Callum Watson on Career Best Form

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Photo from Callum’s athlete Facebook page click on the below link for more pictures and updates from Callum.

https://www.facebook.com/callumwxc/?fref=ts

Callum’s season began with his first ever sub 50 FIS point race in Goms Switzerland. To put this in context these are the lowest FIS points achieved by an Australian athlete in a distance race since Ben Sim in 2010. Since 2010 only Phil Bellingham and now Callum have achieved a sub 50 FIS point result. The event was a Middle European Continental Cup (OPA) Mass start skate. Callum was able to stick with the leading pack for much of the 15km on what is known as one of the toughest race courses in Switzerland. Within this pack of skiers were many World Cup athletes including World Cup medalist Maicol Rastelli and Fabio Pasini both of Italy.

“Skiing with these boys right up until the final kilometer and finishing 15th was one of the most exciting races of my life!” Callum commented, “It made me remember why I like ski racing and has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”

The end results was 15th out of 72 with 47.19 FIS points.

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Catch-Up Report – Barbara Jezersek

In Barbara’s first year racing as an Australian she has so far achieved Australia’s highest ever female placing on distance World Cup and became the first Australian female to start the Tour de Ski.

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Catch Up Report – Mark Pollock

After winning two Australian Championships during the Australian season Mark was aiming high as he entered the European racing circuit. His season began well with Mark racing his first World Cup in Davos. “Racing in a World Cup was an incredible experience.” Mark reported after completing the race. “To be racing against the world’s best was amazing.”Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and nature

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Catch-Up Reports

The following series of updates are designed to catch the Australian audience up with the achievements of the Australian Team members who are currently competing in North America and Europe.

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New AUSXC.com in the Wings in 2017

Hello Ski-friends!

Regular visitors to AUSXC.com will have noticed (and a number have contacted us) about the absence of news on the site over the past two months, indeed the minimal amount of updates since the Australian winter. Please be reassured that this isn’t the beginning of the end of AUSXC.com, rather that our focus has been on preparation for a new chapter.

Throughout 2016 a huge amount of predominantly volunteer effort has gone into the design and content generation of a new online home for Australian cross country ski racing. The new AUSXC.com site will continue to feature Australian winter news and to chronicle the performances and activities of Australian athletes throughout the year, but will also play a greater role in the development of the sport. The intention is for more information to be readily available in areas such as athlete pathways, coach education, volunteer opportunities, sport administration, race rules and selection policies, and in general to provide advice on how to become more involved in XC ski racing. At the same time our partner site DiscoverXC.com will focus on the grassroots development for recreational and introductory aspects of the sport.

During this interim period, the best way to keep up to date with the progress of the Australian Team racing overseas is via social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the main ones to follow, @ausxc is our handle across all platforms. Individual athletes from the team have also for the most part shifted their activity updates to their social media accounts (though PK’s blog is still going strong!).

A quick plug before a proper post goes up – save the date of Saturday April 8 for the 2017 Australian Rollerski Championship and AUSXC Awards Dinner in Canberra!

Thanks for your patience, and all the best wishes for 2017.

– The AUSXC.com Team

2016/2017 National Team Announcement

The SSA Cross Country Committee is pleased to announce the official National Teams for 2016/2017. A record 26 athletes have have accepted invitations to join the World Cup, Continental Cup, U23 and Junior Teams. The majority of these athletes will head overseas in the coming months in preparation for major competitions including the 2016/2017 World Cup series, the 2017 World Championship in Finland, the 2017 World Junior/U23 Championship in the USA, and the 2017 World Universiade Winter Games in Kazakhstan.

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Callum Watson at the 2016 Canada World Cup Tour

World Cup Team
– Phillip Bellingham, 25 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Jessica Yeaton, 25 (WA, APU Ski Club)

Continental Cup Team
– Aimee Watson, 29 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Callum Watson, 27 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Paul Kovacs, 26 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Mark Pollock, 23 (VIC, Wangaratta Ski Club)
– Nick Montgomery, 23 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Casey Wright, 21 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club/UAA Ski Team)
– Katerina Paul, 20 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)

U23 Team
– Casey Wright, 21 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club/UAA Ski Team)
– Abe Wright, 20 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Katerina Paul, 20 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)

