Tag Archive | "USA"

FIS Cross-Country Talk w/Liz Stephen

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June 28, 2013 – Liz Stephen of the US Ski team had a historic year in 2012/13, placing 5th in the 10k freestyle at the 2013 World Ski Championships (a best-ever finish for a US female), winning the Swiss National Championship 5km FR, along with a victory at the U.S. Distance Championships 30km CL.

Stephen was also part of the 4×5 km World Championships relay team that made US Ski team women’s history placing 4th. She was also part of the Olympic squad in 2010 and earned bronze at the U23 World Championships in 2008.

You were over in Norway for a personal training camp, and were recently up on the Sognefjell Snowfield. Are you training with specific athletes or did you join a Norwegian ski team camp?
Liz Stephen: I joined up with the Norwegian ski team for their 6-day camp. It was a really great experience and I am really grateful to their coaches, Egil and Roar who made it possible for me to join. I have really enjoyed the last two summers when I have gone over to Scandinavia to train with some new skiers and have made lasting friendships that makes living in Europe for five months much more enjoyable. Part of what is so great about this sport is making friends, but also learning from one another and trying to raise the level of the whole sport by sharing training ideas, pushing one another, and getting to know the other athletes. It’s been a really fun and beneficial experience for me, and I was welcomed with open arms by the Norwegian Team and even spent three extra days in Oslo at Celine Brun Lie’s house because I was having so much fun with the girls I didn’t want to leave quite yet!

Last summer you and your US ski team teammates shared in a camp with the Swedish Women’s Ski Team in Sweden, and have had joint camps with the Canadian women in Alaska the past two summers. These must be positive experiences if you continue to do them each year?
LS: YES! Very positive! I have made so many new friends, learned so much from the Swedish and Norwegian Teams and had a really good time training hard with new groups of athletes. I think it really gives me a jump start to my summer of training and adds an element of fun that gets me psyched to work hard for the next four months before we hit the road in November again.

For North American athletes you spend most if not all of the winter in Europe. Does having friends on the different teams make the time away from home an easier experience?
LS: Yes, for sure. Our women’s team all feels like after spending time with the Swedish National Team last year we all have a great group of friends to hang with each weekend, and it makes the whole scene seem more like home and less intimidating. If you are away from home for five months, only spending time with your teammates, and racing 70 girls whom you only know by name, the scene gets very stale. Now that we feel we have friends in those 70 people who used to be just names on a result sheet, the whole atmosphere lightens and becomes much easier to enjoy and as a result, ski faster. Happy athletes perform better.

You are coming off your strongest World Cup season ever, and recorded the best ever distance finish (5th place 10km free technique) for a US female cross-country skier at the recent 2013 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy. After such a successful season do you make any changes this summer or just try and replicate last year’s plan?
L.S.: There are always changes that I make to the training each year. Some years the changes are big and some years just little tweaks, but there are always things that I think of during the season, even on a good year that I think I can improve on during the next season’s preparation period. This year, I will just tweak the training from last year a bit, adding certain elements that I think were lacking a bit during the season, and taking away things that I tried but didn’t think made much of a difference.

You and your teammates gathered a great deal of attention at the start of the season with your first ever World Cup 4 x 5km relay podium, and followed up with a 4th place finish in the same event at the World Championships. Is an Olympic medal in the relay at “team” goal for the coming year in Sochi?
LS: Yes, that is for sure a huge goal of ours, and it is for sure my biggest goal for next year. I can’t imagine a more meaningful medal than one that is won by a team of people, though I believe any medal that is won, even individually, takes a team to make it happen.

If you don’t mind sharing, what are your individual goals from the coming year?
LS: My goals for the year are for a top 10 at the Tour de Ski, be a consistent top-10 World Cup skier, and my biggest individual race focus will be the Olympic 30K Freestyle race where I hope to win a medal.

Read more HERE.

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.”

Birkie Hosts 16 Worldloppet Nations in Wisconsin – June 13-16

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June 12, 2013 (Hayward, WI) – On June 13-16, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation will host delegates from all 16 nations of the Worldloppet Ski Federation at the Worldloppet Annual General Meeting in Hayward/Cable, Wisconsin. The American Birkebeiner will host both meetings and times to socialize at various venues in Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin, including Lakewoods Resort and the Lumberjack Village.

The Worldloppet Annual General Meeting is a time for ski marathon organizations to sit down together and work on ways to continually improve and promote the sport of cross country skiing worldwide. This will be the first time in approximately 15 years that the American Birkebeiner has hosted this annual Worldloppet meeting.

“The American Birkebeiner is extremely honored and excited to be hosting the organizers of the other great ski marathon races from around the world. To also have the opportunity to show off the iconic Birkie Trail as well as our local communities is fantastic,” says Ben Popp, new Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.

Below is more about the Worldloppet Ski Federation, from the organization’s website at www.Worldloppet.com.

Worldloppet Ski Federation:
Worldloppet is an international sports federation of cross-country skiing marathons. The federation was founded in 1978 in Uppsala, Sweden. The aim of Worldloppet is to promote the sport of cross-country skiing through the various ski races around the world.

Worldloppet Members:
Only one and the best race from a country can be a member of Worldloppet. The youngest member is a polish race, Bieg Piastow, that was admitted by Worldloppet Annual General Meeting in Mora, SWE, 2008. Worldloppet currently unites 16 races from Europe, America, Asia and Australia:

  • Europe: Jizerská padesátka (CZE), Dolomitenlauf (AUT), Marcialonga (ITA), König Ludwig Lauf (GER), Tartu Maraton (EST), La Transjurassienne (FRA), Finlandia-hiihto (FIN), Vasaloppet (SWE), Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), Birkebeinerrennet (NOR), Bieg Piastow (POL)
  • North America: American Birkebeiner (USA), Gatineau Loppet (CAN)
  • Asia: Sapporo International Ski Marathon (JPN) Demino Ski Marathon (RUS)
  • Australia: Kangaroo Hoppet

Worldloppet Strategy:

  • High quality ski races around the World. Only one and the best race from a country can be a member of Worldloppet.
  • Regularity and continuity. Each race, having its own history, traditions and program, is held usually at the same time every year. After completing 10 different Worldloppet races, at least one of them overseas, a skier can apply for the Worldloppet Master title.
  • Races for everybody. Races different by length, technique, landscape and target group attract 80 000 participants every year.
  • Participation of elite skiers. FIS Marathon Cup, consisting of 10 Worldloppet races, is a Worldloppet series for top skiers.

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.

FIS Interview w/Kikkan Randall in Dubrovnik

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June 06, 2013 (Dubrovnik, Croatia) – FIS Newsflash caught up with FIS Cross-Country World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (USA) on the eve of the 2013 FIS Calendar Conference. Randall is present in Cavtat-Dubrovnik (CRO) for her role as one of the two Athlete Representatives for Cross-Country Skiing within the FIS Athlete Commission. The FIS Council has to formally confirm all members on June 10.

You were recently re-elected as the female athlete representative for Cross-Country Skiing. It was four years ago in 2009 when you first attended one of these meetings that just happened to be in Cavtat-Dubrovnik as well. Looking back over those four years, do you return to this location with positive feelings from your role as a Cross-Country Athlete rep?
Kikkan Randall: You know being back here in Dubrovnik really helps me reflect on the past four years. When I arrived the first time in Dubrovnik I really didn’t know what I was doing, and now four years later I know the ropes much better and have built what I feel is a solid platform for me to be able to represent the needs of the athletes.

