikkan Randall (USA) – 1st Stage 3


Jessie Diggins (USA) – 17th Stage 3
Felt great to be getting my racing shape back slowly after being sick! I didn’t play my tactics quite right in the quarters and was just a little too tired but I’m happy with the day for sure. Today was too fun getting all of our girls into the heats and seeing Liz in the rounds and then seeing Kikkan crush the field!!!
Elizabeth Stephen (USA) – 25th Stage 3
Today was an incredibly fun experience for me. I have never made the heats and to be able to ski World Cup heats was so much fun I can’t even believe it. I still have a lot to learn, but today was step 1 of that process and I have a few of the best sprinters around me to learn from, so I’m pretty lucky.
The two-lap course was fun and I thought Val Mustair did an amazing job making it a cool venue for spectators, racing at night was really awesome and they had a great crowd of fans show up to watch. Everything was so well organized and well thought out – it was one of those venues that was a joy to be at as an athlete. Congrats to Kikkan on her amazing performance today. She really is one hell of an athlete.
Holly Brooks (USA) – 18th Stage 3
I was really, really happy with my qualifier. If every sprint could be long, hard and at altitude I would be totally pumped! Once again, the top ten eluded me but to qualify 11th in a stacked field felt great. It was my first “heat” of the season and it was great to toe the line with my teammates. We had a great team cheer and hug for the camera which started us off on the right foot! I wish I had a bit more gas to get right behind Kikkan on the second loop. I got stuck in third and Lauren (Sui) dogged it on the hill, then went I went to pass on the right, she turned on the gas. I think that was her tactic all along but I’m not sure. When we crossed the line Liz exclaimed, “That was the funnest thing EVER!” I couldn’t agree more – I only wish I could have had a do-over because I was feeling good!
We were actually really happy to hear that we were in the same quarter as Kikkan, Her QF are generally pretty quick so we thought our chances of being “Lucky Losers” were good. I should have pushed harder at the beginning of the quarter seeing that Lauren is very good for short bursts/sprints. At the Blink Festival she might have podium’d in the 100 and/or 500 meter sprint. We went into the lanes together but she got me at the end… I also had a little stumble in the sprint which allowed Vesna Fabian to out-toe me at the line. I was bummed about that but 18th place is my best sprint to date so I have to be happy! Sometimes progress comes in small steps and it pays to be patient. I’m just trying to learn from every opportunity and that’s one of my favorite things about the Tour.
I LOVED the venue. I wish that we could finish up the Tour here. They have beautiful skiing in all directions – apparently 100k of tracks. The Swiss went all out with everything….. from the “globe lights” to brighten the course to the huge snow-sculpture Stienbock in the middle of the track, to the food in the VIP and athlete rooms. This place is great. We had cold snow, sunshine, good food. I haven’t heard a single complaint. I just felt horrible for Dario who fell in the final on his namesake ” Cologna Corner” …. it almost looked like he (ironically) got tripped up by a Swiss Flag but I’m not sure?
I’m still feeling pretty darn good. The fatigue is certainly building up but I believe it is for everyone. We’re spending a lot of time on recovery every day – jogs, ice baths, massages, eating well – and often. We shall see! I’m really looking forward to the next event, the 15km Skate in Toblach. The course is notoriously difficult to pass on (it’s narrow) but I have good memories of it from last year at the OPA finals! In the classic races and the Hill Climb I’m just going to put my head down and fight for every second, and every place! I’m really enjoying the Tour this year….

Alberta World Cup Academy to Host Dinner and Auction Fundraiser – Feb. 15

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December 26, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – The Alberta World Cup Academy is hosting a Taste of Winter – a dinner and silent auction fundraiser with proceeds going towards the program. The event features a four-course dinner with wine pairings and a Alberta World Cup Academy silent auction fundraiser. The meal will be presented by Chefs de Cuisine Edan Lange, Stefan Kuhn, and Darrell Greig with wines selected by Sommelier Jaz Nadeau of Canmore Wine Merchants. Registration is $75 at www.zone4.ca. More details HERE.

Diggins Report – What Eurosport Doesn’t Show You

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December 24, 2012 – I finally got time to sit down and load up a bunch of pictures I’ve taken the past few days… and I realized that there’s a lot going on in a World Cup weekend that the TV doesn’t show you. So, here’s some of the World Cup scene the way I see it!

Simply put, CHEERING. IS. HARD. WORK. You have to walk up to the venue hours early to get a good spot, put on a ton of facepaint, make up incredible posters… and my family and friends were up to the challenge! (the Go Team USA poster is currently residing in our wax cabin here in Canmore). To the fans out standing on their feet for hours and losing their voices: you make a difference. You really do!

FIS usually puts out drinks and snacks for the athletes, coaches and wax techs, the latter of which put in these ridiculous long hours at the venue. Next they’ll have to put futons in the wax cabins so they can get some rest! I’m only half joking here. But in Quebec (and most everywhere) the venue had a really nice warm tent.

And then there’s a lot of goofing off and joking around that isn’t always caught on camera. But when it is, it’s awesome.

Because the wax cabins in Quebec were a little ways away from the actual race course and we didn’t want to be running around the road in our ski boots, we set up a row of spin bikes inside this iron fence next to the start access area.

Given the row of iron spikes at hip level, that fence was very hard to climb safely.

And we felt a lot like zoo animals when the media gathered on the other side of the fence to watch us warming up on the bikes… animals in our “natural habitat”!

So… traveling to Canmore! It was a nice 5-hour flight, and on the way I made friends with the flight attendants. They were super fun to talk to and learn about the work schedule and travel involved in flying for a job… theirs sounded not unlike the crazy schedules of an athlete!

Once we got to Canmore, I was so excited to see all these adorable posters that kids made and stuck in the wax cabins, athlete room, and even along the sides of the road and bike paths! This picture is just one of literally HUNDREDS of posters. AWESOME.

The coffee shops here are also pretty sweet. And by that I mean that every single afternoon we’ve gone to visit one of them.

There’s been a weird cold floating around the team, and last night I opened the hotel door to see Andy giving Sylvan a “get well soon” serenade. The song played? Acoustic version of “Lets Get It On”. He’s a wicked good guitar player and by the time he was finished singing doors all down the hallway were propped open!

I don’t know any other teams that are this much of a family on the road. Just sayin.

The trails in Canmore are:

1. Perfectly groomed. The trackes were… well… perfect!

2. Insanely wide. There were 4 classic tracks and room for a couple skaters in-between. The picture above is actually one of the side trails but the race trails are much bigger.

3. Wicked hard. The race trails have some monster climbs that would be challenging to pace correctly at any altitude, but then the air at 4,500 ft adds a whole new level. At least, when you’re coming off sea level it does!

Check out this huge stadium!

Last but not least – the USST is streaming the races LIVE on their website! Check it out, don’t miss a second of the exciting action: www.usskiteam.com

I’m not racing today because I am not feeling healthy and have to sit it out, which is a major bummer, but hopefully I’ll bounce back in time for the weekend races. In the meantime, please cheer extra loud for my teammates out there this morning!

