Wednesday, January 3rd – January 8th, 2018 Kincaid Park – Anchorage, Alaska




Anchorage Daily News January 9, 2018: It was all Alaska all the time at the US National skiing championships
Faster Skier January 9, 2018: Reese Hanneman Wins Qualifier, Second Sprint Title of the Week at US Nationals
Alaska Public Media January 8, 2018: Alaskan skiers dominate top of podiums at US Nationals
USNATS -- Day 4 recap: Caitlin Patterson completes Nationals sweep with fourth title; Reese Hanneman takes another sprint crown in classic

ANCHORAGE, Jan. 8, 2018 – Caitlin Patterson finished her special four-race performance at the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. National Cross Country Championships at Kincaid Park on Monday the way she started it Wednesday – by blowing the doors off the competition. Monday’s late and dramatic come-from-behind win in the women’s classic sprint final capped Patterson’s run of four National titles in four races over six days.

 Reese Hanneman, originally of Fairbanks and now of Anchorage, swept both 2018 Nationals sprint events with his men’s classic sprint win Monday. He edged APU teammate Tyler Kornfield by .2 seconds to earn his fourth Nationals sprint title – two freestyle, two classic.

 But this Nationals belonged to Patterson, a 27-year-old from Vermont and formerly of Anchorage. Overall, she won three of the four Nationals races ­– she finished second to Sweden’s Hedda Baangman (University of Colorado) in Sunday’s 20K classic mass start event. These four races, and Monday’s race in particular, illustrated her mix of talent, strength, stamina, versatility, wit and grit.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Patterson, who leaves Anchorage a six-time National champion. “Amazing. Beyond what I could have imagined.”

Her Craftsbury Green Project Racing coach, Pepa Miloucheva wasn’t surprised, though, saying, “She worked hard for this and she deserves this. It’s her Nationals.”

 Patterson’s younger brother, Scott, is a pretty decent skier in his own right – a multi-time National champion whose dominant 15K freestyle win on Wednesday matched his sister’s big opening win in the women’s 10K freestyle earlier that day. Even he was impressed, and humbled, by his sibling’s week.

“It’s been pretty incredible to see, and she’s rubbed it in all week,” he said, smiling.

She arguably saved her best for last. In Monday’s 1.4K classic sprint final, she was two ski-lengths behind University of Denver’s Jasmi Joensuu in the final downhill with just 200 meters to go. Using tactics she gathered from earlier heats, her familiarity of that stretch of Kincaid Park’s trails from her high school and juniors racing days, and some vicious double-poling, Patterson quickly overtook and then dusted Joensuu. Patterson came across the line with both poles pumping in the air, winning by two seconds (3 minutes and 39.58 seconds to Joensuu’s 3:41.94).

 “When I passed her, I felt like I carried more momentum,” Patterson said. “And I got out of there as fast as I could.”

 Not bad for a skier who claimed that she’d never won a big sprint race before this week. When asked if she’s a sprinter now, she smiled and said, “I guess so.”

 Her brother Scott’s been a believer for a long time. He said, “She’s such a killer finisher. When I saw her two ski-lengths back (on the final downhill), I thought, ‘Oh, that’s (Nationals title) No. 4.’”

 The Pattersons are South Anchorage High School grads and former members of the local Alaska Winter Stars ski program. After this Nationals, both are hopeful to be teammates at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

 When asked if she’d heard from anyone about earning a spot on the national team roster yet, she laughed and said, “Nope, not yet – I’m still waiting. I’m optimistic.”

Perhaps she’ll hear later this week when she returns to the World Cup circuit, starting in Germany. At the latest, she’ll know when the Olympic team nominations are announced the week of January 23.

 Hanneman is hopeful for his own ticket to Pyeongchang, South Korea. He certainly beefed up his resume this week. First, he put up Friday’s freestyle sprint win. ThenMonday morning, he clocked the day’s fastest classic sprint qualifying time, gaining him critical Olympic Winter Games points that are among the many factors considered in determining national teams.

 Then Hanneman muscled his way through a gauntlet of hungry skiers in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final rounds. His biggest roadblock to the win was Kornfield, a tall sprinting stud with two classic sprint National crowns (2010 and 2012) and momentum from his exciting – and somewhat unexpected – win in Sunday’s 30K classic mass start.

