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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2015 XC Towards 2018 Fundraising Wrap-Up

AUSXC Thankyou 2015 150px

As 2015 draws to a close it seems like a good time to give a wrap-up of the XC Towards 2018 fundraising efforts for the past year. The major team fundraiser of the year was the AUSXC Cocktail Party in Melbourne in October, hosted for the third year in a row at the house of Mandy Milne and Patrick Montgomery. By all accounts it was a very successful night, both from the perspective of fundraising and a social occasion. Approximately 120 people attended the event, which raised over $15,000 towards National Team athlete expenses.


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Special guests for the night included Michael Kennedy, the Ski & Snowboard Australia CEO, and Jo Prothero from the Falls Creek Resort, which is the National Team’s major partner and home of the National Training Centre throughout the winter. Features of the evening included silent and loud auctions, a video presentation of the 2015 winter put together by Paul Kovacs, and short speeches by national team athletes.

Sundeck Cup 2015 - m

The other two major annual fundraising activities for XC Towards 2018 are the Sundeck Cup at Perisher and Kangaroo Hoppet ski-waxing. Once again Cliff Wallis and the NSW XC race committee put on a great handicap race and lunch back at the Sundeck Hotel, raising $6,000 for the team. Numbers were up at the Hoppet with over $4,500 raised from the ski-waxing efforts of team coaches and athletes.

The final amount in the bank at the close of the SSA financial year on November 1 was just over $27,500, all of which will go towards National Team athlete expenses in the 2015-2016 international program which is already underway. Though slightly short of the $30,000 fundraising target set earlier in the year, it was very close and additional money is still coming in from Cocktail Party auction items.

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

Cocktail Night Donors:

Falls Creek Resort Eastern Mountain Centre Merlin Ski Fields Falls Creek
Aimee Watson Evelyn Helmer Montgomery Family
Allan Marsland Fuel Brothers Café Oz Wood Giftware
Arctic Fit Geneovese Coffee Paddy Pallin Jindabyne
Balwyn Sports and Physiotherapy Centre Geraldine Blanch Palace Cinemas
Gillian Hillman Phillipa’s Bakery
Books In Print Globe Paul Family
Bounce Henry Buck’s Roof Carrier Systems
Brown Brothers Jean Claude Legras Sally Marsland
Bursill Sports Gear Jessica Yeaton Simone Perele
Cable Knitwear Jewellry Plus Ulladulla Snow, Trek & Travel
Casey Wright Kat Paul The Muesli Company
Clive Tutt Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Treats Café
Dewez Family Louise Ajani Willow
Lullaby Children’s Wear


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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Slush Slogging (Hochfilzen Race Report)

Race report from Nick Montgomery. Jackson Bursill and Finlay Clarke doing their first races for the season.

Half an Adventure

The early part of a European season often involves a lot of Australian Team athletes in many different places. I had planned to do this long weekend of Alpen (European) Cup racing basically by myself, with wax support from the British team, similar to how I did these same races last year. However, I decided on short notice to go up to Davos last weekend for some training and to watch Phil in the World Cup race there, and ended up taking team-mate Jackson Bursill back to Germany with me, as he decided he wanted to do at least one of the races. Junior team member Finlay Clarke was meant to be in Eastern Germany for the weekend, but after that was cancelled he also joined at the last minute, with a bus trip and a slight diversion allowing us to pick him up on the way.

A very snowless morning run in St Ulrich am Pillersee A very snowless…

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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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Rollerskiing in Perth

See below a great plug for rollerskiing in Australia on Channel 9 in Perth a week ago thanks to Roller Ski Australia.

Draft 2016 Race Calendar

The draft 2016 Australian Race Calendar has been released for feedback from race organisers and preliminary planning, and is posted here in PDF format.

The major event dates and locations have been confirmed by the SSA XC committee as follows:

• July 30/31: AUS Championship Sprint C & Distance F, Perisher
• August 6/7: Australian Junior Championship, Perisher
• August 7-14: NSW XC Week, Perisher
• August 20/21*: AUS Championship Sprint F & Distance C, Falls Creek
• August 27: Kangaroo Hoppet, Falls Creek

Most club races have been rolled over from details in 2015. Race organisers wishing to change details should contact the National or State Race Secretaries via the contact details on the calendar.

* Dates corrected from the original post.