Heidi Widmer Blog – Party in the Backyard

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December 24, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – The weekend I had been dreaming about all summer and fall has come and passed. Not an ounce of adrenaline was left unused in Canmore as we played host to the World Cup at the Nordic Centre as well as downtown. I put on a bib for the 10km mass start classic, skate sprint and 15km pursuit – meaning I’ve raced more World Cups this season than domestic!?

I can walk away from this weekend knowing I did everything in my power to lay down a good race, but yes, I am disappointed with the outcome. Outcomes or results are always hard to be completely satisfied with. As much as I focus on the process and journey of training and racing, there will always be a result at the end of the day and being able to take something positive from the experience is what I believe the result is there for. How will this result make me better? I can tell you one thing, dwelling on a number on a results page is not how to move forward but learning from the movement, actions and mindset that gave you that result will.

The 10km classic race was my first distance World Cup and being seeded at the back, I felt I had a great opportunity to make my way through the pack. First things first, I needed to be in the pack. Unfortunately, I was way too focused on staying with the pack than I was with skiing the way I needed to. My legs were blown, my lungs fried and mental mindset was just awful. The biggest blow ups seem to happen on the biggest stages and it took every fighting inch of me to finish this race. The fan support on the side of the trail didn’t seem to notice that I was taking up the rear – so I decided not to dwell on that either! Having an extremely hard race like this, however hard to swallow in the moment, was necessary preparation for me for the weekend.

Saturday was sprint day and the buzz of energy that had been brewing in me throughout the summer was about to be let loose! I felt confident, nervous (definitely nervous) and prepared. I raced that course the way I wanted to, the way I had practiced and channeled all the energy of the crowd into propelling me forward. I crossed the line in 31st position, needing a top 30 result to qualify for the sprint heats. It is so bizarre to think about a small fraction of time separating me from the top 30 having such an amplified effect. Taking a tighter line here, pushing harder there and being stronger would all have helped me get to the line a little faster which is what will keep me motivated for the future World Cups. I am getting closer. Slowly but surely. Patience is something I have never been good at but I feel like I have a good thing coming and know it will be worth the wait!

My final result of the day was 34th position but I live vicariously through my teammates today. My bro, Phil, in particular posted his personal best 15th overall on the World Cup. Jess Cockney can’t be left unmentioned either, qualifying 2nd?! So inspiring having fast people around – talent and fitness are contagious right? Or maybe it’s through osmosis that I’ll get my boost.

The last bib of 2012 for me was in the 15km Pursuit. Nervous? Yup. Tired? Definitely. I was adamant that I wouldn’t go out without a fight and was so thankful that I had that within me today. I finished today as the 50th woman across the line and over 6 minutes back from the leader but as far as a distance World Cup goes – it was amazing. I had a fight, put it to good use and gradually picked off racers in the pack. I am really happy with the end to the weekend and will be using this momentum to propel me forward in the next couple weeks of training.

An incredibly HUGE thank you to the support of the volunteers, sponsors, families, friends, community and event organizers for putting on such an amazing show. Canmore has truly made a name for itself on the world stage.

I have some time in the Bow Valley to get in some quality training as we have a break from the racing circuit until the New Year. Our next big races are in Thunder Bay, Ontario for the U23 and World Championship qualification. My performance there will determine the shape of the rest of my season and I couldn’t be more excited about dat.

In the meantime, I have some Christmas crafting to do and training to tackle.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

US Biathlon Announces World Cup 4 and IBU Cup 4 Rosters

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December 18, 2012 (New Gloucester, ME) – The International Competition Committee of US Biathlon met today and would like to announce the women’s and men’s teams for World Cup 4 in Oberhof, GER, Jan. 1-6, and IBU Cup 4 in Otepää, EST, Jan. 4-6, 2013.

World Cup 4
– Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT)
– Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID)
– Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) – discretionary selection based on ranking as the 3rd women in WC points and second fastest ski times.

– Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY)
– Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY)
– Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME)
– Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) – discretionary selection based on two top 60 WC finishes and fourth best skiing among the World Cup team members

IBU Cup 4
– Lanny Barnes (Durango, CO) – from World Cup qualification
– Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO) – from Nov/Dec IBU Cup qualification
– Hannah Dreissigacker (Craftsbury, Vermont) – IBU Cup trials winner
– Katrina Howe (Gilford, New Hampshire) – discretionary selection from IBU Cup trials*

– Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) – from World Cup qualification
– Jeremy Teela (Heber City, UT)- from Nov/Dec IBU Cup qualification
– Bill Bowler (Wausau, Wisconsin) – IBU Cup trials winner
– Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN) – discretionary selection from IBU Cup trials*

* Due to US Biathlon financial constraints participation by the additional athletes selected by discretion from the IBU Cup trials will be on a self-pay basis.

Behind the Scenes Interviews w/Grover, Wadsworth, Flora, Dyer, Jeffries, Whitcomb at the FIS Quebec City Sprint WCup

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December 12, 2012 (Quebec City, QC) – SkiTrax caught up with a few North American behind-the-scenes players at the inaugural FIS Quebec City Sprint World Cup this past weekend to get the inside scoop on how the event played out for their respective teams.

Interviews include US XC Team Head Coach Chris Grover, CCC Men’s Coach Justin Wadsworth, APU Head Coach Erik Flora, and an elated US XC Team Women’s Coach Matt Whitcomb. Plus, the legendary Peter Graves speaks with CCC Director of Events Dave Dyer and CCC Director of Business Development Matt Jeffries.

Chris Grover

Justin Wadsworth

Eric Flora




Interview w/Kikkan Randall after FIS Quebec City Sprint WCup

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December 11, 2012 (Quebec City, QC) – SkiTrax caught up with U.S. skiing star Kikkan Randall after the press conference in Quebec City following her exciting FIS XC Ski World Cup team and individual sprint wins on the weekend – she is now leading the Sprint Cup which she won last season. Randall then signed autographs for her fans. The Alaska star is ramping up for Canada’s second World Cup stop, which takes place Dec. 13-16 in Canmore, AB.

Kershaw Report: November Scando Racing Madness

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December 06, 2012 (St. Ferreol les Neiges, QC) – It’s December. I almost had to tell myself out loud of that fact this morning when I rollerskied through the ice and grime that covered the streets of St. Ferreol les Neiges hugging the tarmac like the hair on my upper lip this past November. I guess I also had to remind myself of the month – because it’s a rarity these days that I’m back in Canada during the winter months.

November is always a busy month – lots of racing, lots of travel all coupled with very little sunlight and culinary disaster. I’ve already raced three weeks this season, two of which were the first two World Cup stops of the 2012/13 year. I’ll take a moment to fill you in on the happenings of Northern Scandinavia – with some brief race reports from the opening weekends of racing this November.

