Three women in the quarterfinals and one just barely outside? U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb was thrilled with Ida Sargent’s and Sophie Caldwell’s quarterfinal appearances and pleased to see Kikkan Randall a bit more like herself, he also stayed realistic: “I wouldn’t use any other word that celebrates it more than [good].”
Liz Stephen wants to ski like skiing really matters: “I was focused on that aggression, and wanting to win more than I’ve ever wanted to win.” That took her to 20th place in the 10 k classic, leading teammates Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen who all finished within a few seconds. Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 48th place in the 15 k classic.
Never fail, on Monday afternoon during a flight from Frankfurt to Denver, Noah Hoffman blogged. And not just any quick update, almost a whopping 2,000 words. The U.S. Ski Team’s top male distance skier got online to explain exactly what happened Sunday in Kuusamo, Finland, where he fell hard with slightly less than 2 kilometers to go in the first World Cup distance race of the season.
Sadie Bjornsen was, in a way, trying to avoid the kind of seventh-place showing she broke out with last year in Kuusamo, Finland. Instead, she placed 17th on Sunday for a result she was pleased with, especially considering how much it hurt. Jessie Diggins was 39th and four more Americans were in the top 60.
Noah Hoffman is headed back home before his season really started. With 1 kilometer to go in his first official race the season, the 25-year-old U.S. Ski Team member suffered a lower-leg injury after crashing hard on a troublesome downhill corner. He is due in Denver on Monday afternoon, and plans to see a specialist for an official diagnosis shortly after.
While two Americans won Friday’s Frozen Thunder sprints, Canada had its revenge on Monday, taking four of six podium spots. In the men’s 10.8 k skate race, Devon Kershaw bested Kris Freeman by five seconds to take the win. In the Women’s 7.2 k race, biathlete Rosanna Crawford edged Liz Stephen for the win.
There are a couple things one can count on in Canmore, including solid tracks and quality snow, even in October. At the first unofficial sprint of the North American season on Friday, more than 120 racers found both for the Frozen Thunder classic sprint, and organizers added what could be a new tradition to the mix: a zero-elimination format.
Norway’s Celine Brun-Lie chatted with FasterSkier while wrapping up her camp with the U.S. Ski Team and APU on Eagle Glacier. She flew home Tuesday, but not before flying around Alaska, visiting cabins, eating salmon, seeing moose, lots of moose — and training 20-plus hours for each of the last two weeks.