 In Monday’s final, Hanneman and Kornfield broke away from a tight pack on the last major hill climb and speedy downhill of the 1.6K course. It was Hanneman who popped up first into the 100-meter flat stretch to the finish line, with Kornfield behind him in the same tracks. As both double-poled furiously, Hanneman stayed just far enough ahead to negate Kornfield’s frantic finishing move. The win was decided by the length of a ski pole handle, Hanneman clocking 3:20.62 to Kornfield’s 3:20.82. The rest of the finalists were nearly five seconds behind.

 “I couldn’t let off at all,” Hanneman said. “Tyler is cranking right now; impressive skiing by him all week. It definitely motivated me to just drive that thing so hard in the final. … It was awesome.”

 Kornfield, as thoughtful as he is competitive, said, “We’re at a point where Reese and I just kinda nod heads before the final and we know that it’s me against him now. Sometimes it’s hard to be racing your teammates but like any training session, we just go hard, try to race clean, race fair, and go as hard as you can. And Reese had it today. I was trying to catch him in the end and didn’t quite have that last push. But it was a lot of fun.”

 The week’s events were extra fun for the host state and its Nordic ski clubs and training groups – all eight of the National titles were won by Alaskans or skiers with Alaska roots.

 Monday morning’s dramatic ice fog and cold lifted for a clear and sunny three rounds of classic sprint heat racing in the afternoon. All skiers competed in the morning’s qualifier, hitting the course one at a time in 15-second intervals. The 30 fastest qualifiers advanced to the quarterfinals, which is where the madness started – five heats each featuring six racers. The top two finishers in each heat advanced to the semifinals, as did the two fastest quarterfinal racers who didn’t land a top two finish (called “Lucky Losers”). The top two finishers in each of the two six-person semifinals along with two more Lucky Losers advanced to fill out the six-person finals.

 Monday’s hill-filled sprint courses mirrored the crazy-quick loop used in Friday’s freestyle sprints. The men skied a 1.6K course; the women, 1.4K. The course started at the south end of Kincaid’s stadium and immediately took a sharp, steep right to gain the top of the wild and winding Gong Hill area, which led to the chilly Frog Pond, briefly back near the stadium, and then to a sharp left on the backside of the Gong Hill. There, the women turned to the stadium while the men made an extra 200-meter loop before reaching the stadium. A big, sweeping turn and gradual uphill led skiers to a flat 100-meter straightaway and the finish line.

 Complete results from today’s races are available at

 This week’s races crowned National champions and determined roster spots on the FIS Junior World Championship, U23 Championship and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams. While primary selection for the 2018 Olympic Cross Country Team comes from World Cup races, some final spots can be determined from Nationals results. Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of January 23.


When the 30K national championship turned into a sprint, Anchorage skier Tyler Kornfield seized the moment
KTUU Channel 2: Alaskans dominate day three of cross country ski championships
Anchorage Daily News Jan. 8th, 2018: 40 years ago, skiers froze their eyeballs (and some brain cells) when the US Nationals came to Kincaid Park
Fairbanks Daily News Miner Jan. 8th 2018: Former Nanook Tyler Kornfield wins 30k classic national ski title
Faster Skier Jan. 8th, 2018 Kornfield crowned national 30k champ after 8 man sprint to the finish
USNATS --Day 3 Recap: 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships: Caitlin Patterson hits trifecta with 20K classic win; Tyler Kornfield uses sprint skills to snag 30K classic victory

ANCHORAGE, Jan. 7, 2018 – She skates across groomed trails in a flash and kicks and glides in the tracks like a freight train. She’s got the quicks and smarts for sprints and the strength and determination to go long. What can’t Caitlin Patterson do on cross-country skis right now? That question remained unanswered after the third race – and Patterson’s third National title – of the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships on Sunday at Kincaid Park.

Even Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) didn’t have an answer after finishing as the fastest American woman in Sunday’s 20K mass start classic race (University of Colorado’s Hedda Baangman of Sweden was the race’s official winner). When asked if she expected three Nationals titles in three events, even the comfortably confident Patterson shook her head.

 “This is very cool,” said Patterson, who graduated from South Anchorage High School before racing for the University of Vermont and settling in Vermont. “I wouldn’t have imagined this.”

 Meanwhile, everyone knows exactly what Anchorage’s Tyler Kornfield (APU Nordic Ski Team) can do on skis: he’s a classic sprint killer, a perennial podium resident in the event at Nationals and owner of two titles (2010 and 2012). Those supreme sprint skills, and his Kincaid Park familiarity, gave the tall, double-poling machine the edge as he burst away from a tight pack of seven skiers in the final stretch of the grueling men’s 30K event for his first classic distance National crown.

