Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová, a Czech World Cup cross-country skier for the last decade, is headed to her first Summer Olympics to run the marathon, and she plans to skip the next ski season. “It’s great challenge and motivation, therefore I decided to focus fully on athletics,” she said.
FasterSkier contributor JoJo Baldus takes us through his whirlwind of Wordloppet experiences this past winter, sharing insider details only someone who actually raced each marathon event could understand.
A group of Americans, including USSA president and CEO Tiger Shaw, explains why Switzerland's 42-kilometer Engadin freestyle marathon should be on your bucket list, and why you should do it sooner than later.
A first-time racer and a former champion returning after a long absence skied to convincing victories in the Anchorage Tour 30 k freestyle on Sunday, the shortened version of the 50 k Tour of Anchorage which took place on a 3 k loop at Kincaid Park.
USSA CEO Tiger Shaw had never done a cross-country ski race before. But he went to Hayward, Wisconsin, for the American Birkebeiner, where he raced from Wave 9. "You can see that it’s really part of people’s lives,” he said of the event. Shaw highlighted how USSA is trying to work with regional divisions and provide more services to the nordic world.
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.