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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NZ Winter Games 2015 – Classic Sprint

The NZ Winter Games kicked off today with a classic sprint under cloudy skies after a few days of magical sunshine. A small but competitive field containing: Australians, Koreans, Canadians, a New Zealander and a Slovenian raced over either 850m (Women) or 1700m (Men) on a loop containing a long, three-staged uphill and another short pinch before a long, downhill finish.

In the qualifying, Katerina (pronounced “Ket” or “Kit” in Kiwi) Paul finished third (about 4 seconds back) behind Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt from Canada and Barbara Jezersek from Slovenia. Alecia Phillips qualified 8th out of the field of 10, with 8 proceeding into the Semi-Finals. Continue reading

Sprang Series

See below for Kat Paul’s latest post from the Lake Mountain Ambassador Program weebly blog (originally posted on April 9).

Following my week in Truckee CA, I had my last set of races, USSA Spring Series at my home away from home, Sun Valley. The first race was a 10km classic; I decided to give this race a miss as I was still recovering from Junior Nationals. The second race was the skate sprint, I was feeling good, but the snow was rock hard, and very hard for me to get any power out of my legs. I missed out on qualifying for the senior heats, but as a junior I was able to race in the junior heats. I was dissatisfied with my rank in 7th place, but I knew I could only move up. The sprint course of the day was one I had raced many times and I knew my strategy, even though I was disheartened by the qualifier I had the upper hand mentally as I knew exactly what moves I would pull out. For the first round I finished in 1st place, putting my plan in action. As there were fewer juniors there were only 2 rounds. Next up was the A final. I was feeling good despite the tight turn-around between rounds. My plan was going well until the final straight, when I was about to make my move I slipped and fell. It was too late for me to catch up so I came in 6th postion. I was disappointed with my outcome but I had a great looking bruise on my leg that swelled up straight after. So at least I came away with something to show, just maybe not what I had originally intended.

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Finishing the season with a bang!

See below for a late reposting of Casey Wright’s last post from the Lake Mountain Ambassador Program weebly blog (originally posted on March 28).

I have now been back in Australia for a week and have been loving the opportunity to catch some summer weather before we plunge into another winter. Before I made the marathon journey across the pacific back home I had one more set of the races to complete before my season was officially over.

This year the final races of the US racing series (the USSA Super Tour Sprint Series Finals) were held in Sun Valley. After returning from Sweden I had about 2.5 weeks to recover and prepare for the races. During this time we experienced some unseasonably warm weather and as a result the snow conditions deteriorated. Despite the fact that the snow was melting before my eyes, I did not miss the opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D, and as such spent almost every session skiing/ training in a T-shirt.

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German Champs 50km Classic: Race Report

Half an Adventure

They’re done, it’s all over! With one final race last weekend, I wrapped up my longest race season so far, with my longest race so far. Going into this race I was pretty nervous about even being able to finish, given how tough the distance is psychologically, and I rarely do training sessions with 50km of skiing, nor races over 15km. Fortunately the race was moved from its original location in Garmisch, where the Kaltenbrunn course is famous for being brutally tough, to Bodenmais, a resort town in the Bavarian Forest, up near the Czech border east of Munich.

The first consequence of moving the race was that it was no longer an internationally-sanctioned FIS race, which meant I wasn’t going to be allowed to start, for a whole host of bureaucratic reasons that only Germans could possibly understand. Fortunately, my coach made a few phone calls, and a guest…

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Back in the sunny States.

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

I flew straight back to Anchorage, Alaska after Europe and the plan was to recharge, refocus and as one of the Australian coaches said to me “head to my happy place”. Over the course of the two weeks that’s exactly what I did. The conditions in Anchorage were almost perfect for training. No there weren’t endless kilometres of skiing there but what they had was really good quality skiing with some of the best trails I’ve been able to ski all year. That’s all thanks to their ability to make snow exclusively for the cross country trails. But the best part was that there had been a lot of melt out, so if you didn’t fancy skiing finding dry running trails was simple and again spectacular. Everything seemed to set up nicely while I was there. The weather turned to perfect blue bird days but with cool enough temperatures that…

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