 “Two (kilometers) out, I felt fast and knew I had to make my move,” said Kornfield, who has that final sprint stretch ingrained in his muscle memory having trained and raced on it for years. “And I knew if I didn’t go hard, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.”

 That determination quickly turned into an explosion of emotion and an emphatic pole pump when he crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 43.6 seconds. How dramatic was the race’s ending? Four skiers finished within two seconds of Kornfield; two more were within three seconds. Kornfield’s APU teammate Eric Packer was closest, just .7 seconds back. Norway’s Eivind Romberg Kvaale (University of Denver) was third overall at 1:21:44.7, followed by Nordic legend Kris Freeman (Caldwell Sport), the third-fastest American at 1:21:45.2.

 “I looked at the course yesterday and thought about it last night,” Kornfield said. “And in my mind, I pictured how I could win it. … But it’s unbelievable. I’ve never had emotions like this after a race.”

 Packer was all smiles, adding, “It was a really high-speed race out there. … The APU coaches gave us really good skis to be able to go 1-2.”

 While Kornfield was demonstrative in his win, Patterson was businesslike when she crossed the finish line almost 16 second behind Baangman’s 1:00:55.3. Patterson (1:01:11.2) had almost four seconds on third place Rosie Frankowski (APU Nordic Ski Team), the second American finisher at 1:01:14.9; Jessica Yeaton (APU), an Australian national who moved to Alaska when she was 12, was fourth overall at 1:01.39.4; and Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury) was fifth overall and the third American finisher at 1:02:08.9.

 Miller was pleased with her finish and equally stoked for Patterson, her teammate and training buddy who continues elevating her case for a ticket to February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

 “It’s really exciting to come to these races (in Alaska) and watch her excel like this,” Miller said. “I train with her day in and day out, and we’re all very, very impressed.”

 Frankowski, who has competed against Patterson for years, added, “I really hope they take her to the Olympics.”

 After the first of four 5K loops around a hill-heavy course, Baangman, Patterson and Frankowski pulled away in a pack and stuck together until the race’s final big, long climb. Patterson’s chance at a third straight win slipped away as Baangman hammered that hill and Patterson slid behind on skis that were light on kick wax and legs that were burning from her busy week. After the event, Patterson paid Baangman respect for her strong finish and mean climbing skills, then talked about the grit that got her second place overall and a fifth National title.

 “It was more about mental toughness for me today,” said Patterson. “I was a little fatigued and it’s a long race, and I was struggling with my skis. It would have been easy to give up, but I just had this constant positive self-talk. Every moment, I believed in myself.”

 Frankowski was feeling pretty darn good about herself, too, after notching the best Nationals finish of her career on a course that was lined with loud and local fans.

 “This Anchorage crowd – there was never an area where people weren’t screaming for me,” she said. “I feel like I was on the World Cup!”

 The day’s course was something of a screamer, too – a 5K tour of Kincaid Park’s finest and toughest trails that the women had to ski four times and the men had to complete six times. It included ­the 28-meter Elliott’s Climb, followed by a zip up and down the Roller Coaster, then the friendly straightaway of Dark Alley, followed by a series of sharp corners and climb up the Gong Hill which brought skiers back into the stadium through a tunnel for the final 2-kilometer stretch to the finish area. The map of today’s 5K course is available at

 The mass start classic racing ended with a pair of Juniors events.

 APU’s Hannah Halvorsen won the female 5K, followed by University of Alaska Anchorage’s Hailey Swirbul, the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks FXC’s Kendall Kramer (who is a U16 racer), Methow Valley Nordic’s Novie Mccabe (U18) and Montana State University’s Kathleen O’Connell.

 APU’s Hunter Wonders won the male 10K, followed by Stratton Mt. School’s Benjamin Ogden (U18), APU’s Canyon Tobin, University of Vermont’s Karl Schulz and APU’s Luke Jager.

 Complete results from all of today’s races are available at

 This week’s races will crown National champions and also be used as part of the selection process for Olympic berths and to determine roster spots on the FIS Junior World Championship, U23 Championship and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams. While primary selection for the 2018 Olympic Cross Country Team comes from World Cup races, some final spots can be determined from Nationals results. Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of January 23.