What is on the agenda for you this year?
KR: We had a very productive athlete’s survey that focused on a few things on the calendar. For next season and the seasons beyond, we will be able to provide clear and direct feedback on things like what competitions and formats the athletes would like to see. Also I will continue to work to improve little things like athlete areas and execution of prize money payment. These are small details but this is a great time to bring attention to those items here at the meetings. It’s also important that I also take back what I learn here and present it to the athletes.

During your first term as athlete rep you were partnered with Sami Jauhojärvi of Finland. What were your first moves to build influence within FIS on behalf of the athletes?
KR: Working with Sami we developed a network and a way of getting feedback from the athletes and presenting it in a manageable form for the FIS Cross-Country Committee. Over those four years the process has become more refined and we now have an established pathway to make the needs and the concerns of the athletes heard.

As a result of your work on behalf of the athletes, you now have a voting right at the table of the FIS Cross-Country Committee. That is a first time for such a right for athlete representatives within FIS.
KR: I think that is one of the biggest accomplishments that Sami and I have achieved over the past four years. It’s huge for us. We really took the lead from the IOC Athlete Commission, where they have representation at the highest level on their Executive Board.

Aside from the FIS meetings, how is your training going in the new year?
KR: Our US competition season continued about 2 weeks longer than usual this year, so it feels like it has been a quick turnaround since my season ended, but I have been back to training again for three weeks now. I am being cautious so far to make sure none of the foot trouble I had last season resurfaces. It’s been a good start and enthusiasm is high with it being an Olympic year. I am hoping to be able to get a few little training sessions here while in Croatia.

Thank you for your time. Good luck with the meetings and the upcoming training and competition year.
KR: Thanks.

Flora to Present NANANordic to International Olympic Academy in Greece

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June 06, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska) – Lars Flora, two-time Olympian and executive director and founder of NANANordic, is one of three U.S. representatives chosen to participate in the International Olympic Academy (IOA) from June 11 – 25, 2013, in Athens and Olympia, Greece. The other two are U.S. Olympic Committee staffers.

The IOA’s goal is to educate and motivate young people to use their experiences and knowledge gained from the session productively in promoting the Olympic ideas and educating others in their own countries. Flora will present NANANordic to the 200 participants from around the globe taking part in this year’s event.

“This has been an amazing journey,” said Flora. “We’ve introduced nearly 2,000 children in Northwest Alaska to Nordic skiing, giving them another winter recreation opportunity in a region where there’s snow on the ground eight months out of the year. This is just the beginning. Timing for the conference is great – we’re in the planning stages for our third season now. I’m looking forward to hearing ideas that will help NANANordic become even more successful.”

NANANordic was formed to introduce the lifetime sport of cross-country skiing to rural Alaska through a sustainable Nordic ski program, starting with villages in the NANA region. Two-time Olympian Lars Flora brought the idea to NANA Development Corporation in 2011. Funded by corporate and individual donations, Flora and 20 volunteers, in cooperation with the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, provided a month of cross-country ski instruction to 650 students in Kotzebue, Kiana, Selawik and Noorvik in 2012. This year, approximately 2,000 children in all NANA region villages, as well as Anaktuvuk Pass, had an opportunity to learn to cross-country ski from more than 45 volunteers consisting of Olympians, World Cup athletes, University and college coaches and elite high school athletes.

For more information on NANANordic.com or facebook.com/NANANordic.

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






Team USA Interview w/Billy Demong

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May 31, 2013 – Check out a great interview with 2010 Nordic Combined Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Demong (USA). Steve Mesler of the 2010 gold medal winning four-man bobsled team does the interviewing honours as Demong reflects on Vancouver 2010 and articulates his feelings on the lead-up to Sochi 2014 as defending champion. “This year I didn’t medal at World Championships (individually), and for sure didn’t kill it, and I think that makes me more motivated for sure,” says Demong… read the interview HERE.

Final 2012/13 USSA SuperTour Standings and Grand Champions Named

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May 06, 2013 – Here are the final USSA SuperTour standings and Grand National Champions for the 2012/13 season. Rosie Brennan (APUNSC) and Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley SEF) are the women’s and men’s overall SuperTour winners. Brennan also secured the women’s sprint and distance standings. On the men’s side, Sinnott scored top spot in the sprint rankings, while Erik Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) cleaned up in the distance rankings. The Grand National Champion title went to Sadie Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) for the women, while Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol) earned the crown in the men’s contest.

Women’s Overall Leader
1. Rosie Brennan (APUNSC) 654 points
2. Sadie Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 507 points
3. Kate Fitzgerald (APUNSC) 362 points

Women’s Sprint Leader
1. Rosie Brennan (APUNSC) 232 points
2. Sadie Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 207 points
2. Jennie Bender (CXC) 207 points

Women’s Distance Leaders
1. Rosie Brennan (APUNSC) 422 points
2. Sadie Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 300 points
3. Caitlin Gregg (CXC) 254 points

Women’s Grand National Champion
1. Sadie Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST)
2. Rosie Brennan (APUNSC)
3. Kate Fitzgerald (APUNSC)

Men’s Overall Leaders
1. Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley SEF) 474 points
2. Erik Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 445 points
3. Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol) 334 points

Men’s Sprint Leaders
1. Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley SEF) 200 points
2. Dakota Blackhorse (Bend Endurance Academy) 167 points
3. Erik Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 138 points

Men’s Distance Leaders
1. Erik Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST) 307 points
2. Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley SEF) 274 points
3. Brian Gregg (CXC) 249 points

Men’s Grand National Champion
1. Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol)
2. Erik Bjornsen (APUNSC/USST)
3. Tad Elliott (SSC Vail/USST)

Women’s Final USSA SuperTour Rankings HERE.

Men’s Final USSA SuperTour Rankings HERE.

USSA Grand National Champion Rankings HERE.

*The tie on the Grand Nationals Champion document is denoted in yellow and tie breaker in blue.

Diggins Report – Freak Snowstorms… and Car Troubles

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May 03, 2013 – Okay, what is UP with snow on May 2…? And not just a dusting of it – 6.5 inches in my backyard! A half-hour’s drive North of Afton there wasn’t any snow at all, and down by Redwing they got about a foot. This is weird.

I went out to the park today (the Afton State Park, where they don’t groom but you can break your own trail and poach the downhill slopes of Afton Alps) and had a really fun ski. It was slow going and the snow brought down more than a few trees, so there was a lot of ducking going on while cruising downhill.

I was debating whether or not to post about my “car troubles”, but since no real lasting damage was done, I decided… why not? I already write about most everything else going on in my life.

This was two spring snowstorms ago, on April 18th. It started out as icy rain, which quickly froze and started turning to snow. I wasn’t psyched about driving in it in the first place, but I needed to get my little sister from the bus stop, so I decided I’d be fine if I just drove slow. So I got my sister and headed home.

But we weren’t fine. Neither was the car.