Junior Team
– Stella Ajani, 19 (VIC, Victorian Junior Team)
– Lilly Boland, 17 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Matthew Bull, 18 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Liam Burton, 18 (ACT/NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Seve de Campo, 18 (VIC, Ski Club of Victoria)
– Emily Champion, 14 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Finlay Clarke, 18, (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Freya Clarke, 16 (VIC, Victorian Junior Team)
– Phoebe Cridland, 15 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Dominic Cooper, 19 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Jarrah Forrer, 16 (VIC, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
– Nelle Forster-Berghuis, 17 (ACT, ACTXC)
– Gabrielle Hawkins, 18 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Ella Jackson, 19 (VIC, Victorian Junior Team)
– Darcie Morton, 16 (VIC, Livigno Sports Club)
– Bentley Walker-Broose, 15 (NSW, NSWXC)

The two athletes on the World Cup Team Phillip Bellingham and Jessica Yeaton will start the season in different continents. Bellingham will be based in Davos from November to January, targeting World Cups and Continental Cups in Switzerland, Slovenia and Italy. In similar fashion to last season, Yeaton will race predominantly on the US SuperTour, before joining up with Bellingham and other athletes from the Continental Cup Team at the start of February to tackle the 2018 Winter Olympic test World Cup in Pyeongchang.

Similarly the Continental Cup Team athletes are split between Europe and North America, with Callum Watson, Aimee Watson, Mark Pollock and Nick Montgomery racing the season predominantly in Europe, and Paul Kovacs, Casey Wright and Kat Paul starting the season in the USA. All Continental Cup Team athletes are also pre-qualified for the 2017 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, which is the main target event of the season.

Also set to race for Australia this season is Barbara Jezesek, who became an Australian citizen in October. Though not yet a member of the Australian Team (qualification for the team can only be from results achieved as an Australian), Barbara is eligible to compete on World Cup and at the World Championship and should have no problems meeting the team performance standard for the next intake.

With the World Junior/U23 World Championship in the USA for the first time since 1997, the Junior/U23 Team will have its primary base in Sun Valley, Idaho. The US Nationals at Soldier Hollow at the start of January provides a great opportunity for the team to test out the competition tracks for the World Junior/U23s at the same venue 3-4 weeks later. With a number of athletes pre-qualified and others aiming to qualify it is anticipated that around 10 Australian athletes will compete at the championship, including Continental Cup Team athletes Casey Wright and Kat Paul on the U23 side, and 2016 Youth Winter Olympians Lilly Boland and Liam Burton amongst others in the junior events.

The first FIS event of the 2016/2017 season for Australians will be in Muonio, Finland on November 11-13, where Aimee Watson is set to compete, followed by Callum Watson shaking out the cobwebs in Bruksvallarna the following weekend. The Junior Team has an altitude training camp coming up at the Falls Creek starting on November 20, with the official junior tour starting on December 4.

Progress throughout the international season can be followed on the AUSXC website and also via team/athlete social media posts.  Donations to the team can be made via the XC Towards 2018 campaign.

2016 Fundraising Wrap-Up

The final XC Towards 2018 fundraising activity for 2016 was the AUSXC Cocktail Party held in Melbourne on October 7. Hosted by Mandy Milne and Patrick Montgomery, the evening was a great social occasion once again. Now that the dust has settled it can be confirmed that over $13,000 was raised on the night, bringing the total for the year up to over $25,000 towards athlete expenses in the coming 2016/2017 international season.

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National Team athletes Kat Paul and Phillip Bellingham

A special guest for the night was Ski & Snowboard Australia President Dean Gosper, who took the opportunity to announce an increase in the SSA cross country skiing budget for 2016/2017 and beyond. It was also announced that the Falls Creek Resort would extend their partnership with the National Team through until 2019. Features of the evening included silent and loud auctions, a slide show of images from the year and short speeches by SSAXC athlete reps Stella Ajani and Nick Montgomery.

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Brady Bantick with his new Fischer skis donated to the auction by EMC, with auctioneer & National Team athlete Nick Montgomery.

The bulk of the rest of the funds raised throughout the year were from the Sundeck Cup at Perisher and ski waxing at the Kangaroo Hoppet, which collectively raised over $10,000. The Sundeck Cup run in handicap style in the middle of NSW XC Week is a unique event that should be on everyone’s racing calendar for 2017.

Major event expenses to be covered during the 2016/2017 season include the 2017 World Championship in Finland, the 2017 World Junior/U23 Championship in the USA, and selected events on the 2016/2017 World Cup circuit.

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2017 World Junior/U23 Team manager Georgia Merritt, Jess Millet-Riley, and 2017 World Junior/U23 coach Rob Jones.

Many thanks to everyone who supported all of the XC Towards 2018 fundraising activities, by donating auction items, attending events or getting their skis waxed, or who donated directly via the Australian Sport Foundation. website.

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