Fairbanks Daily News Miner January 6, 2018 Reese Hanneman wins national sprint ski title
Faster Skier Jan. 6, 2018 Hanneman Brothers Headline National Skate Sprint
Faster Skier Jan. 6, 2018 Two-for-Two: Patterson Wins Second Straight Race
KTUU - Channel 2 Jan. 6, 2018 Alaskan skiers win national championships in men's and women's sprints
USNATS -- Day 2 recap: Two events, two National titles for Caitlin Patterson; Reese Hanneman wins men’s freestyle sprint crown

ANCHORAGE, Jan. 5, 2018 – Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury GRP) continued her domination of the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships on Friday at Kincaid Park, winning her second National title in two races – this time in the freestyle sprint.

 Meanwhile it was once again the Hanneman Brothers Sprint Show – Reese Hanneman has now won three National sprint titles, two freestyle and one classic, while Logan Hanneman won the 2017 SuperTour Finals freestyle sprint in Fairbanks. This year, Reese who took the Nationals crown while Logan clocked the fastest qualifying time. That means Reese boasts another National title while Logan nets invaluable Olympic Winter Games points that could boost his chances at a coveted roster spot.

 Patterson is making her own strong case to squeeze onto a very crowded and very talented women’s national team after crushing her first two 2018 Nationals races. After winning Wednesday’s 10K freestyle by nearly 20 seconds, she won Friday’s final by more than three seconds.

 Sprint races are chaotic, unpredictable and often decided by a matter of centimeters as numerous racers lunge at the finish line. Not for Patterson, who cruised across the finish line with a strong, steady rhythm, a smile on her face, and five other finalists far behind her. This was Patterson’s fourth National title and a flexing of her freestyle skills.

 “I wasn’t going to let up,” Patterson said with a smile.

 In the finals, Patterson covered the 1.4K sprint course in 3 minutes and 20.93 seconds. Finnish skier Jasmi Joensuu (University of Denver) was second at 3:24.49, followed by the Czech Republic’s Petra Hyncicova (University of Colorado) at 3:25.12. Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury GRP) was fourth overall and the second fastest American at 3:25.28, followed by American Hannah Halvorsen (APU) at 3:28.59. Halvorsen had a special day as the only Junior skier to race in the finals.

 After Wednesday’s 10K win, Patterson said she spent her Thursday hydrating, eating right and taking a 75-minute classic ski around her old stomping grounds of Kincaid Park. She is a South Anchorage High School grad and former member of the local Alaska Winter Stars ski program who now lives in Vermont.

 Patterson admitted that she isn’t the strongest sprinter, but also professed her confidence as a freestyle skier. She had plenty of confidence and momentum heading into Fridayafter sweeping Wednesday’s freestyle distance races with her brother, Scott, who won the men’s 15K. Scott, also not the strongest sprinter, didn’t make it out of the quarterfinals on Friday.

 “I know I can be a great skate skier, but I am very surprised by this win,” Caitlin said. “(Scott’s) going to have to work on this finishing sprint. I’ll rub it in.”

 The sibling storyline in the men’s freestyle sprint featured the Hannemans, originally from Fairbanks. In the opening qualifying round Friday, in which skiers start in 15-second intervals, Logan threw down the fastest time on the 1.6K course by nearly half a second at 3:07.40. That scored him the maximum Olympic Winter Games points for the event, one of the many factors taken into consideration when determining the national team.

 Nothing else is promised from there, however, as skiers then compete in six-person heats. Logan was eliminated in the semifinals while Reese kept putting the hammer down all the way through a finals shootout.

 After climbing the small final hill and taking a tight corner into the stadium’s finish area, Reese pulled away from Kevin Bolger (Sun Valley) as they raced to the line. Hanneman clocked a 3:11.33, edging Bulger’s 3:11.41. APU’s Tyler Kornfield finished third in 3:12.21. Junior skier and 17-year-old Gus Schumacher of Anchorage continued to impress by advancing into the semifinals two days after his sixth place overall finish in the 10K men’s freestyle.

 “On that last corner, all six of us were close,” Bolger said. “Reese picked a really great line and I tucked in behind him. It came down to the last few meters and he just skied really well.”

 So well, Hanneman was beaming after the finish. He seemingly got a hug or a photo request from everyone in the packed stadium. He soaked up every second.

