Christmas special

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Since my last post I’ve had my first set of serious races for the season. I’d planned to write about them and then do a separate post about Christmas in Alaska but that hasn’t happened, so welcome to the Christmas race special blog!

Besh Cup racing.
The state level here in Alaska are called Besh Cups and the first set of races were on the 18th and 19th of December. The first day was a classic sprint and the second a 15km skate.
The sprint for me was a bit of a worry. The previous weekend is tweaked my back in a citizen race and so I was concerned about aggravating it again, especially considering that the course was quite flat and all the men were just going to double pole it on skate skis instead of striding on classic skis.

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White Clouds

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Bursting through clouds of white, frozen water particles seems to be coming the new norm in Anchorage. The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage has pulled out all the stops (and guns) and have been blasting snow non-stop for the last few weeks. They only time the guns have seemed to of stopped is for the racing. Making kilometres of trail at least 40 cm thick and 5 meters wide is no easy task. The temperatures and humidity for snow making seem to be ideal, hovering around -5 to -12C so they just don’t seem to switch off the guns. They are pumping out mountains of snow along the trails and then pushing it all out before starting the process all over again. There is now a permanent 3 km loop of great skiing with another kilometre to be added any day now.

There seems to be big flurries of snow come…

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The Future of XC Skiing? (La Sgambeda race report)

Half an Adventure

One of the more interesting developments in XC skiing in the past years has been the emergence of the Ski Classics series, a group of ski marathons, using classic technique, which feature professional teams, sprint points in the middle of races, group tactics, and a helicopter as part of the TV coverage. If it sounds a little bit like cycling, it’s because it’s supposed to be a bit like that. The organisers of two major marathons in Scandinavia decided to market the broadcast of their races overseas and in doing so incorporated a number of existing and new races into a series. It features pay-per-view streaming and even betting, which I’m not entirely happy about, but then I guess they need to make money somehow.

The Visma (formerly Swix) Ski Classics is in its sixth year now, and the opening race was held last weekend in the duty-free town of…

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NZ Winter Games – Individual Freestyle 5/10km

The final event of the NZ Winter Games ran today, with Korea’s Seong-Beom Park and Slovenia’s Barbara Jezersek taking out the victories in their respective genders.

The Men’s race started first at 9:00am on the last of the firm snow, which quickly softened as the race progressed. The course was a tough 2.5km (2.7km) with a long section of gradual terrain, with some switchbacks and tight corners thrown in before the epic final climb up from the biathlon range to the top of the sprint loop before dropping in to lap through.

Daniel “Dan the Man” Sarri led the Australians with an 8th place and a cool 125 FIS Points (estimated), Ewan “The Exterminator” Watson followed in 10th with circa 137 FIS Points and then Alasdair “The Crocodile” Tutt (apparently in reference to the green AUSXC race suit) in 12th with circa 146 FIS Points.

In the Womens’ race at 10:00am, adopted Aussie Barbara Jezersek took the win by 14sec in front of Lee from Korea and birthday girl Bouffard-Nesbitt of Canada.

The Aussies (and Barbara) were helped by incredibly fast skis thanks to Alecia Phillips, who chose to sit out the day’s race and instead tested and waxed for the team.

Images from the race and the presentations can be found on the website linked in yesterday’s report for the 10/15km Classic Mass Start.

NZ Winter Games – Mass Start Classic 10/15km

The second of the NZ Winter Games Cross Country Events ran today in tough, wet conditions. Some light rain overnight left the tracks hard on the flats, but softening quickly both out of the tracks and on the climbs.

The Women’s event was up first at 9:00am with 9 starters. Katerina Paul started strongly to get into a group with three Korean skiers, but struggled to keep her position in the closing laps to finish 8th. Not renowned as a distance skier, this result is hugely impressive as the three Koreans in her group had FIS distance points between 35 and 74 better. Alecia Phillips recovered strongly after a collision at the start with one of the Koreans to finish in 9th. Slovenian Barbara Jezersek finished strongly in 2nd place, 1min and 16 sec behind the winner Chae-Won Lee of Korea. Barbara’s comments from after the race included “I felt flat, like I was racing 50km, not 10km.” None-the-less a good showing by Barbara.

In the Men’s, starting at 10:00am with 12 starters, Australia was represented by Ewan Watson and Alasdair Tutt who finished 8th and 11th respectively and thus sandwiching two of the Canadian racers in the pack. The two skiers took different tactics on grip waxing (having both just finished providing wax support to two of the women in the field) Ewan choosing to go thin on grip and Alasdair chucking on an extra layer of klister just before the start. Ewan regretted his choice going up the major climb (containing two steep pinches and not much chance to rest afterwards) however made up ground on each lap, whilst Alasdair struggled to stay with the group on the 2.9km long double pole section at the start of each 3.75km lap having started out with the top 4 for the first kilometre.

Images from the NZ Winter Games can be found (and downloaded for free) at:

Sprint:

http://www.gettyimages.co.nz/search/events/552709033?family=editorial&assettype=image&sort=best&excludenudity=true&phrase=

Mass Start Classic:

http://www.gettyimages.co.nz/detail/news-photo/sang-mi-je-of-korea-and-brandy-stewart-of-canada-compete-in-news-photo/485613460

The NZ Winter Games and the Australia/New Zealand Continental Cup conclude tomorrow with a 5/10km Individual Start Freestyle with Daniel Sarri, Alasdair Tutt and Ewan Watson representing Australia in the men’s field and no Australian women starting.

The Rollerski Train, and other summer training highlights

Half an Adventure

Summer is in full swing in Germany, which means spells of warm, humid weather, where every afternoon brings a thunderstorm, and spells of cold, wet weather, which can bring snow to the tops of the mountains. I am back in Australia now about to start skiing for the winter, although this post was written a couple of weeks ago…

I have managed to latch on to another group of the German National Team, training under Markus Hofmann and with a small group of all girls, one of whom is guaranteed to be faster if the session has anything to do with rollerskiing… but let’s not dwell on that. We have been training since the 4th of May, and in 5 weeks I have notched up a whopping 105 hours (21 a week), which is far more than my previous best of 90 hours, set during the Australian season last…

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Want to know more about ski waxing?

Are you new to the sport of cross country skiing and puzzled by all the ‘waxing’ talk? No need to be intimidated, SSA Cross Country are offering a beginners waxing workshop to help demystify glide and classic waxing.

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Taking care of your cross country skis involves more than just making sure they have a safe ride to and from the snow. To get a good life span out of a pair of skis the bases need to be maintained through regular cleaning and waxing. Knowing what to use and when takes time and experience but there are a few really easy tips you can follow to help get the best out of your skis during the Australian winter.

This 2- 3hr work shop will take you through the basics of different types of low and high fluoro waxes, which brushes to use and when, and the main kick waxes you should have in your wax box and how to apply them. You’ll come away with some easy to follow notes and a bonus beginners waxing kit generously supplied by Eastern Mountain Centre!

Wednesday 3rd June

Eastern Mountain Centre

Whitehorse Road, Deepdene VIC

6:30 – 9pm

with JC Legras, Level 2 Cross Country Ski Coach

$20 including wax

The course is suitable for parents of racers, new xc ski racers and people with a general interest in xc ski waxing.

To register your interest for the course, please email Allison McArdle by Tuesday 2nd June as places are limited.

allison.c.stoddart@gmail.com

0416627747 for more information