Total 25 - 3505137944
Wild Rumpus Sports
 

In Third Season, Cnossen Aims to Lead U.S. Paralympics Nordic, Starting in Canmore

Lt. Dan Cnossen (U.S. Paralympics) racing to 11th in Tuesday's sit-ski sprint at the IPC World Cup in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Lt. Dan Cnossen (U.S. Paralympics) racing to 11th in Tuesday’s sit-ski sprint at the IPC World Cup in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

One of the most successful men on the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Team last season,  Lt. Dan Cnossen cut right to the chase when asked about his training this summer and fall.

“I think we’re going to find out real quick when I go up against the Russians,” Cnossen responded in a phone interview before the first International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Canmore, Alberta, from Dec. 9 to 17.

According to U.S. Paralympics High Performance Director John Farra, Cnossen, originally from Topeka, Kansas, is relatively new to the sport.  He joined the team after the 2010 Winter Paralympics, and in the three years since he’s been living and training in Winter Park, Colo., Cnossen has risen to lead the U.S. men’s sit-ski team.

Dan Cnossen (Navy) goes out hard from the start of the 15 k sit ski at U.S. Adaptive Championships in Soldier Hollow on Saturday.

Lt. Dan Cnossen (Navy) racking up one of three national titles at U.S. Adaptive Championships last season in Midway, Utah.

“He trains unbelievably professionally,” Farra said. “He really puts everything into it.”

A Navy SEAL who lost both his legs in an Afghanistan explosion in 2009, the first day he was promoted to lieutenant, Cnossen, 33, has full use of his core.

“He is a ‘V’ cut, super-strong … looking guy,” Farra said.

Last year, Cnossen excelled on the domestic and international scene, notching podiums at U.S. nationals and the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wis.

This summer, he ventured down to Argentina to train and race the 21-kilometer Marchablanca and 42 k Ushuaia Loppet. “That trip really reinvigorated my training,” Cnossen said.

Skiing on snow is important to Cnossen, because he describes his mountain board (a sit skier’s equivalent to rollerskis) as a “strength machine.”

“It’s very hard to work my cardio on it because it doesn’t roll very fast,” he said.

Lt. Dan Cnossen of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic National Team doing loaded pull-ups during a strength session at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. (Photo: www.facebook.com/USParalympicsNordic)

Lt. Cnossen of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic National Team doing loaded pull-ups during a strength session at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center two summers ago. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Using prosthetic legs, Cnossen has devised other ways to raise his heart rate.

“You do what you can, and for me, I was a big runner before my injury,” he said. “I’m very lucky that I can do it, and I’m really lucky that I can walk too. ”

He mostly runs 5- and 10-k races, which helps with his nordic training.

“Plus, running gives me a chance to rest my shoulders,” he said.

Cnossen is testing in a new custom sit ski this year, a lighter model that he hopes will help him ski faster.

“It’s a really important part of the sport; you have to be comfortable, you have to be well secured … not only for power transfer, but for ski control,” he said. “I found a group of engineers who were willing to work with me and they’ve done a great job.”

Summing up his thoughts about the season ahead, Cnossen said he was confident in his skiing abilities.

“I’m hoping I’m a little better tactician,” he said. “I know I’m stronger physically this year and I have better equipment so it will be exciting to see how I end up on the results list.”

Lt. Dan Cnossen at the start of a sprint qualifier at a 2013 test event in Sochi, Russia.

Lt. Dan Cnossen at the start of a sprint qualifier at a 2013 test event in Sochi, Russia.

In terms of tactics, he said he needs to work on sprinting.

“I try to be a sponge,” he said. “Since this is only my third year, every time I go to a World Cup I try to watch the Russians and the athletes from other countries.  I watch what lines they take.  Are they in the track are they out of the track? Their rhythm of double poling, the nuances of ski handling. I hope it pays off.”

Also a biathlete who’s tweaked his training, Cnossen predicts improvement there as well.

“I think you’ll see some improved hit rates,” he said. “I knew the first couple of years, even if I shot perfectly I wouldn’t ski fast enough, no where near it. First and foremost, I thought the strength and conditioning would take the longest to develop.  I have a background in shooting and I can tweak that in a relatively short amount of time compared to how long it would take do develop the strength to conditioning to be fast enough to keep up with the top guys.”

So far, he’s notched ninth place in the 10 k at Canmore, leading the U.S. men. On Tuesday, he placed 11th in the sprint behind teammates Sean Halsted and Andy Soule in eighth and ninth, respectively.

Lt. Dan Cnossen (U.S. Paralympics) tallied multiple podiums at the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wis., in January. (Photo: James Netz)

Lt. Dan Cnossen (U.S. Paralympics) tallied multiple podiums at the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wis., in January. (Photo: James Netz)

***

What: IPC World Cup at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta

Schedule:
 

IPC Cross Country World Cup

  • December 9 10:00am Men’s 10km/Women’s 5km Skate
  • December 10 11:00am Sprint Classic (Heats start at 12:00)
  • 
December 12 10:00am Men’s 20km/Women’s 15km Classic

IPC Biathlon World Cup

  • 
December 14 10:00 Biathlon Sprint
  • December 15 10:00 Biathlon Middle Distance
  • December 17 10:00 Biathlon Long Distance

Leave a Comment