RUMFORD, ME (Jan. 1) — A near-record field is expected this week as the 2003 Chevy Truck U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships return to Black Mountain and the Chisholm Ski Club for the third time in a decade. First races are Saturday.
In addition to national championships, berths on the teams heading to the World Championships Feb. 18-March 3 in Italy, the World Junior Championships Feb. 4-9 in Sweden and the first U-23 Championships Feb. 6-9 in Italy will be finalized.
“There's a lot at stake during these races,” said U.S. Head Coach Trond Nystad. “We have to complete a couple of teams for Europe, so that will add to the excitement.”
More than 350 racers have pre-registered for this season's championships, according to U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner. The record for entries at the U.S. championships was set last season in Bozeman, MT, when nearly 400 skiers registered.
“We expect to have a tremendous turnout of top-level juniors, more than usual,” Bodensteiner said, “and domestic racing is at a super-high level. We've got 'factory teams' [i.e., industry-supported teams of top elite racers] from Fischer, Rossignol and Madshus/Alpina, and several top club programs, so we know the competition is going to be at the highest level.”
The race schedule:
Saturday, Jan. 4 — Men's 30-km Classic technique, Women's 15-km CL
Monday, Jan. 6 — Men's 10-km Freestyle technique, Women's 5-km FR
Tuesday, Jan. 7 — Men's 10-km CL, Women's 5-km CL (Not “pursuit”)
Thursday, Jan. 9 — Freestyle 1.5-km sprints
Sunday, Jan. 12 — Mass-start FR races, Men's 50-km, Women's 30-km
“The Chisholm Ski Club stands alone in its ability to organize and run great races,” Bodensteiner said. “We're looking for outstanding racing all week.”