Also – big thanks to all that donated to “Movember” and “the Snow Mos” this year – together we can make a difference in men’s health. In that spirit get a load of these two beauty shots of Lenny – bringing his Mo to the next level.
Ostersund/Bruksvallarna, SWE

It may sound like I’ve written this report before – and that’s probably because I have last year. The past few years our team begins our winter campaign smack in the middle of Sweden. In a slight plot twist, I traveled to Oslo November 2nd for a fabulous week in the Norwegian capital before meeting the team in the Jämtland capital of Ostersund for our annual pre-season on snow Euro camp.

Like last year, there was no natural snow, and my first ski in Sweden was an uninspiring burn around a 2.5min loop. The dizziness subsided every couple days as the loop gradually improved thanks to a wonderful group of passionate volunteers and staff of the Ostersund Ski Club – as they spread out the saved snow from last winter (like what Canmore does now with their “Frozen Thunder” project) to prepare the trails for the World Cup of biathlon season openers that take place there. By the time we left Ostersund they had 4km of great skiing available.

On the training side of things, November is a busy month – not only with racing but also with hours. To be ready and keep consistent in the meat of the season (January, February, March) we’ve realized that I need to log a decent amount of miles – short loops or not – so I trained quite hard both in Ostersund, and afterwards.

The “actual” racing season started over in Bruksvallarna (the site of the Swedish FIS openers – a 3hr drive West of Ostersund) and conditions there were fairly decent with thin natural snow cover, longer skiing options (for training), and great snow cover on the race courses – which are twisty with no real huge climbs or working sections. Think – ghetto amusement park rollercoaster.

After some discussion, Justin and I decided to compete only in the 15km skate (what I did last year) and like last year I was brutal finishing a disappointing 10th – blowing up fiercely in the last 3km of the course, where I gave up a whopping 50 seconds. Racing is hard – super hard – but at this time of year, it appears I struggle to digest the heavy load of training I’m under, leaving me feeling flat for some weeks. I guess it was a better outing than last November – when I finished outside the top 30 – but I was both exhausted physically at the end (the last tuck down the last hill made a bit of a buzz on Swedish blogs for my unorthodox tucking technique (think: hands on knees with straight legs trying as hard as I can to not just fall over) and obviously disappointed with the result.

Gallivare, SWE – World Cup Opener
While Ostersund can be grey and windy – the town itself is great and the giant/beautiful lake (5th largest in Sweden apparently) is stunning. It’s actually a beautiful little city all around with great little cafés, nice walking streets – a cool place to hang out. Gallivare by contrast is…well… different. For starters it’s dark. I mean, hella’ dark this time of year – the sky brightens for some hours between the hours of 10:30 – 13:30, but aside from that it’s like what I’d imagine living in a freezer would feel like. Sometimes there’s some light (when someone opens the freezer drawer), but for the most part in the late autumn it’s black and cold. The town itself is of course smaller, doesn’t have a lot going on – but that’s fine seeing how we are there for the specific purpose of ski racing – and it does have a great little café downtown with stellar espresso.

One thing Gallivare does have this time of year is natural snow, great skiing, and very enthusiastic volunteers and fans that love to cheer on their local hero, World and Olympic Champ – Marcus Hellner – who has lived there for roughly 10 years.

The weekend of racing got of to a bit of a rough start. The 15km skate on the Saturday wasn’t great. While I didn’t blow up – I was never able to get going – stuck in that threshold type speed. I started controlled, but I wasn’t able to convert later in the race (when I needed to change gears and start charging for the last 5km) finishing a distant 44th. Of course, I was pretty disappointed – but the beginning of each season seems to be a lesson in patience for me. Last season I was 37th in the same race (in Sjusoen, NOR), and the season before (in Gallivare), I ended up in the 50s – 58th I think. A far cry from the podiums I expect later in the year.

The bright spots of the weekend was Babs’ 16th place finish Saturday, and Sunday’s 4×7.5km relay. I skied the 2nd (a classic leg) leg and the feelings were much better. I still felt I lacked that punch/snappy feeling but better I moved well and made up some ground for our team. When it was all said and done, our team made some history with a Canadian World Cup best finish – 5th! We were only seconds from the podium and it gave us all a lot of confidence for the World Championships later this year. If we are all in good form, I really believe that we are capable of something really special.

The Ruka-Triple (mini-tour) – Kuusamo, FIN (2nd stop on the World Cup)
After Gallivare we all crammed into vans and rolled East into Finland – driving the 6 odd hours south(kind of)east through grey skies and hordes of reindeer that seem completely indifferent to traffic – like they are props in a Santa Claus parade instead of wild animals and have been told not to move for anything or anybody.

The Ruka triple consists of 3 races in 3 days – a classic sprint first (1.4km – on the Friday), followed by a 10km skate (Saturday) and finishing it off with a pursuit start 15km classic (Sunday) – the best cumulative time takes the win (like the Tour de Ski type format).

Day 1 was awful for the Canadian men. Ooohhhhh lordy, was it rough – I liken the speed to attempting to swimming through a pool of full-fat eggnog. No Canadian men qualified for the top 30, and I ended up a dismal 62nd place. Not where I wanted to be. I felt like there was just no power whatsoever in the body – especially in double pole. The bright spot was that Peri matched her best-ever result on the World Cup with a 12th place finish and Dasha with a solid 14th in the women’s race.

The following day – the 10km skate – was very similar to Gallivare’s 15km. I felt like I was stuck in zone 3. I started conservatively and when I willed my body to turn it over – again, there was no gears to switch into. I ended up 35th – again, not where I wanted to be. I was actually really, really disappointed with that one. I didn’t even check results when I finished and finished my cool down – instead I just ate lunch quickly and crawled into bed for a nap. It was a huge effort (the race), and I knew the velocity was too slow. I was so bummed out – and broke my “no being bummed out when you get back to the hotel from the race site” rule.

After an hour of sulking at a pretty extreme level, I re-focused on getting ready for the last day – Sunday’s 15km classic. After two not-so-great races I started further back in the order – 36th – compared to what I’m used to (in Falun last year by contrast in a similar style mini-tour I started the last day sitting 3rd…) and in the race itself worked through the field slowly but surely – finishing in 22nd overall. I moved up 14 places and had the 16th fastest time on the day – which was a solid step in the right direction. Again, the body felt heavy and again I lacked the power/snap and on the climbs (Kuusamo’s courses are notoriously steep and long) I felt terrible, but I stayed present as best I could and willed everything out of my body I could muster. Finally all our men were in the points (the top 30) with me finishing 22nd, Alex 23rd and Babs’ 25th in the overall standings. It’s coming.