The annoying this is, I thought I was doing everything right. I had both hands on the wheel, was going super slow, wasn’t on my phone, ect. But at the top of a hill about a mile and a half from home, I drove under some trees where the rain had frozen and must have tapped my brakes at exactly the wrong time. The car started to skid, and I panicked, and probably made it worse by overadjusting.

We went off the road and hit a tree going sideways, scraping along before coasting into a cornfield. The windshield cracked, the two left windows shattered, the side airbags deployed and the frame bent inwards. If we had gone off the road three feet later, we wouldn’t have hit anything and been fine, but if we had gone off the side three feet earlier, we would have been seriously hurt. As it was, Mackenzie’s side of the car was completely pristine and she was shaken up but fine, and although my side looked wrecked I was also untouched except for a few small cuts from the glass all over me.

I was actually able to drive the car out of the ditch, but since the airbags went off and all, it was decided that the car was totaled. Luckily, our insurance was great and we were able to get a new car. The only lasting damage is this: the song “Radioactive” was playing when we hit the tree and now everytime I’m driving and the song comes on the radio, I get a sudden wave a panic and have to change the station. Super weird and annoying, because I loved that song. But life goes on!

I guest coached the strength workout today for Loppet Nordic Racing, which was fun. They were a really motivated group and it was cool to share new ideas and have everyone try them out.

Visiting Podiumwear in the cities was a real treat – I got to see what new fabrics and designs are coming out soon! Luckily I’m writing, not talking, so I don’t accidentally spill the secrets :)

I also got to kayak in a pool as part of a relay – the YMCA challenge games in Red Wing, MN. I was part of the Red Wing Slumberland Furniture team, and it was suprisingly challenging to navigate a turn around a buoy in a narrow lane!

Distance Nationals 50km CL Interviews w/Freeman, Newell, and Ulsund at USSA SuperTour Finals in Lake Tahoe

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April 12, 2013 (Truckee, CA) – Kris Freeman powered away from his competitors at the end of the men’s 50km CL Distance National Championhips, besting teammate Andy Newell, to win the coveted 2013 U.S. title in Lake Tahoe following the USSA SuperTour Finals. In this video, Martha Bellisle recaps the race with some great action footage and catches up with Freeman, Newell, and third place, Norway’s Einar Ulsund, for their comments on the race – full report and results HERE.

Stockholm WCup CL Sprint Qualifications – Gaiazova 4th, Newell 10th

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March 20, 2013 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova placed fourth in the Stockholm classic sprint qualifications led by Finland’s Anne Kylloenen. Fellow Finn Kerttu Niskanen qualified second, with Slovenia’s Katja Visnar in third. American results include USA’s Ida Sargent 11th, Kikkan Randall 22nd, and Holly Brooks in 26th. Jessie Diggins (USA), Rosie Brennan (USA), Liz Stephen (USA), and Emily Nishikawa (CAN) failed to make it through to the heats, placing 34th, 40th, 44th, and 47th, respectfully.

On the men’s side, USA’s Andy Newell logged the top North American time to qualify 10th with Norway’s Eldar Roenning leading the charge, followed by Russia’s Nikita Kriukov, and Emil Joensson (NOR) in second and third. Other top favourites, Dario Cologna (SUI) and Petter Northug (NOR) qualified fifth and seventh, respectively.

USA’s Torin Koos was the next-highest North American qualifier in 24th, while Canucks Devon Kershaw and Len Valjas managed to just squeeze into the top 30 in 28th and 30th, respectively. Alex Harvey (CAN) did not make it through with a 32nd place qualifier, along with teammates Michael Somppi and Ivan Babikov in 48th and 50th, respectively. USA’s Noah Hoffman was 52nd.

Women’s Qualifications HERE.
Men’s Qualifications HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest FINAL Standings and Winners Announced

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March 11, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are thrilled to announce the winners and final overall standings of the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest following the one week waiting period that recognizes the Doping De-Points rule.

Check out the contest standings after the Men’s 50km CL, the final event of the Val di Fiemme 2013 Worlds HERE and read about how Sweden’s Johan Olsson delivered an astounding historic win in the event after a 35km-solo effort HERE.

And now for the winners… Team Northug – antoine-briand was able to hang on to the lead with a total of 335 points to claim the fabulous grand prize a Salomon SLab package including skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497).

The second place prize, a cool pair of Alpina ESK ski boots, goes to Team CATZ4LYFE with 280 points. And Team Rob in third place with 270 points receives an awesome pair of Fischer Carbonlite poles.

Congratulations to all winners and thanks again to all contestants and our great sponsors including Salomon, Alpina, Fischer, Bjorn Daehlie, One Way, 2XU, Ski*Go, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

For the complete final FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds contest standings, please click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Winners

– Team Northug – antoine-briand – Antoine Briand – Sept-Iles, QC
1st Prize
Salomon SLab package skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497)

– CATZ4LYFE – William Spiller  – Ketchum, ID
2nd Prize
 – Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)

– Rob – Rob Ragotte – Toronto, ON
3rd Prize – Fischer
Carbonlite Poles ($339)

– Redjacket – Connie Johnson – Calgary, AB
4th Prize
 – Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)

– peaches – Sebastien Townsend – Chelsea, QC
5th Prize
 – One Way Skate 7 Roller Skis (value $250)

– asterion – Elise Ruet – Montalieu, France
6th Prize 
2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– Max’s – Max Liles – Superior, CO
7th Prize
–  Ski*go Large Wax Box with XC kickwaxes/cork/scraper (value $190)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
8th Prize
Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)

– Redbird – Craig Cardinal – Northfield, MN
9th Prize
 – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– beaujo – Rene Berrod – Fleurie, France
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).

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!

Karhu 2014 – SIA 2013 Demo at Devil’s Thumb Videos Part 3

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March 07, 2013 (Devil’s Thumb Ranch, CO) – Karhu is back in the U.S. after a few years of absence from the market. The brand, which is best known for its line of ski touring equipment, has a huge range of gear for the 2013/14 season, including cross-country skis and boots. The company has now partnered with Craft, known for endurance sport clothing, and is now introducing a new line of eyewear to complete the comprehensive Nordic and back country ski touring equipment line-up.

Fitzgerald Leads USA Women’s Sweep at Slavic Cup 10/15km CL Pursuit in Nove Mesto

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March 04, 2013 (Nove Mesto, Czech Republic) – Kate Fitzgerald (USA) bettered her performance landing on the top step of the podium at the Slavic Cup in Nove Mesto on day 2 of the competition in the women’s 10km CL Pursuit, leading an American sweep of the top three spots, with Sophie Caldwell and Rosie Brennan finishing second and third, respectively.

Patrick Caldwell was the best American finisher in the 15km men’s event placing ninth, followed by Eric Packer in 20th, and Peter Kling in 28th. Jakub Graef (CZE) won the event.

Women’s 10km CL Pursuit HERE.
Men’s 15km CL Pursuit HERE.

Norway Claims Men’s Team Relay Gold at 2013 Nordic Worlds – USA 10th, Canada 12th

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March 01, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – Like their female counterparts the Norwegian men, took the gold in the 4x10km relay event at the FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy on Friday and once again defended their title. But spectators were on the edge of their seats as a late race bid by Sweden’s Calle Halvarsson threatened the four final contenders including the famed Petter Northug (NOR).

