Caitlin Gregg had her mind set on winning Saturday's American Birkebeiner and led much of the last 14 kilometers to the finish to secure her record-breaking fourth Birkie win. A newcomer to North America's largest ski race, Alaska's David Norris beat three Frenchmen by seconds to win the men's title.
Ivan Babikov's a World Cup racer, not a marathon specialist, but on Saturday, Feb. 20, he'll be one of the favorites at the 2016 American Birkebeiner in northern Wisconsin. He decided to do the race a week ago. “I remembered how crazy the Birkie is and how much people there care," he said. "This is their local Olympic Games, so I’m pretty pretty psyched to be going."
Caitlin Gregg didn't feel like herself when she started out the season on the World Cup, so after pushing through the Tour de Ski she came home. Now she's shooting to win the American Birkebeiner for the fourth time and set a new record as the all-time winningest athlete in race history.
An APU skier and University of Alaska-Anchorage professor shares the story of his experience at last month's Marcialonga. "The Italians are famous for their snowmaking, but it's still impressive to see a 70 k long white stripe of manmade snow that runs along an otherwise brown valley," the author recalls.
American sprint specialist Andy Newell a marathon contender? After placing second in Saturday's Dolomitenlauf 42 k classic, he could be hungry for more. “I haven’t done too many of these types of marathons," Newell said. "In the future I would like to make it to some more of the [Ski] Classic races and the really big European marathons.”
The 2016 Ski Classics kicks off this weekend with a doubleheader in Livigno, Italy, and the marathon regulars are chomping at the bit to get started with the long-distance race series.
A recent study found that taking more frequent feeds - six over the course of a 30 k rollerski time trial - helped maintain higher and more consistent blood sugar levels and minimized gastrointestinal discomfort, even if it didn't necessarily improve performance times. "Get to know what works best for you," recommended researcher Ben Stocks.
The American Birkebeiner will not be part of the FIS Marathon Cup, now re-named the FIS Worldloppet Cup, in 2016. But organizers are trying other plans to draw more international racers, and will be back on the Cup schedule in 2017.
Alaskan John Wood, 67, explains his journey in athletics after a serious knee injury at age 21, and how he recovered from a total knee replacement to win his age group at the 2015 Classic Birkie with the help of an Anchorage surgeon, physical therapists and the APU masters program.
In a shortened 30 k competition, Holly Brooks of APU placed 10th in the Ugra Ski Marathon in Khanty-Maniysk, Russia, not enough to hold onto the FIS Marathon Cup lead. She finished third overall, the best ranking ever for a North American skier. Tatjana Mannima of Estonia and Petr Novak of the Czech Republic took home the titles.
CXC masters skier and American Birkebeiner board member Charlie Dee recalls the story of two subsequent days of skiing in 2014 and the memories of late coach Igor Badamshim that came with them.
While most skiers are heading out on vacation, Holly Brooks is en route to Siberia for the last race of the FIS Marathon Cup. She leads the series by four points over Tatjana Mannima of Estonia, meaning that whether it's in first or in sixth, whoever crosses the finish line first takes the crown.
It seemed crazy: the Norwegian Birkebeiner has almost 3,000 feet of total climbing. But double-poling is what Petter Eliassen trains for, so that's what he did- and he became the first man to win the legendary marathon without kickwax. Therese Johaug picked up a five-minute victory in the women's race.
Caitlin Gregg finished third in her first Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland on Sunday for another bronze to add to her collection following World Championships. Holly Brooks was the second American woman in the top five and reclaimed the FIS Marathon Cup lead in fifth.
The 2015 American Birkebeiner 51 k freestyle marathon on Saturday offered no shortage of excitement, as Italy's Segio Bonaldi outsprinted three French skiers to win his second Birkie by half a second. American Holly Brooks used a hard push in the final kilometers to collect her second Birkie title as well.
There will be several things to keep an eye on during this year's 42nd American Birkebeiner, including top competitors, like two-time U.S. Olympian Holly Brooks, and a brand-new bridge just a few kilometers from the finish. Watch it live and follow our post-race coverage.
Sunday’s 50-kilometer classic race Jizerská Padesatka near Liberec, Czech Republic, is the next event in the 2015 Swix Ski Classics long-distance circuit and racers are eager to hit the tracks after a long break since mid-December.
When Holly Brooks traveled to Livigno, Italy, the former U.S. Ski Team member was focused on the La Sgambeda 42 k freestyle that marked the first FIS Marathon Cup race of the season. As fate would have it, however, Brooks exited the weekend as a member of a professional Norwegian team, Team Santander, alongside famed skier Anders Aukland, wax tech Magnar Dale, and manager Nils Marius Otterstad.
Catch up on what you may have missed this weekend, as nordic competitions across the globe are begging to heat up. Here, we recap everything from biathlon in Austria to the cross country World Cup in Switzerland and everything in between.
They called her a wild card -- the International Ski Federation, that is. And according to Holly Brooks, she wasn’t sure what she was capable of either. After a second-place finish in the first marathon of the season, she's excited about what's ahead of her.