The feelings I had for the first three weekends of racing are almost identical to how I felt last year – as are the results in those races. It seems the pre-Christmas races are a true lesson in patience and perspective. I know I’ve done a plethora of high quality work this year and I believe in our plan to be 100% ready to rock and roll come late February/March – but as a competitor it’s hard to unplug, be patient, stay positive and be good to yourself (ie. not beat yourself up too badly) when the results aren’t where you want them to be. Like a hockey player that grips his stick too hard – his once loose hands turning instead to concrete – it’s hard not to press and do what you know you need to do – mainly to “let go” knowing that as long as you give your full and absolute best effort race in, race out – the outcome will most definitely only get better.

I didn’t have a ton of time to dwell on November, as after the race on Sunday we flew to Helsinki to spend a (very) short night there in an airport hotel before we began the long journey back to Quebec on Monday – which is where I am right now.

It feels great to be back in Canada and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to race at home. I’m hanging out at Alex’s house (with Lenny staying here as well) in MSA, and while there is no snow on the ground, the vibe is awesome. We had such a great dinner last night when we arrived (thanks Alex’s awesome GF – Sophie!), and to be in a comfortable home instead of a hotel is a really nice change. Watching Monday Night Football last night was a pretty nice perk too I must say.

We don’t have a whole lot of time to enjoy “normal” life as this Friday the Quebec World Cups begin in the province’s capital. First up is the team sprint, which Alex and I are really looking forward to – followed by Saturday’s 1.7km individual sprint competition. While my body has been feeling sluggish and lacking power/snap which are both so necessary for sprint racing, I know that things can change fast. Regardless how the results end up – I’m so excited to race in Quebec and it’s hard to believe it’s the first time the province has held a World Cup competition. It’s going to be an amazing show and the support and passion in the province for cross country skiing is far and away the best in the country – so to race in front of so many fired up fans will be exhilarating.

That’s the long-winded news from me. As for now, I think I’ll retire to the couch with a glass of egg nog, watch a ski movie and then prepare an amazingly boss dinner of fresh halibut & scallops (Len will stick to steak) before hitting up a (hopefully) long, restful sleep.

On a completely non-ski related topic…

November I crushed three decent books – here’s what went down this month:

–       “1982” by Jian Ghomeshi. I thought the family history sections were great and entertaining. The word “David Bowie” was perhaps printed a thousand or so too many times, but enjoyable none-the-less. If you aren’t familiar with Jian’s CBC radio program “Q” – it’s worth checking out. Plus – 1982 was the best year ever. Just saying (thanks mom and dad).

–       “Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet” by Jamie Ford. A story dealing with relationships during the Japanese internment of World War Two in Seattle. Pretty moving story, ok-written. A bit far fetched, and kind of a Romeo/Juliet thing going on (if you’ve read it you’ll understand that loose link) but it’s a novel after all.

–       “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay. Another WW2 story – dealing with the Holocaust and the Vel’ D’hiv round-up in Paris in 1942. Again – I enjoyed it, I found it powerful, sad at times and again – decently written.

–       In addition to the books, I’m still on a diet of a New Yorker a week. Standard awesomely written articles – great for traveling.

Spinning in the headphones is the same tunes as normal. Back to listening to a lot of Wilco, Rural Alberta Advantage, Band of Horses, Shins, Radical Face, etc… I don’t know what it is about N. Scando – but I crush depressing music up there. As well, “This American Life” and “Planet Money” – both NPR podcasts that are always both entertaining and well done.

On the movie front – while I don’t watch many movies, shows, etc… very often on the road – preferring to scratch away very poorly on my guitar I lug around, read and listen to music – we have watched some of the latest ski movies released this autumn. We’ve gone through “Superheroes of Stoke, The Dream Factory and a Norwegian film “Being There (which I thought was really well done!)” and re-watching last year’s “All.I.Can” so far. Perhaps a little dangerous so early in the racing season – as I’m getting fired up for spring ski touring already – which probably isn’t the best seeing how December just begun, but what can you do. The powder will be there come April (at least that’s what I tell myself to fall asleep at night).

Rock and roll – if you’re in the Quebec City area come on out and watch the action Friday and Saturday (check HERE for all the info) and if you are in Canmore from December 13th – 16th (assuming the world won’t end of course the day before…) come on up to the Nordic Centre and watch. I mean, you won’t find a better World Cup venue on earth – their website for all the deets’ is HERE.

The American Revolution…

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December 05, 2012 – The first three weeks of the 2012-2013 World Cup season are in the bag – and they (FIS, the rest of the World) are calling our start the “American Revolution.”  And no, they are not referring to the historical event where the Colonies joined together to break free from the British Empire. Instead, they are talking about the American women’s ability to turn heads and turning heads we are…..
So far this season we have three “medals” including the first 4×5 relay performance, the first (and second) US women’s distance skiing podium and many “best ever” moments. While the lack of daylight in Lapland may have been tough for some of my teammates that can come sunnier locales it sure didn’t stop us from skiing fast!  I am currently on cloud nine sitting 14th in the overall World Cup standings. In the first race alone I accomplished one of my most ambitious goals that I thought would take an entire season to tackle.
For me, this season represents an entirely different world. I have one full season of World Cup racing under my belt. I’m familiar with the scene, the travel, I know other people on the circuit, I’m racing World Cup venues having “been there before.” The heightened level of confidence is palpable on our team. When we walk into the dining room we do so with our head’s held high…. we look people square in the eyes, media from other countries are requesting our time; they want to know what our secret is.  Funnily enough, there is no secret – just hard work and dedication.
I for one think that success is contagious. Once you get a small taste of it, it’s much easier to believe in yourself, your abilities and your performance. When you see one of your teammates doing well you think, “Hey, I can keep up with them in double pole roller ski intervals” or I can do “just as many pull ups as them”, therefore, if they can pull a top ten result in the World Cup, maybe I can too?!?!  This is where American skiing stands right now – this is the essence of the Revolution. As a ski nation, we are starting to believe in our talents and our abilities.  The rest of the world is noticing that we’re on a roll.  As far as I can tell, there is nothing in the way to slow us down! Go Team USA!!!!
Thank you SO SO SO much to everyone who has contributed to NNF and made these racing and training experiences possible for us. Without funding help I most surely would have stayed and raced domestically this fall. Thank you for your part in the AMERICAN REVOLUTION!

Diggins Report – The Most Exciting Race Ever!

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November 28, 2012 – Wow, that sure was an awesome way to start off the World Cup season!!! Not that I expect every weekend to be as wildly exciting with multiple historical US podium results, but geez that was cool. Our Women’s 4x5km relay placed 3rd, which was the first time ever in US History that we’ve had a podium relay finish! Here are two YouTube videos of the race:


I first want to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone for all the kind words, emails, tweets and more that have come flooding in, and a thanks to all those who have been supporting us US Women every step of the way. It sucks that the podium isn’t big enough to put everyone involved onto it, because there’s a whole lot more than four racers that made the day happen. The ENTIRE team includes the teammates cheering, coaches, wax techs, and friends and family and fans back home. So thanks to everyone!

Here’s the race story from the day!