Northug responded on the final Zorzi climb as he and Halvarsson shook off Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov and Italy’s David Hofer making it a two-horse race. Halvarsson was still leading over the final bridge to the finish but Northug quickly caught his rival and took over the lead down the finishing lanes for the win by a 1.2s margin.

The battle for bronze was won by Ustiugov who sprinted fiercely for third over Hofer denying the host nation spot on the final podium. It was a close finish in the 40km event as the top five all crossed the line within 12s of one another. Teams USA and Canada finished 10th and 12th, respectively.

Waxing played a large role as race day dawned at a balmy 10°C. The pack stuck close together on the first two laps of the race as Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson and Russia’s Evgeniy Belov set the pace. Germany’s Hannes Dotzler was also high up in the fray, animating the action with an attack on the final lap, which was marked by Norway’s Torde Asle Gjerdalen. The USA’s Andy Newell was well positioned near the front throughout the race and was a strong 5th at the exchange. Canada’s Len Valjas skied well over the first two laps as well but dropped to 11th as the 10km-leg ended.

Leg #2 saw Germany’s Tobias Angerer leading a seven-man group, including Norway, Sweden and USA. However, a motivated chase group soon caught back on to double the size of the lead group, that included the USA’s Kris Freeman who was well-positioned near the front as Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin assumed control at the front. Canada’s Devon Kershaw in 12th tried to bridge to the leaders.

Local fans cheered loudly as veteran Giorgio Di Centa (ITA), at his 9th Nordic Worlds, seized the opportunity to attack on the Velena climb on final lap. But Swiss superstar Dario Cologna jumped on his tail, followed by Vylegzhanin, Angerer, Johan Olsson (SWE), and Eldar Roenning (NOR) to create a lead group of six. Freeman and Kershaw did not make the selection, with the American skier handing off to Noah Hoffman in 9th at 1:14 back with Kershaw tagging Ivan Babikov in 12th.

The start of the third leg saw the top six nations stay together with Norway, Russia and Sweden exchanging the lead. Japan’s Nobu Naruse, whose squad was putting together a brilliant race, chased in seventh, followed by the Czech Republic in eighth. USA’s Noah Hoffman had a strong leg with the 5th fastest time but the team remained in 10th as Babikov fought in vain as well. On the final lap Sweden’s Marcus Hellner attacked as Russia’s Alexander Legkov responded along with Sjur Roethe (NOR) as four leaders charged to the final transition as Germany and Switzerland suffered behind.

The final leg of the race started slowly as the strategizing began at a training pace. Suddenly Germany’s Axel Teichmann was able to regain contact with the lead group, while the other trailing skiers also gained back time including the USA’s Tad Elliott. On the second lap of the leg, Elliot was positioned in seventh as Finland’s Matti Heikkinen put in a surge and bridged to the front group putting his team back into contention. Canada’s anchor, Alex Harvey, was too far back to fight for contention.

As the finish approached, the lead group – now six strong – picked up the pace forcing the chasers to dig even deeper. Sweden’s  Halfvarsson finally initiated the attack before the on the last climb up Zorzi and the only skier able to respond was Northug. But the Norwegian veteran was on to Halfvarsson like bees to honey and suddenly they emerged at the front of the race alone contesting the gold. The storming Northug gave Norwegian fans what they were hoping for and defended Norway’s relay title yet again. The USA finished in 10th and Canada ended up 12th.

Full results HERE.
Full results detail HERE.

USA Women Ski Jumpers to be Featured on NBC News’ Rock Center – Mar. 1

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March 01, 2013 (Park City, UT) – Women’s ski jumping will be featured on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” on Friday, March 1 at 10 p.m/9 central. The segment, “Flight Delay”, shares the story of Lindsey Van and her teammates as they train to compete and make their Olympic debut in Sochi 2014.

“Rock Center” Correspondent Kate Snow interviewed and spent time with Van, Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson, Abby Hughes, Alissa Johnson, and Deedee Corradini, Women’s Ski Jumping USA president, in Park City and in Germany during World Cup competition.

“I’ve watched Olympic ski jumping since I was a kid, but I simply never realized there was a reason I was watching only MEN do the jumping,” said Snow. “When I heard about the fight these women have waged, I wanted to meet them.”

The Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team is ranked No. 1 in the world going into the final two World Cup competitions of the season. The team is led by 18-year-old Hendrickson, who recently won gold at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

“The next year is going to be both exciting and critical for our U.S. women ski jumpers and we’re thrilled that Kate Snow and NBC’s ‘Rock Center’ chose to tell their inspiring story in prime time,” Corradini said.

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

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

Diggins Report – Checking Out Sochi

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January 28, 2013 (Sochi, Russia) – At the moment, the 5th Russian fix-it-man of the day is watching Holly try to explain/pantomime that the upstairs shower leaks through the ceiling and upstairs someone else is working on the pipes. And this has been the “down-time” part of the last few days! Russia has been very exciting, like this huge adventure. I’m never quite sure what to expect, where to go and when to be there, but it’s cool as long as you go with the flow. And don’t bother asking questions – you won’t get anywhere!

So here’s how our travel to Sochi started: we drove to the Zurich Airport a full 4 hours before our flight was supposed to leave. Just in case, you know. And we had to tag and drop off all our ski bags and duffels, and then go purchase tickets inside. Then we boarded the plane. So far, this sounds like a normal travel day, right?

Because this was a charter flight full of athletes and all their skis, wax tables, benches and boxes, there were about 90 bags that didn’t make the flight. But not for lack of trying. The last 10-ish rows of the plane had the seats folded down and duffels stacked up – and the row in front of them was emptied “for safety reasons”. In case the bags started sliding, I guess. I think the plane was weighted funny because when we landed, we landed HARD and there might have been a few screams from the back row (we were in the back rows).

But the flight was fine, and then we had to get through customs. Turns out getting into Russia isn’t that easy and you need an invitation, then a visa, and then you fill out identical sides of this tiny piece of paper that they stamp. What they don’t emphasize nearly enough is that the other half of that little paper is your ticket back out, and you can’t lose it. Just don’t let it out of your sight!

Our team was really lucky and all our bags made it through, so we loaded them into these huge trucks and then waited in the rain for a bus. Once we were on the bus, we waited on the side of the road for 30 minutes, then drove slowly through traffic up to the venue. Then waited some more, before going through accreditation processing.

Once we got our credentials, which you also CANNOT LOSE because there are guards in fur hats everywhere that check your creds at all these checkpoints, we went through another security scanner. Then we hopped into a gondola that took us to the Olympic village and trails at the top of the mountain, at the venue called “Laura”. Turns out the venue is named after a raging river, which is named after a girl named Laura who jumped in it to kill herself instead of living with an old prince she didn’t love. Whoa. More info on the venue and 2014 Olympics in general HERE.

After getting off the gondola, we had to check in again to get our keys to the condo, and after eating dinner at 1:00am we took the bumpiest bus ride EVER to get to our lodging. It was super exciting! We all thought the bus ride was hilarious so everyone had their phones out. The picture below helps to explain some of the bumpy ride. So yep, that was our travel to Russia! But because we arrived in the dead of night, we woke up to see beautiful mountains and check out the venue.