 “It’s a dream to be able to win a national championship at home in front of all these people who I know and who have supported me and came out to cheer,” Hanneman said. “And the Hannemans are three in a row, so that’s kinda cool to be able to continue that.”

 It was a practically perfect day for sprint racing at Kincaid Park – temperatures in the teens; no wind, a rarity here; mostly sunny and bluebird skies, with an occasional ice fog appearance; and a fast-and-firm, technical-and-fast trail.

 “It was awesome skiing, beautiful conditions,” Reese Hanneman said. “Everybody dreams about skiing on the snow out there today.”

 Friday’s sprints featured four rounds of racing – all skiers compete in the qualifier, hitting the course in intervals. The top 30 skiers advance to the quarterfinals – five heats each featuring six racers. The top two finishers in each heat advance to the semifinals, as do the two fastest quarterfinal finishers that didn’t land a top two finish (called “Lucky Losers”). The top two finishers in each of the two six-person semifinals heats advance along with two more Lucky Losers, filling out the six-person final.

 Complete results from today’s races are available at

 This week’s races will crown National champions and also be used as part of the selection process for Olympic berths and to determine roster spots on the FIS Junior World Championship, U23 Championship and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams. While primary selection for the 2018 Olympic Cross Country Team comes from World Cup races, some final spots can be determined from Nationals results. Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of January 23.

Alaska Public Media - Anchorage Jan. 4, 2018
KTUU Channel 2 Anchorage Alaskan Olympic hopefuls win big on home trails
Anchorage Daily News Thursday Jan. 4 , 2018
USNATS -- Day 1 recap: Patterson siblings sizzle with dominant wins

ANCHORAGE, Jan. 4, 2018 – The opening day of racing at the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at Kincaid Park was welcomed with a blizzard of snow and variable visibility, but one thing was crystal clear: the dominance of the Patterson family.

  The brother-sister combo of Scott Patterson (APU Nordic Ski Team) and Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury GRP) swept their respective races and did so impressively. Scott won the men’s 15K freestyle by more than 55 seconds and Caitlin won the women’s 10K freestyle by more than 19 seconds. Both are South Anchorage High School grads, former members of the local Alaska Winter Stars ski program and now three-time National champions.

 “This isn’t the first time for us, actually,” said Scott Patterson, noting the siblings’ respective first place finishes in the classic races at 2016 U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Mich. “But to do it at this stage in Anchorage, it’s pretty cool.”

 Due to a lack of new snow in the Anchorage area in recent weeks, a 2.5K manmade snow loop was used for today’s racing. That meant four laps for the women and six for the men. While course conditions deteriorated through the day – firm at the start and mushier as more snow and skiers hit the trails – the looped course and interval starting format made for spectator- and timing-friendly as skiers had to travel through the stadium area on each lap.

 Scott Patterson spent the early part of this winter representing the U.S. overseas on the World Cup racing circuit and will likely return after Nationals. He came to Anchorage making no secret about his desire to land his first Olympic team roster spot. Wednesday’s performance made his intentions loud and clear to everyone in the U.S. Nordic community.

 Patterson’s sizzling 36:33.7 bested second-place Noah Hoffman (Ski & Snowboard Vail), a 2014 Olympian and three-time National champion, by 55.2 seconds (37:29.0). Matthew Liebsch (Pioneer Midwest) was third at 37:50.3.

 “Scott was world-class today,” Hoffman said. “I hope he can bring that back to Europe and I hope to be there with him.”

 Patterson is already something of an Alaska legend, having won the grueling Mount Marathon race this past summer. But he’s trying to cement his legacy in national Nordic conversations and knew that his performances this week at Nationals could determine his Olympics future.

 “There definitely was some pressure on me coming into these races, but I was also coming in with confidence,” he said. “I’ve really got to show them exactly what I can do and I did that today. And I need to have another good performance Sunday (in the 30K mass start classic event).”

 Caitlin Patterson used a steady start and a strong finish to clock her 27:09.1, nearly 20 seconds faster than second place finisher Caitlin (Compton) Gregg (27:28.8 – CXC/LNR/Team Gregg). Chelsea Holmes (APUNSC) placed third at 27:33.5 among the 147 women finishers. This was Patterson’s third National championship – she placed first in the 10K classic and 20K skate at 2016 Nationals and had a pair of third place finishes in 2017.