I was super nervous beforehand because with the results from the previous day, it was clear that the team was in shape and ready to rock, and there are only 3 relays this year, so this was our only shot for a while at making our goal of having a team on the podium.

Then, as I was warming up, I saw the racers go by and turned to Matt, a full-blown panic attack seconds away. I’d just seen Liz in second and was like “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” I was hyperventilating. Even though I was trying to convince myself that this was going to be just another 5km skate race, I couldn’t ignore the fact that our team was higher up than we’d ever been and the extremely hard work of my teammates was about to be put into my hands.

In the tag zone, I looked over at Marit and said “No big deal… no pressure… aaaaaagh!” and she gave me a little smile that basically said “Good luck, sweetheart”.

So when Liz tagged me, I might have gone out a little hot. And by might have, I mean that I definitely did. I had so much adrenaline pumping that I didn’t feel anything till the top of the first hill, and then it hit me. I just kept trying to stay within sight of Marit, and I was so focused on keeping every second I could that I wasn’t even aware of team Sweden, Finland and Norway 2 coming in hot behind me.

When Kalla (Sweden) passed me, I tried to hang on but was going full throttle and didn’t want to hit the wall completely halfway through the race, so I had to let her go, which was tough. But when Kristoffersen (Norway 2) passed me, I did hang on, just barely, because I knew I usually have good kick at the end of a race and there was maybe a chance.

Liz and Ida and the rest of the team were screaming from the side of the course, but two things stood out to me. Ida was sprinting alongside me yelling like I’d never heard her yell before, and Liz frantically screamed “C’mon Jess, you have to believe you CAN DO THIS! BELIEVE IT!!!”

So when we got within .5km of the finish, I had this flashback to the last relay I raced, in Nove Mesto, where I waited too long to start sprinting and Kalla beat me to the line. I didn’t want to make the same mistake, and decided to make a move before the s-turn to the stadium, sliding ahead of Kristoffersen right before the first corner.

We rounded the stadium corner and started sprinting down the home stretch, and I saw Kristoffersen’s skis come into view, but the only thing I could think was No. Not. Happening. I can’t screw this up now! I think in those final hundred meters I dug deeper than I have in a long, long time.

I crossed the line only .5 seconds ahead, and made this half-yelling-half-screaming-mostely-I’m-in-so-much-pain-right-now noise, and collapsed. The next 2 minutes I was in a haze but I felt my teammates piled on top of me, and then it sunk in and we all realized what had just happened.

There were cameras going off everywhere, but we were huddled in this little circle, crying and laughing and going through this wild flood of emotions (and probably endorphins too, I’ll admit)!

The feeling we all got, standing on the podium having reached a major goal that we all set down on paper earlier this year, was incredible. For me at least, it makes me want to train hard and work even harder to keep these kinds of feelings coming – there’s two more steps on that podium to climb, after all!

I thought it was so cool that all these athletes from other teams were coming up to us and congratulating us on the day – they were psyched for us! Every one of them remembers what it felt like their first time on the podium so they knew what we were going through when we were all huddled together crying :)

That night I had such a hard time getting to sleep (gee, I wonder why?) I just kept replaying that final sprint in my mind and hearing Liz and Ida scream “BELIEVE!”. I think I’m going to be hearing that for a while.

Team XC United Presents 2012/13 Roster, Sponsors

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November 21, 2012 (Long Lake, MN) – Team XC United (formerly Team Birkie) is a Nordic race team comprised of master skiers that have come together to support elite skier Matthew Liebsch in his pursuit of the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The idea behind the team is two-fold. One: to provide master skiers with the same access to equipment, waxing, technique work and race support as top level athletes, and two: provide direct support for elite athletes attempting to achieve higher international results. The need for this support is more important now than it ever has been with the USST and USSA dramatically cutting their funding for national and international level athletes.

This year, XC United secured a commitment from Borton Volvo that included a Volvo XC60R as our team vehicle. Look for the Borton Volvo XC United team vehicle at Nordic events throughout the season, and ask one of our team members how to schedule a test drive.

The vehicle from Borton Volvo was wrapped with the names of team sponsors that have joined the XC United family this year and last. These supporters include: Borton Volvo, Gear West, Zel Skin and Laser, The Fix Studio, Swix, Fischer, Team Strong Heart and Swenor.

Team Membership includes the following individuals:
– Matthew E. Liebsch
– Bruce Wain
– Eric Lindquist
– Marcus Magnuson
– Steve Waryan
– Greg Bernhardt
– Brian Zelickson
– Josh Riff
– Josh Simonson
– Noah Rounds
– Tom Camp
– Laszlo Alberti

We all look forward to a very snow-filled season, and some great racing results. We thank our sponsors for their commitment to Team XC United, powered by Borton Volvo.

Please contact Bruce Wain for information or sponsorship opportunities: TeamXCUnited@gmail.com

Nanook Skiers Complete Weekend Sweep of UAA, Win Nordic Cup

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November 19, 2012 (Fairbanks, AK) – The Alaska Nanooks wrapped up a solid three-day weekend of skiing competition in winning fashion as they completed a sweep of Alaska Anchorage on their way to capturing the 2012 Nordic Cup. The Nanooks have won the title that pairs the Alaska schools against one another six times in the Cup’s nine-year history (6-2-1).

“The Seawolves are a good team and it was quite a thrill to beat them on our home course at Birch Hill,” head coach Scott Jerome said. “Losing in Anchorage last year left a bad taste in our mouths and I am very happy we were able to bring the cup back home.”

UAA had the top finishers in the men’s and women’s 10 kilometer freestyle technique races on Sunday at Birch Hill, but the Nanooks depth prevailed as they outscored the visitors 12-9 in both the men’s and women’s races, for a 24-18 win on the day. The Day Three victory gave the Nanooks a 78-48 margin of victory over the three-day Nordic Cup series.

“I am proud of the way the team members handled themselves this weekend; it was cold and windy but everyone stepped up without complaint and raced,” Jerome said. “This win was a true team effort – five different men and five different women scored points for us.”

For the women, UAA’s Marine Dusser posted the best course time in 33 minutes and 49.6 seconds. Alaska senior Raphaela Sieber (Business Administration) was second in 34:05.1 and was followed by teammates Alyson McPhetres (35:09.6/Geological Engineering) and Heather Edic (35:35.6/Civil Engineering) in third and fourth, respectively.

The Seawolves scoring team included Patricia Sprecher in 5th (36:10.3) and Karina Smith in 10th (37:54.0) overall.

Although not counted in the team standings, Alaska also got top-10 finishes from Crystal Pitney (6th, 36:20.0/Business Administration), Rebecca Konieczny (7th, 36:50.0/Biological Sciences), Julia Ebner (8th, 37:15.1/General Studies) and Marit Rjabov (9th, 37:33.3/Psychology).

For the men’s race, Seawolf Viktor Braennmark was the best on the day in 28 minutes and five seconds, beatting senior Lex Treinen (2nd, 28:13.0/Northern Studies) by eight seconds for the day’s title.