Basically, we’re staying in brand spanking new condos that have 5 rooms each, for 10 people total, and they’re super roomy. The only problem is the aforementioned leak in the ceiling whenever Simi and Noah shower. But we’re working on that! However, most of the village is still under construction so there are cranes and construction crews all over.

And the GUARDS. They are everywhere, and there must be several hundred volunteers all in blue jackets. The volunteers are super friendly and most speak very good english, but most of the guards don’t say a word. Except when they stop the buses to check everyone’s credentials. I told you – you don’t want to lose that thing!

Once you leave the really modern new strip of housing, things get a little messy. And I do mean that literally since there is mud and water all over, and in some parts of the road all you can smell is sewage. But what I noticed most was the absolute lack of privacy. Some people say “God is always watching”…but now I know the real deal. The Russians are always watching. There are cameras everywhere, along the fences, on the course, in the entrances to buildings.

The dining hall is about an 8-minute walk away, up the side of the bunny hill where little kids in boots up to their knees are bombing around. And what starts out as a waist-high metal fence on the right slowly morphs into a 10-foot tall fence with barbed wire spiraling over the top and cameras mounted in all directions along the wall. On our side of the fence are the new buildings, glass-walled bars, chalets and chairlifts, and on the other side there is mud, construction zones, and containers stacked on containers that provide housing for the workers. And I’m not complaining about a thing because I’m on the right side of that fence!

So here are some things I’ve figured out about Sochi so far:
– The ski trails are amazing – rolling, super wide, and with seperate trials for cross country and biathalon
– There are also two seperate stadiums, and while the biathalon is a permanent structure, the cross country stadium is a temporary one. But it’s still gigantic.
– It doesn’t look like there are other lodging options up here except for the condos, but there is a hotel at the bottom of the gondola where some of the teams are staying.
– There seem to be rules and regulations about so many little things. Like checkpoints, fences, credentials, transport, meal tickets.
– And then sometimes there seem to be no rules at all. Like what time you eat and train at, or whether your wax cabin is unlocked.

The races start on Friday with a skate sprint, Saturday a 15km skiathalon, and Sunday is the classic team sprint. I’m excited to be here and will put up more pictures when I can!

USA’s Patterson, Bjornsen Lead NA Skiers at U23 Nordic Worlds 10/15km FR Titles – Haga, Ustiugov Win

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January 24, 2013 (Liberec, Czech Republic) – On Day 4 of the 2013  U23/Junior Nordic World Ski Championships, Ragnhild Haga took home  the first gold medal for the ambitious Norwegian team winning the women’s 10km FR race. The men’s 15km FR competition was clearly dominated by the Russians as they won gold and silver.

Team USA’s Caitlin Patterson and Erik Bjornsen led the North Americans, placing 14th and 15th in the women’s and men’s competitions, respectively.

Kazakhstan also celebrated their first medal of the championships winning silver in the women’s 10km thanks to Anastasia Slonova, while the bronze medal went to Italy, courtesy of Debora Agreiter.

USA’s Sophie Caldwell finished 17th in the women’s race, with teammates Annie Pokorny and Elizabeth Guiney in 29th and 42nd, respectively. Heidi Widmer posted the top Canadian women’s result in 28th place, while Annika Hicks finished 37th, Andrea Lee placed 40th, and Marlis Kromm took 43rd.

Bjornsen’s men’s teammate Sam Tarling finished 39th in the 15km event, followed by David Norris in 50th and Eric Packer in 54th. Top Canadian man was Colin Abbott in 63rd. Patrick Stewart-Jones (CAN) finished 71st.

Women’s 10km Individual Free – Haga Scores First Gold for Norway
Fifty one women set off on the demanding course in Vesec on Thursday morning. The conditions were worsened by thickly falling snow and hard frost. Nevertheless, only two skiers failed to reach the finish.

“I am really satisfied. Today, it was a real exhausting race; I could not afford to relax. Two years ago, I triumphed at the junior world championship so I am happy that I managed to pick up on this success,” said winner Ragnhild Haga.

Haga literally flew through the course and left second-placed Slonova half a minute behind. She was especially strong in the second half of the race. It was the young Kazakh, however, who performed admirably after the unsuccessful first third of the race when she overtook seven competitors and got a well-deserved silver.

Anastasia Slonova: “I feel good after the race. I am really pleased with the result. We watched the weather carefully, so we were able to prepare the skis very well. It is a great achievement for us, indeed. We picked up on the successful performances during the World Cup competition which took place in Liberec few days ago.”

Debora Agreiter: “I do not know what I lacked for being the second placed. I guess I did not have enough strength at the end; after all, it was a difficult race. But I am still excited about the third place.”

Men’s 15km Individual Free – Russian Dominance
The strong Russians again confirmed their role as favourites of the cross-country competitions. The 15km freestyle was won by Sergey Ustiugov ahead of Evgeniy Belov. The bronze medal goes to Germany thanks to Thomas Bing.

Just before noon on Thursday, 84 competitors set off on an extremely demanding course in Vesec. Conditions were really difficult, as the skiers were slowed down by freshly fallen snow.

Ustiugov dominated the whole race and was the fastest at all split times. In the end he triumphed with a lead of nineteen seconds. The twenty-year-old Russian followed his great performance of last year at the WC in Turkey, where he won four gold medals. His countryman Belov won his second medal at these championships. On Tuesday, it was silver in the sprint.

“It is fantastic! I feel really wonderful. I achieved my goal: I was in first position for the whole race. I feel really happy,” rejoiced the confident winner Sergey Ustiugov from Russia after the finish.

Evgeniy Belov: “I am really satisfied with the result of the race. Today´s race was just a training for the next month – I will started at the FIS Nordic World Ski in Val di Fiemme in Italy, so I did not expect medal. That pleased me more.“

Thomas Bing: “I am incredibly happy. Today, it was a really tough race. I did not want to overvalue the start; I saved my energy for the end. And it was worth it: as time went on, I worked my way to the fourth place – thanks to the cooperation with Clementini from Italy, as well. And then, I got enough strength in the finish.”

Women’s 10km Free results HERE.
Men’s 15km Free results HERE.

Complete results are available at www.liberec2013.cz.

USSA SuperTour Tour de Twin Cities 15/20km CL – Bender, Koos Win

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January 21, 2013 (Minneapolis, MN) – Jennie Bender (CXC) and Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol) scored the women’s and men’s wins, respectively, in the 15/20km Classic Mass start event, Stage 2 of round #4 of the 2013 USSA SuperTour’s Tour de Twin Cities at Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday.

Bender won by a healthy margin of 6.5s over her closest competitor, Rosie Brennan (APU), while APU’s Kate Fitzgerald rounded out the podium in third place, trailing by 8s. Raphaela Sieber (University of Alaska Fairbanks) was the top collegiate women.

Koos edged out Brian Gregg (Central Cross Country Team) for first place by 1.9s with Canada’s David Greer (Yukon Elite Squad) close behind at 2.4s in third. Top collegiate skier was Jonas Loeffler (University of Alaska Fairbanks).

The Stage 3 Classic Sprint scheduled for Monday, January 21 has been rescheduled to Friday, January 25 due to weather.

Full results HERE.