 “It was really great to be back here – I heard some familiar voices out there, cheering me on,” said Patterson, who skied for the University of Vermont after leaving Anchorage. “In this (interval start format), you just go out and race the best you know how. It’s really about pushing your own limits and believing in yourself.”

 Patterson was the fourth skier to hit the course, which meant she couldn’t closely track how the bulk of the field was performing despite the short loops. She heard occasional updates from the stadium announcers, but remained focused on her own race until she pulled within eyesight of the Bib 1 starter, Becca Rorabaugh (APU, on the fourth and final lap. Then she found another gear.

 “I finished the race really hard – that fourth lap was a great one for me,” she said. “I saw Bib 1 and started chasing. I didn’t want to leave anything in the tank.”

 Patterson said it’s been awhile since she raced in Alaska. She said her current high-altitude racing and training in Vermont gave her an advantage when she returned to sea level racing in Anchorage.

 By the time Gregg hit the course in Bib 17, the snow was already accumulating and the trail softening into a mashed potato consistency. And she loved it.

 “These conditions are awesome!” said a smiling Gregg, a 2010 Olympian who is also coaching many young skiers at this week’s events. “I don’t know where the time slipped (between me and Patterson), but I still feel positive. I love being in Anchorage. This is where I won my first Nationals race and the vibe here is so great. So I’m happy with my race.”

 But arguably the happiest folks at Kincaid on Wednesday shared the last name of Patterson. Even the Patterson patriarch played a big role in today’s races. Steve Patterson is Race Secretary for the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships and very proud father.

 “This was the goal and they knew they had a good shot at it,” Steve said. “We’ll mark this day on the calendar.”

 On the Juniors side, a trio of teenagers cracked the Top 10 overall in their respective events. In the men’s 15K, 17-year-old Gus Schumacher (Alaska Winter Stars) skied to an impressive sixth place overall (38:01.4), less than 90 seconds behind Patterson, while Ben Ogden (Stratton Mountain School) placed ninth (38:15.9). In the women’s 10K, Hailey Swirbul (University of Alaska Anchorage) placed eighth overall at 28:39.4. APU’s Hannah Halvorsen placed 14th (29:03.2) and Methow Valley Nordic’s Novie Mccabe took 15th(29:06.9).

 Schumacher’s sixth was a surprise for many, including the skier himself.

 “My goal was to get a Top 10 in one of these races,” he said, “and my best Nationals performance before today was 44th. I’m super-stoked.”

 This week’s races will crown National champions and also be used as part of the selection process for Olympic berths and to determine roster spots on the FIS Junior World Championship, U23 Championship and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams. While primary selection for the 2018 Olympic Cross Country Team will come from World Cup races, some final spots can be determined from Nationals results. Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of January 23.

Faster Skier January 4, 2018 Scott Patterson Wins Home U>S> Nationals 15k by Nearly a MInute
Faster Skier January 4, 2018 Caitlin Patterson Captures Third national Title in Anchorage 10 k skate
Weather a Factor on First Official Training Day

Anchorage, Alaska (USNATS18) — Skiers embraced high winds and warm temperatures today during official training at Kincaid Park for the L.L.Bean US National Cross Country Ski Championships. With over 400 skiers registered to race, the training course was filled with skiers early Tuesday morning as most teams prefer to train as close to actual race day time as possible. 

By late afternoon, the stadium was almost empty but the wax technicians were bracing for a long night or an early morning, or both.  The forecast is for temperatures to drop again and wind to subside. That’s good news for skiers, but makes life difficult for those preparing hundreds of pairs of skis.

“There’s no point in testing today if conditions are expected to change so much overnight,” according to Jan Buron, Alaska Winter Stars coach.

“I hope it’s not super crazy tomorrow,” said Buron who was scraping down skis in the cement wax bunker along with a dozen other teams, “but the snow stays hard on the course right now and wind actually helped keep it dry today despite warm temperatures.”

Buron credits the snowmaking over the last two months for building up conditions on the race loops that he is confident won’t deteriorate. 

An even bigger factor on the first race day could be wind, he added. In an interval start, racers ski against the clock, and there could be a big difference between early and late starters if the wind keeps changing. 

“But that’s ski racing!” said Buron as he reached for another pair of skis.

 Kincaid Park                           Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage

9401 Raspberry Road             203 W 15th Avenue, Suite 204

Anchorage, AK 99502              Anchorage, AK 99501

(907) 343-6397                         (907) 276-7609