Logan Hanneman (Mechanical Engineering) managed a spot on the podium for the third straight day, taking third overall in 28:31.4.

While it didn’t play into the final standings, one of the more exciting points of the pursuit race came when Nanook senior Ian Wilkinson (Art) outsprinted UAA’s Lukas Ebner down the stretch to put 13.2 seconds between them in the bid for fifth place. Wilkinson finished in 28:32.8, while Ebner had a course time of 28:46.0.

The Blue and Gold had two other racers in the top 10 with Max Olex (Northern Studies) taking 6th in 28:50.2 and Stefan Hajdukovich (Biological Sciences) landing 10th in 29:38.1.

“We had some very good individual results this weekend, and we had some disappointing results, but this is a sport that takes time,” Jerome said. “It’s a long season and we have much hard work to do before March. I am very happy that we beat UAA. Now we must turn our attention to qualifying for NCAAs and turning in our best performances in March.”

Both teams will train for the next seven weeks before their next competition, the U.S. Cross Country Skiing Nationals being held in Midway, Utah, Jan. 2-8, 2013.

Women’s 10Km Pursuit Start Free Technique
1. Marine Dusser, UAA – 33:49.6
2. Raphaela Sieber, UAF – 34:05.1
3. Alyson McPhetres, UAF – 35:09.6
4. Heather Edic, UAF – 35:35.6
5. Patricia Sprecher, UAA – 36:10.3
6. Crystal Pitney, UAF – 36:20.0
7. Rebecca Konieczny, UAF – 36:49.9
8. Julia Ebner, UAF – 37:15.0
9. Marit Rjabov, UAF – 37:33.3
10. Karina Smith, UAA – 37:54.0
11. Theresia Schnurr, UAF – 38:17.0
12. Cara McCulloch, UAA – 38:38.1
13. Heidi Brook, UAF – 40:03.7
14. Maya Radonich, UAA – 41:04.8

Men’s 10Km Pursuit Start Free Technique
1. Viktor Braennmark, UAA – 28:05.0
2. Lex Treinen, UAF – 28:13.0
3. Logan Hanneman, UAF – 28:31.5
4. Ian Wilkinson, UAF – 28:32.8
5. Lukas Ebner, UAA – 28:46.0
6. Max Olex, UAF – 28:50.2
7. Lasse Moelgaard, UAA – 28:51.8
8. Galen Johnston, UAA – 29:28.4
9. Davis Dunlap, UAA – 29:37.7
10. Stefan Hajdukovich, UAF – 29:38.1
12. Kenneth Brewer, UAF – 30:34.2
13. Andrew Arnold, UAF – 30:39.6
15. Lars Arneson, UAF – 30:56.4
17. Jonas Loeffler, UAF – 31:09.2
18. Brandon Brewster, UAA – 31:10.1
21. John Glen, UAA – 32:07.3
23. Wyatt Mayo, UAF – 33:25.7

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy World Cup 2012/13 Contest – OVER 200 Teams Entered

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November 15, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We’re excited to report that our popular annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy World Cup Contest has over 200 teams from around the world entered for its 2012/13 edition. If you want to get in on the action, you have until 10pm EST on Friday, Nov. 23 to register your team. The following day will see the 2012/13 Viessmann XC FIS World Cup season kick off in Gallivare, Sweden!

This is the first of four Fantasy Contests this season… up next is the FIS Marathon Cup contest, followed by the popular Tour de Ski contest, and finally fans can enjoy our Fiemme 2013 Nordic World Championships contest.

Register your team of four (4) men, and four (4) women including two (2) Outlaw Skiers – one (1) male and one (1) female not in the top 15 of the FIS World Cup overall rankings.

Points will be awarded following each World Cup based on each skier’s performance and published regularly at skitrax.com so you can see how your score compares to other international players and the actual FIS standings. Earn bonus TdS or Fiemme 2013 points, and other bonus points – all information, skier menus and contest rules are available when you register your team.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and the chance to win fabulous prizes.

The deadline to register or revise your team is Friday, Nov. 23, at 10pm EST, the day before the Viessmann XC FIS World Cup season kicks off in Gallivare, Sweden –  good luck to all contestants.

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, Trapp Family Lodge, SkiGo, Alpina, One Way, Bjorn Daehlie, 2XU, Bliz, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

To register click HERE.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2012/13 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 12/13 Carbonlite Skating Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd Prize – Trapp Family Lodge – 2 nights lodging in a Deluxe Room w/breakfast (value $600)
* 3rd Prize
– SkiGo Carbon 335 Skate Roller Skis (value $420)
* 4th Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)
* 5th PrizeOne Way Premio Ski Poles (value $400)
* 6th Prize – Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 7th Prize 2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 8th PrizeBliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 9th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 10th Prize Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup Breaks Buff Headware to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canadian Cross Country Ski Team Ready to Launch 2012/13 Season in Sweden

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November 15, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – After gearing up with the WinSport Frozen Thunder event, presented by Buff, the National Ski Team (NST) is ready to take on the world this weekend, with FIS competitions in Bruksvallarna, Sweden.

Racing action starts Friday with short, classic, distance races. Saturday includes longer distance skating events and they are followed by skating sprints on Sunday. Schedule

The majority of the team have been training in Ostersund, Sweden for the past week, with Dasha Gaiazova and Ivan Babikov making the trip over from Calgary on Tuesday.

The skiers will be racing one or two of the three races depending on their program. As they are arriving shortly before the competitions Dasha is expected to only race Sunday`s sprint, and Ivan to compete in the Saturday skate race. Ivan will be joined by Devon Kershaw, who will only race the skate race due to a minor ankle injury.

Perianne Jones, Chandra Crawford, Alysson Marshall and Alex Harvey are planning on entering the classic race and sprint, with Kevin Sandau racing both distance races. Kevin and Alysson qualified for the trip as the Haywood NorAm leaders from the spring. Lenny Valjas will be spectating as he continues to recover from a broken finger.

Check back later for updates and results.

Russian Teams Gear Up for the Season

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November 08, 2012 – There are only 16 days left until the start of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Gällivare, Sweden. Russia’s 24 athletes are going to take part in the opening ladies and men competitions.

The ladies’ part of the Russian Cross-Country team travelled to Europe already and has trained in Muonio, Finland. “All the athletes are healthy and we train as planned,” head coaches Gregor Menshenin and Dmitry Bugaev say. Russian skiers have been on snow already a month as they carried out a training camp in Ramsau.

Sprinters in Yakutia
Russian sprint specialists carried out the first winter training camp of the season in Aldan ,Yakutia region. The sprinters took part in a show competition that was organised at the opening of the new skiing centre in Aldan. The 85-long super sprint was won by Olympic Champion from 2010 Nikita Kriukov. “Unfortunately Alexey Petukhov and Anton Gafarov could not take part in the competition. Alexey has been recovering from illness and Anton has had small issues with his back. So we did not want to risk anything,” sprint coach Mikhail Deviatiarov said.