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

Canada’s Mark Arendz Grabs Third Straight Silver at IPC World Cup in Wisconsin

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January 18, 2013 (Cable, WI) – Canada’s Mark Arendz followed up three of the best cross-country ski races of his career with his third silver medal of the week – this time in a individual biathlon race at the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wisconsin.

The 22-year-old Arendz, who finished second overall in the IPC biathlon World Cup biathlon standings the last two years, grabbed the 18th medal of his career after clocking a time of 40:02.6 in the individual event. Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., was on pace to his first gold medal of the season, but missed one shot in four rounds of shooting in the tight race to the finish.

“That was close, and I mean close by 3.8 seconds,” said Arendz. “It was a bummer to not shoot clean and win, but that close out in second is a good result. I skied pretty well, and we have a plan in place for tomorrow.”

Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset won the men’s individual start with a time of 39:58.8 (0+0+1+1). Russia’s Oleg Balukhto shot clean to grab the bronze medal with a time of 40:58.7.

The IPC Biathlon World Cup continues on Friday in Cable, Wisconsin.

Full results HERE.

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.

Swix Sport Announces New Swix Sonic Adjustable Poles

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January 16, 2013 (Haverhill, MA) – Swix Sport is set to launch a new adjustable pole collection for the 2013/14 season called Swix Sonic, designed to be the most advanced adjustable pole to ever hit the market.

With an emphasis on detail and advanced materials, the design has been tested and manipulated to guarantee superior performance with stiffness and ease of use never seen before in an adjustable pole.

At the heart of the pole is a revolutionary new locking system that will change the way people use poles.

The Swix Sonic collection will include four different models ranging in size and price from $99 up to $249. The collection ranges from aluminum poles at the lower end to lightweight carbon poles at the high end – all featuring the new adjustable locking system.

The advanced construction of the new Swix Sonic poles includes four unique elements:
– Handle and Strap – Easily adjustable handle and strap system with universal ergonomic fit for hand and glove. The handle offers two unique functions. A beveled straight edge is designed into the handle to help clean the top surface of skies for packed snow and can also be used to adjust rando bindings without having to bend over.
– Adjustable Locking System – Provides 100 percent reliable fixation and intuitive usage. Constructed with a silicone-coated grip that will stay soft even in the most extreme conditions. Unlike other adjustable poles, the locking system is located higher up on the pole to improve performance and reduce weight. The all alloy locking mechanism can be completely disassembled without tools for bombproof durability and reliability in the backcountry.
– Disc Basket System – Features interchangeable baskets for varying snow conditions made from super lightweight PVC coated nylon that provides for superior swing weight.
– Shaft – Made from an ultra-lightweight composite carbon technique to ensure maximum strength stiffness and durability. The collection offers four models ranging from the R4, which includes aluminum shafts, up to the R1, made with 100% Carbon-fiber in top and bottom portions of the pole. With over 25 years of racing heritage, Swix Sport has extensive experience in composite and aluminum racing pole construction.

“We’ve been studying the pole market for the past four years with the goal of building the best adjustable pole in the market,” said Steve Poulin, President of Swix Sport USA.

Poulin said one key area emerged as the company researched the market – a need for better locking mechanism’s on adjustable poles. Swix Sonic features a locking technology that provides the industry with a more stable, easy to use locking mechanism.

“No stone has been left unturned and every detail has been thought through in the design and execution of these poles.”

Swix Sport will have samples for all of the Swix Sonic models in quantity available at the Outdoor Retailer All Mountain Demo Day, January 22 at Solitude Mountain Resort and the SIA On-Snow Demo Days, February 4-5 at Winter Park Resort.

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).

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.

Kikkan Randall’s Q&A – Training and Strength

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January 10, 2013 – Kikkan Randall’s 2012/13 season is off to a blistering start with numerous WCup wins and podiums, so it’s no wonder Morgan wants to know Randall’s strength workouts and training secrets. Read what Randall reveals and… check out Randall’s Training Rap HERE and check her MAILBAG for all Q&As thru the season.

Q&A – Training and Strength

You are SO beast!!
I was just wondering what kind of strength training and normal training you do to become one of the best in world. It’s so inspiring to watch you race and do so well. :)

Hi Morgan,
Thanks for the compliments and your question. Strength is one of my favorite parts of my training plan. A few years ago I began working with a US Ski Team strength and conditioning coach to redesign my strength training plan and since then I have seen big improvements in my skiing. We’ve focused more on mobility and balance in the body, i.e. not just hitting the ski muscles all the time, and on some specific power and quickness stuff for my sprinting.

When I was younger, I did a lot of basic strength exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and core exercises, as well as jumping and sprinting uphill. This provides a good base and when you get older, you can get more specific.

Best of luck!

Kikkan :)

2013 U.S. National XC Championships – More Photos and Final Day Video

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January 10, 2013 (Soldier Hollow, UT) – Check out this great video with athlete interviews and exciting race footage from the final day of competition by Willy Graves at the 2013 U.S. National XC Championships held in Soldier Hollow, Jan. 2-8 – plus more great photos courtesy of Ian Harvey from TOKO.


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).

Tour de Ski Wrap – Team USA’s Stephen, Diggins, Brooks, Randall, Hoffman and Whitcomb Talk Shop

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January 07, 2013 – With the 2012/13 Tour de Ski in the history books, Team USA’s Liz Stephen, Jessie Diggins, Holly Brooks, Kikkan Randall, Noah Hoffman, and Coach Matt Whitcomb talk shop, reflect on the TdS, and look ahead to the rest of the season.


Liz Stephen – 15th overall

Noah Hoffman – 46th overall

Matt Whitcomb

Jessie Diggins – 21st overall
Wow, Cermis was really, really tough. This was definitely the hardest race series I’ve ever done! And it feels so great to have completed it healthy and in one piece. I am so proud of my teammates and all the staff for such a positive and energetic ride through all the stages – because that was the most fun I’ve had on the World Cup yet!

The race today was really cool – my teammates warned me that the stretch of trail from the stadium to the base of Cermis was super narrow and really only one skier wide, so I got right out in front and me, Liz, an Italian and French girl all took turns leading. That really made a difference, too – drafting was so much easier than when it was your turn to pull! But we worked together and made up time before the base of the climb.

I’d watched the race video from last year to get a feel for what the hill looked like, but the cameras show the athletes coming up, it doesn’t show what it looks like from the viewpoint of the person actually racing! So although I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, I definitely had one of those “Oh-my-gosh-where-IS-the-finish-line????” moments out there!

Holly Brooks – 38th overall
The second half of the Tour was extremely rough for me and I’m still wondering (a bit) why I kept going…. If I was from any Euro team I’m sure I would have been sent home a long, long time ago. I kept hoping that my energy would turn around each day and it never did. Maybe that’s the optimist in me? Yesterday was especially tough and it was clear that no miracles were going to happen. But, with only one stage left to go I decided that I would “get her done.” I put on some extra sparkles, wore some white aviators and tried to have fun out there.

I had some bright spots at the beginning of the Tour (prologue and sprint) and I’m happy for that but at this point, I’ve had two tough years at this event. But, I’m glad I tried it this year so that I can plan accordingly for next year, which is an Olympic year.

Most of all, I’m just really proud of my teammate’s accomplishments. While Liz may have been #2 today on the Cermis she is “Queen of the Hill” in my book!

