The 5th Annual Pocatello Potato Cup race was held on January 5th at the Mink Creek XC ski area just outsidePocatello, Idaho. The race is a freestyle event consisting of 2, 5 and 15K events. The long course is a winding 5K loop lined by Douglas firs and Aspen groves — hilly enough to challenge hard-core veterans but gentle enough for ambitious beginners as well. It’s truly a great course at a beautiful location.
Start of the Men's race
The organizers had done a great job preparing the course and a record 90 skiers entered the race.
The drive from Salt Lake City is only two hours and we predict that this will become a very popular event and might reach 200 racers next year.
Torbjorn Karlsen With His Victory Prize
Overall Women’s 15K winner was junior Sara Hunt and coach Torbjorn Karlsen won the men’s overall 15K.
Among other notables was that each of the four children from the Holly and Jim Stray Gundersen family of Park City, Utah won their age groups. We believe that they celebrated the victories with mashed potatoes that evening since winners all received a large Idaho potato.Â Â
The Gundersen kids will be eating potatoes for weeks
Torbjorn had these comments:
â€œThe course was great with a few short steep uphills as well as one 3 minute very gradual uphill section and one 6 minutes harder continues uphill. The climbs were followed by some good downhills that were high speed but not too technical. For me this was a great change from the last two races in Park City that were held on the golf course.
“The men’s open field was very competitive and included two top 100 skiers from last years Birkie, Don Polari and Jim DiDomenico — all the way from Minocqua, WI.
“Other veterans’ skiers included Randy Anderson, Dave Knoop, Erik Maas, former Dartmouth College star and several fast locals.
“The above mentioned skiers pretty much skied together for the first 12.5K. This was where the last 6 minute long climb started and my goal was to see if I could â€œbreak it upâ€ on this climb. That strategy worked and my winning margin was about 22 seconds.
“I tried to race the race the way I do intervals – as little lactate as practical possible the first part and then â€œall outâ€ towards the end. It’s fun when it works.
“Winning the potato cup has a special meaning to me since my Grand father x 6 or so on my mothers side, Hans Bronstedt Hauge was a Potato-priest (we are talking hundreds of years ago here — the real dark age) that came from Denmark and taught the Norwegians that they were supposed to eat the potatoes – that they could find in he ground and not the leaves! He now has got his own monument stone in theBamble County in Telemark Norway. Â Â
Start of the kids race
“Having potatoes as prizes is also a good idea and I think that might be the solution to stop doping on the World Cup as well. No more cash prices, just a simple potato.
“I’m also working on another proposal for FIS since they always like to make changes: Big post race meals for the winners and small ones for the rest
Potato Race results
Read another account of the race from the Idaho State Journal