Canadian Skiers Participate in Movember

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November 06, 2012 – On November 1, men across the country shaved their faces in preparation for Movember, a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men’s health. Canadian XC skiers are participating in the event and Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Gord Jewett, Kevin Sandau, and Ivan Babikov are among the nine-man Sno Mos squad. Check out their team page HERE.

Bjornsen Blog – Doing the Snow Dance!

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November 01, 2012 (Anchorage, AK) – Since getting back from Park City Camp, Anchorage has yet to get any snow. Of course, when every skier is looking for moisture, the sun finally decides to show in AK. With no snow, the temperatures haven’t hesitated to resemble the typical Alaskan weather at this time of year.

As temps dropped down into the single digits, rollerskiing gets less fun! Pounding freezing cold pavement isn’t exactly the nicest thing for your joints. But, with a little extra clothes, and a longer than usual warm up- we made it happen.

One day we were rollerskiing at a local park, where all the ducks have decided to reside around a half frozen pond. They also have chosen to poop all over the trail. So, aside from the trail being half frozen, our skis were also being stopped and tripped up by frozen pooo. It provided for some laughing, a little swearing, and fortunately only one fall that didn’t end up too bad.

Last weekend was also the annual APU ski swap, where all the elite athletes pass down our great equipment to the younger generation of skiers. This is one of the neatest qualities about this elite/junior/devo team. A great pair of skis never leaves the team as someone grows out of them, it just keeps living down the chain. The ski swap is also a time that Kikkan takes the opportunity to clear out her closet and raffle off all her stuff to the young kids.

This is one of the most exciting things I have ever watched. Kikkan manages to accumulate some pretty awesome gear, so the kids get called out by number, have 10 seconds to pick something on the table, and then the next person goes. It’s a pretty awesome thing Kikkan does- and I am sure that 90% of those kids mark the day on the calendar, it’s that exciting!!

On that same day we had one of the young devo team boys and Rob Whitney put on a fundraiser run for Mary Robicheaux, a young devo on our team that got hit by a car while she was biking. Mary has been in the hospitals for the past two months as she is learning to walk again. She suffered a fractured skull, many broken bones in both legs, a broken spine, and a tough road to recovery. She has been amazing though as she has continued to improve from day to day with a whole lot of heart.

Anyways, one of her friends, Luke Jager headed up a running race for the community. He set up a little 5k course that weaved over logs, through trees, around in circles… you name it. It was pretty fun. It was amazing to see the community come together, with around 300 participants, who managed to raise $14,000 for Mary’s recovery.

So, this leads to last weekend. On Wednesday last week, I headed up to Fairbanks for a little on-snow time. Since Fairbanks has about 3 inches of snow, our team was off to find it. This weekend is also the First Tracks Camp, where all the skiers of Alaska group together for the first “on-snow” camp of the season.

It is pretty awesome, they all get to chase all the elite skiers around during training, and then there are a bunch of talks set up from Nutritionists, Health Specialists, NCAA skiers and coaches, and the World Cup Team. With everyone in the same place, everyone gets to take advantage of the others around them. This is the first time I have attended one of these First Tracks Camp, but it is pretty amazing. Thanks Matt Hajdukavich and Challenge Life Alaska for an awesome time!

The final day, we celebrated Halloween and dressed up in costumes for our ski. I was doing intervals this day, so it meant throwing down pretty hard in a pink onesie suit with a white cotton t-shirt on top. It provided for some entertainment though for sure.

Kikkan and Holly also organized a “world-cup field” for the final day where they brought all their race suits from other countries they have accumulated, and then raffled off who got to wear them the final day. The kids also got to wear world cup bibs on top, so it was pretty hilarious to watch the “foreigners” skiing around.

So after four days of sweet skiing, we had to head home for some good “home time” before leaving for the winter. This is also the hardest part. Trying to get your life truly organized before being gone from your home for potentially five months!! Yikes. In the mean time, if you see me on the side of the road dancing… I am just doing the snow dance!! C’mon snow.

USASJ’s Glasder Injured in Work Accident

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October 31, 2012 (Park City, UT) – U.S.A. ski jumping National Team member Mike Glasder (Cary, IL) has suffered a work-related injury, which will put the well-known jumper on the USASJ injuried list for an unknown period of time. Glasder, who recently came off from the annual Flaming Leaves event in Lake Placid with a strong third place and has enjoyed a strong summer of good results, was injured, when in his own words… “I was towing things back to a burn pile at work with a quad and the front tire hit some softer dirt which stopped the quad and sent me flying.” Glasder told the USASJ News Bureau he suffered a broken collarbone, which is now in four pieces.

Today Glasder told us of his current medical plans… “I had the options of surgery and letting my collarbone heal on it’s own, and after talking with Dr. Andy Chen (Alpine Clinic) and my doctor at home, I’ve decided to get a plate surgically installed so that my recovery time will be twice as fast. My doctor that will be performing the surgery said that the recovery should take about six weeks, but in my own mind I only see it taking about four weeks before I will get back on snow.”

The well-known Glasder, who has his eye on an Olympic berth for Sochi 2014 said that he is forward looking and expects things to go well. “I figure a little bit after Thanksgiving I will be able to put my skis on and get some good training in. I’m not the least bit worried about losing a step because jumping was going pretty well this Fall and I had some good training jumps at Norge before my injury as well as having really good ideas and mental images in my head at the moment.”

You’ve got to admired his comeback thoughts when he added…”This is just a small delay in my training and having to take a short break now will definitely make me even more excited about the coming Winter season.” Glasder is expected to be operated on Wednesday.

Also on the USASJ rehab list is Andover, NH jumper Nick Fairall, who continues to receive treatment at the Alpine Clinic in Franconia, NH, an official sponsor of the USASJ.

Frenette, Johnson Named to USASJ “A” Team

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October 25, 2012 (Park City, UT) – In an announcement made today by USA Ski Jumping’s CEO Jeff Hastings, two members of the USASJ squad have been elevated to “A” Team membership. Based upon their Grand Prix performances this Summer Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, NY) and Anders Johnson (Park City, UT) will be named immediately to the top team.

In making the announcement today Hastings–a 1984 U.S.A. Olympian, who was fourth in Sarajevo– said he was delighted by the progress both ski jumpers have made. “Anders and Peter’s performances this Summer and Fall have been really impressive and very much a validation for the program. Their results have provided a great financial boost to the program as USA Ski Jumping is now qualified to have two paid athletes and a coach at every World Cup event this Winter. Having two skiers performing at this level provides an enormous boost to the younger skiers in the U.S.A., as well. They get a picture of what they need to be doing and gain confidence that it’s possible. In a mind game like ski jumping, this kind of contact is critical. You need that first group to break through which breaks a path for others to follow”, Hastings said.