All of us will skip Czech in order to rest up from our efforts. Sadie and Ida will be representing us there. Our next appearance will be in La Clusaz. My plan is to take some time away from skiing and go visit some dear friends in Polcenigo, Italy. After a period of rest I’m looking forward to a training break. I’d love to do a race or two that aren’t World Cups as part of that training period – we shall see.

Kikkan Randall – 12th overall
A tough day out there – how were you feeling this morning? What was the atmosphere like on the final stage… similar to previous years? You looked solid until the very last section… tell us about today’s race.
KR: Today was a tough race for me and not the performance I was hoping to get out of myself. But, it was still a good experience and I will pull some good lessons from it. I actually felt pretty good this morning. My warm-up went smoothly and I felt like I had good energy. In my two previous tours, I have struggled on the climb. Going into today I was optimistic that my skating form was stronger and my goal was to climb better this year.

With some good skiers starting just ahead of me I put in a big effort to get myself in their pack. After about 2km, I got into the group and was able to conserve some energy for the climb. Unfortunately, once we started to head up the steeper sections, I struggled with my focus and let my tempo settle too much . I was skiing with my legs too straight and not fighting hard enough to keep my skis moving. The further I went up the climb, the more I struggled. I’m pretty sure this race is tough no matter how rested you are. So somehow I have to figure out how to keep my focus better and use my leg strength.

Still a great performance by you with second in the Sprint standings and 12th overall – and the team. Liz had the second best time today placing 15th overall and Jessie had a strong day finishing 21st at the Tour.
KR: I am still really satisfied with my Tour as a whole. To win two stages was amazing and I was really psyched with both of those performances. I had a couple solid classic races as well and to finish second in the sprint standings is a nice bonus. Despite being disappointed when my own race today I am incredibly psyched and proud of my teammates! I am really impressed with Liz [Stephen] for her first World Cup podium (although after the Blink festival climb this summer I was pretty sure she was going to rock Cermis this year)!! She dropped a full minute off her time from last year and fought hard all the way to the line. It is really fun to have such a great race to celebrate and I’ll have to do a few more climbing workouts with Liz to learn the magic!!

Also an impressive day for Jessie [Diggins], she had a really solid climb and visibly left all she had out there on the course. Holly [Brooks] also finished the Tour with a lot of heart, fighting through some heavy fatigue and making it all the way up Cermis, no easy task! Noah [Hoffman] skied a great rookie tour, Kris [Freeman] also kept pushing and Andy [Newell] had some good races in there.

I really have to thank our team of staff and coaches. We had such dedicated support through this really demanding week and it feels especially good to have accomplished what we have with a fraction of the resources and man-power of some of the bigger teams!

All of this has to feel good going forward to the Worlds.
KR: Having a good performance at the Tour de Ski is exactly what we were looking for and it fits in perfectly with our plans for the rest of the season. We’ve done a lot of racing so far, now we will focus on recovery, some training and refining everything in preparation for Worlds.

It was also really important to get some more time racing on the World Champs courses here in Val di Fiemme and we’re more confident than ever that this will be a good venue for the whole team!

What happens now as you prepare for the Liberec WCup… ?
KR: Now I will actually take a training break to recover from the Tour and I will not be racing in Liberec next weekend. It was a tough decision to miss a sprint World Cup, but last year continuing to race hard after the Tour put me in a precarious position health-wise midseason. I am heading to France tomorrow to do some training with my husband and recharge for the second half of the season. I am planning to rejoin the team and the circuit the following weekend in La Clusaz. Since we don’t get to go home for the entire season, I am really looking forward to a break from the hotel scene, I’m actually excited to do some laundry and some cooking!!


USA’s Johnson Jumps to Qualify for the Big Show at Innsbruck’s Four Hills Tournee

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January 03, 2013 (Innsbruck, Austria) – Park City, Utah’s Anders Johnson has made it into the Big Show for tomorrow qualifying 47th with a jump of 112.5 meters on the famed Olympic ski jumps at the Bergisel Hill in this town in the Tirol region of Austria. The top fifty ski jumpers qualify, in this, the 61st edition of the Four Hills Tournee.

Johnson was pleased with his showing..”I feel great, I’ve been close so far, but this is like getting a monkey off my back. It’s good. I felt my quali jump was pretty good, and got some good lift and while my jump wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, it was ok…I’ve still got things to work on for tomorrow here in Innsbruck.”

Regarding the final jump, the two time US Olympian said… “The hardest part for me is the qualifying, I’m still an underdog, but–who knows–a little bit of luck can go a long way in this sport.”

Pete Frenette (Saranac Lake, NY) was close to qualifying again today with a jump of 109.5 meters, which placed him in 53rd, while Canada’s Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes (Calgary) had a 110.5 meter jump and was 55th. The 21-year-old Canadian competes for the Altius Nordic Ski Club in Calgary.

Both Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT), who had a jump of 123.5 m, and the Four Hills overall leader Norwegian Anders Jacobsen who leapt to a jump of 125.5 m today were pre-qualified.

In the finals Johnson will be paired with Polish star, 21 year-old, Maciej Kot of Zakopane, in the knock out format. The Polish team was dominant in today’s qualification, with both Kot and Kamil Stoch sharing the win with 125 m jumps.

Steamboat Springs native, USA Coach Clint Jones was also pleased with Johnson’s performance, saying… “Overall Anders jumps were close again, like the other guys– but even in his last jump his take off move wasn’t as good as his earlier jumps but he did execute what we have been talking about. He was more patient with his hips and in keeping his skis under him so he was able to kind of build a little longer over the knoll, if he can do that in the finals, it’s easily another five meters pretty quickly. Anders qualification should actually take some pressure off him, which should be good. But the goal is still to focus on the technique side of things that we have been working on. Then the results will take care of themselves.”

2013 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships Day 1 Classic Sprint – More PHOTOS

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January 03, 2013 (Soldier Hollow, UT) – Here are some more great photos from the 2013 U.S. XC Ski Classic Sprint competitions at Soldier Hollow on January 2nd. Jennie Bender won the women’s crown, while Torin Koos snapped up the title in the men’s race. The 2013 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships run Jan. 2, 4, 6 and 8. Day 1 report and results 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!

Sadie and Erik Bjornsen to Host Cascade Challenge Ski Camp – Dec. 23

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December 20, 2012 (Mazama, WA) – The Methow Valley’s elite skiers, Sadie and Erik Bjornsen, are home for Christmas with huge wins in the Super Tour. Both brother and sister came away from the competitions in Canmore, Canada, last week, as the US Nordic Ski Team’s 2012 Super Tour Leaders. The Bjornsens are determined to represent the U.S. in the 2014 Olympics and will be competing internationally this ski season with the hope of continuing their winning streak.

The Bjornsen siblings are hosting the Cascade Challenge Ski Camp, a free Nordic ski clinic, for members of the Methow Valley Nordic Ski Team ages 6 thru 13. 50 kids have registered in advance for this fun-filled morning with our local Nordic champions.

The camp will run from noon to 3 PM on Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Mazama Community Center (at the junction of Lost River Road and Goat Creek Road). The center will be open by 11:30 a.m. for those who are registered.

“Sadie and I are super excited to be hosting our annual kids ski camp at the Mazama Community Center this Sunday,” said Erik. “As of this morning the camp is full with 50 young skiers signed up.” “This is our way of giving back to the Methow Valley Nordic community that has encouraged and supported us since we first began skiing,” said Sadie.

Sadie keeps an active blog about her ski activities at www.sadiebjornsen.blogspot.com, as does Erik at www.erikbjornsen.com.

The Methow Valley Nordic Ski Educational Foundation (MVNSEF), a 501(c)(3) organization, has created the Elite Opportunity Fund to provide financial support to eligible graduates of the Methow Valley Junior Nordic Team program who have been selected by a “national governing body” in one of the Nordic disciplines (USST, USBA) to compete in sanctioned international events or training camps. The MVNSEF recognizes the considerable financial difficulties faced by promising post-junior team skiers in their efforts to compete and succeed at the international level, and the very limited support provided by the USSA.

Madshus Adds to Sales Force in Northwest for Washington and Oregon

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December 18, 2012 (Seattle, Washington) – Madshus, the world’s oldest ski company, announces the growth of its US sales force with the appointment of Chad Willems as its new sales representative for Washington and Oregon.

Peter Hale, long-time NW rep and race services director, will continue representing the brand in ID, MT and AK, as well as the inland northwest to include the Methow Valley and the Spokane area, while Chad takes over Washington and Oregon.

“We will all benefit from Chad’s perspective and experience. He is highly versed, enthusiastic, and keenly active in the full spectrum of our sport including racing, family and backcountry skiing,” Hale said.

Chad Willems has an extensive background in the Nordic retail business and worked as a store manager, Nordic buyer and a very effective on-the-floor salesman at a shop that was a key Madshus dealer. In his free time, Chad enjoys competitive cycling and found Nordic skiing to be a great way to train for cycling. Chad currently resides in Bend, Oregon where he is a very active part of the Nordic skiing community.

“I am happy to have the opportunity to represent Madshus and an activity that I love,” Said Willems. “I’m enjoying reconnecting with folks in the retail and Nordic skiing community that I’ve gotten to know over the years, and meeting some new ones as well,” he said.

As the brand continues to grow, Madshus is expanding its international presence, with a strong focus on North America. Madshus sales staff can look forward to increased POP materials, technical information, new Madshus store signage for Nordic Departments, and more. Madshus is expanding their exposure with a wide variety of websites and social media, including their new Facebook page. “Like” Madshus now to keep up with latest news.

For more information on Madshus, please visit www.madshus.com. Northwest retailers interested in connecting with Chad Willems can email him at chad@cascadetrailsrep.com

Hat Trick in Soldier Hollow for USA’s Lodwick on Nordic Combined Continental Cup Circuit

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December 17, 2012 (Soldier Hollow, UT) – Olympic medalist and world champion Todd Lodwick picked up a hat trick, winning his third straight FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow. The victories earned him a trip back to the FIS World Cup and build confidence for him in an important World Championship season. Lodwick jumped to fourth and quickly caught the field in cross country winning by 37.4 seconds over Sepp Schneider of Austria. Nicolas Martin of France was third. With low snow conditions early season, the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow came together to produce an outstanding series of competitions that are vital for athletes qualifying for the World Cup. Lodwick will rejoin the World Cup tour in early January in Schonach, Germany.

Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped to fourth with a 115.5 meter ride, then quickly caught the field to win his third straight FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow.

Sepp Schneider of Austria was second, 37.4 seconds back, with Nicolas Martin of France third, with the two battling back and forth on the final lap.

Brett Denney (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 14th, moving up from 48th after the jump with the second fastest cross country time.

Staff and volunteers at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow did an amazing job in a low snow December to produce three world class competitions.

The Continental Cup is a vital steppingstone for athletes to the World Cup. Lodwick, who suffered from asthma issues last season, used the weekend of racing to gain his spot back on the World Cup.

Todd Lodwick, winner:
“There was a lot of pressure coming into this weekend to earn my spot back on the World Cup.”

“Prior to this week I had been struggling with my jumping so I went back old school with some old skis and found my groove again.”

“Today I just went out easy and tried to not stress myself too much. I felt I could control the race from the start – a lot different from the first day when I was a minute back. Today I wasn’t feeling my best but I was able to control the race.”

“I always hold myself to a high standard. When I’m not competing at the highest level I’m very frustrated.”

“I don’t have a monkey on my back any more. I had to perform – this was my ticket back to the World Cup and the rest of my season. To start it off with a victory, to follow it up with another and then today with the hat trick I couldn’t ask for a better weekend. Teammates are there to push everyone, including myself, and a great wax technician and the whole team came together and we earned a spot on the World Cup – not must myself but the whole team.”

Sepp Schneider, Austria, second place:
“It was a hard race. At the end I was still able to push when the French skier was coming towards me. I was second in the jump but Todd (Lodwick) caught me on the first lap. He’s a really good skier.”

Nicolas Martin, France, third place:
“It was a good race for me. I had a good jump and started slowly in the race but came back towards the end. I was second on the last hill but the Austrian caught me on the downhill.”

Full results HERE.

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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.

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.

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.


FIS XC Athlete Interview with Kikkan Randall

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October 11, 2012 – USA’s Kikkan Randall became the best sprinter on the ladies’ side last season. The skier from Alaska talked to FIS Cross-Country News about her summer preparation, goals for the winter and her four-year term on the FIS Athletes’ Commission.

You are coming to the end of your four-year term as the female representative for Cross-Country on the FIS Athletes’ Commission. How has the experience been and would you like to continue for another four years?
Kikkan Randall: Yes, I have really enjoyed my time on the FIS Athletes’ Commission representing Cross-Country. It has taken these four years to learn the ropes and get to know the people, and I have established some good paths of communication with the top levels of the cross-country committee. So I feel that can I continue to be effective and would enjoy doing this for another four years.

After having such a successful season last year taking the World Cup Overall Sprint title, what are your goals moving forward towards the 2012-13 World Cup season?
KR: Yeah, last year was certainly a lot of fun and I would like to continue to improve at both my sprint and distance results.

You have struggled with a foot injury this summer. Has that affected your off-season training?
KR: Unfortunately, I’ve had to slow down a little bit this summer after good training through mid-August, as it became clear that I had a stress fracture in my right foot. I’ve had to take the last month a little bit easier too give the foot some rest and avoid activities that aggravate it.

What are the activities that bothered the foot?
KR: Primarily, it was skate skiing. But for the past six weeks I have also not run, and only double-poled roller skiing.

Has that changed your approach to the start of the racing season?
KR: Normally I would have been looking forward to really coming in in good form with the opening races in Gallivare, and the mini-tour in Kuusamo, as well as the two sprints in Quebec. But I haven’t been able to skate for six weeks now and it’s still another couple of weeks before that becomes a possibility. Hopefully, I will be ready to participate in those races, but don’t see my form coming around until the Tour de Ski.

Bill Demong – NCombined 2012 Nationals at Norge Report

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October 04, 2011 (Fox River Grove, Il) – Read US Nordic Combined National Champion Bill Demong’s blog report from the 2012 US National Nordic Combined Championships hosted by Norge Nordic Ski Club last weekend  in Fox River Grove, Illinois HERE.