USASJ Athletic Director Alan Johnson said from the USASJ headquarters in Park City, UT today that the pair really stepped it up during the Summer. “Athletes earn a position on the “A” Team by either scoring Grand Prix or World Cup points or a top 10 in an international Continental Cup event. We are very pleased to have two athletes achieve this level in the first period of competition. We are on track with our goals at this point and very excited about the start of the second period in Lillehammer, Norway. These results will go a long way in helping USASJ athletes earn quota spots for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.” U.S. coach Clint Jones will travel with Johnson and Frenette this Winter.

The first FIS World Cup will get underway in Lillehammer, Norway in one month. The U.S.A. squad will assemble in Park City, UT soon for an intensive one-month camp, prior to the start of the competitive season.


U.S. Nordic Combined Team Names Stacked 2013 Squad

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October 19, 2012 (Predazzo, Italy) – With a strong summer of preparation behind, the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has its sights set on the 2013 World Championships and the Olympics in Sochi just a year away. A talented squad of 10 athletes, including three newcomers, was officially named during a final pre-season tune-up camp on the World Championship jumps in Italy following a camp at the Center of Excellence in Utah. A-Teamers Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) together account for a dozen Olympic and World Championship medals, along with Bryan Fletcher’s (Steamboat Springs, CO) stunning season-ending victory in the King’s Cup at Holmenkollen in Norway.

– The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team named 10 athletes to its 2012-13 squad led by Olympic medalists Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and King’s Cup winner Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO).
– Together, Demong, Lodwick and Spillane account for a dozen Olympic and World Championship medals.
– Bryan Fletcher established himself as a major contender last season, steadily building up to a breakthrough win in the final World Cup at Holmenkollen, taking the prestigious King’s Cup.
– Three newcomers were added to the B Team including Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI), Erik Lynch (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Michael Ward (Aspen, CO).
– The FIS World Cup season opens Nov. 24-25 on the Olympic venue in Lillehammer, Norway.
– The FIS Nordic Ski World Championships return to Val di Fiemme, Italy Feb. 20-Mar. 3, the site of Spillane’s breakthrough World Championship gold 10 years ago.
– Five Team athletes are enrolled in the U.S. Ski Team’s partnership program with Westminster College in Salt Lake City including Brett Denney, Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Nick Hendrickson and Adam Loomis.
– Following a successful camp at the USSA Center of Excellence, Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow in Utah, the Team was in Predazzo, Italy for a final tune-up on the World Championship jumps in Val di Fiemme.

Billy Demong, Olympic champion
This is a team with great depth – never in history have we had ten nordic combined guys who are so close. The first time trial of the year I was seventh but not even a minute back in a race 25 minutes long. We’ve had different guys take the lead over the course of the summer to push the team in training but especially Bryan (Fletcher) who has continued to be a yardstick on the jump hill, while his brother (Taylor Fletcher) is the toughest on the cross country side.

I am still following the roadmap I laid out after Vancouver. After a year almost off followed by a season of increased training and focus where I managed to get back on the podium, I am continuing to ramp it up mentally and physically.

I am certainly looking forward to World Championships this season. Val di Fiemme is a venue where I’ve had personal success and our team has made history with Johnny’s (Spillane) crown in 2003 and Todd and my one-two finish in 2010.

I feel that the team is much more competitive than in the past and looking forward to its continued growth and success. It’s exciting to see that our continued effort to work together is yielding amazing dividends and that making our world cup team is becoming an increasingly challenging endeavor.

Bryan Fletcher, Holmenkollen King’s Cup champion
Coming off last season with a win definitely kick started some momentum heading into training this summer. The most exciting thing is the momentum hasn’t worn off. Our team has picked up that momentum and is working hard to keep the ball rolling through the next season – hopefully helping all of us take that next step both individually and as a team.

This season is definitely important for many reasons, the most prominent reason being World Championships. Athletes particularly value this World Champs because it is the biggest event that precedes the Olympics. On the whole scale however this season is important because it’s a great chance to improve before the Olympics. There is a lot of experience that can be gained and a chance to put yourself in a great position results wise before the Olympic year.

Obviously a medal at World Championships would create some great momentum heading into next season. If nothing less this season signifies the countdown toward the Olympics, which I think every athlete gets a little giddy thinking about the next two years!

Dave Jarrett, Head Coach
Everyone has done a good job preparing for the season and we are psyched to start with strong A and B Teams. We have two important seasons coming up with World Championships and Olympics. We want to execute this year so that we have confidence going into the Olympic season.

The mix of youth and experience is good and the competition among teammates is making everyone better and keeping everyone honest.  Bryan (Fletcher), Taylor (Fletcher), Todd (Lodwick), and Johnny (Spillane) have had a solid summer of training among the A-Team. Billy (Demong) is still working on equipment issues but we expect him to running on all cylinders soon.  Nick Hendrickson, Adam Loomis and Michael Ward have taken a huge step this summer from the B-Team.

2013 U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team
Name, Hometown, Club (Skis (jumping/cross country), Boots (jumping/cross country), Bindings, Eyewear, Poles) Date of Birth
* Indicates Olympian
**Indicates Westminster College student

A Team
– Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, New York Ski Education Foundation (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex, Swix) 3/29/80 *
– Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Madshus) 6/27/86 **
– Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 5/11/90 * **
– Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Madshus, TBD, Swix) 11/21/76 *
– Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fluege/Atomic, Rass/Atomic, Atomic, Uvex, One Way) 11/24/80 *

B Team
– Brett Denney, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rotefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 2/26/90 **
– Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT, Park City Nordic Ski Club (Elan/Madshus, Rass/Alpina, Rottefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Swix) 6/20/91 **
– Adam Loomis, Eau Claire, WI, Eau Claire Flying Eagles Ski Club (Fluege/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex/Rudy Project, Madshus) **
– Erik Lynch, Steamboat Springs, UT, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (Fischer/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Madshus)
– Michael Ward, Aspen, CO, Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (Fischer/Madshus, Rass/Madshus, Rottefella, Uvex, Swix)

Coaching Staff
– Dave Jarrett, Head Coach
– Chris Gilbertson, World Cup Jumping Coach
– Greg Poirer, Continental Cup Coach/Development Coach

World Cup Service Team
– Andrej Jezeršek
– Matjaz Dobrovoljc

Official Nordic Combined Suppliers
– Uniforms
– Bjørn Dæhlie

– Alpina
– Atomic
– Bolle
– Briko
– Fischer
– Madshus
– Oakley
– OneWay
– 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

First Day on Snow in Fairbanks, Alaska

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October 17, 2012 (Fairbanks, Alaska) – There is snow in Alaska, and the gang at Birch Hill in Fairbanks took some great photos of the NSCF-FXC Comp Team out training yesterday afternoon. Last report was that there is more snow coming down. Just 145 days until the Junior Nationals start on these same trails.

Skiing was reportedly… “Still a bit scratchy, but hey, it’s skiing.”  The groomers rolled a couple of km, so the squad skied around a bit and did some double pole sprints as a group.