Spring Series got underway this weeekend in Houghton Michigan. Originally scheduled
for Marquette, the races were moved last week due to less-than-ideal snow conditions
in Marquette. This weekend was a freestyle, individual start on Saturday, followed
by a classic pursuit on Sunday.
Most of the US Ski Team is not attending these races, due to a long couple
of months racing in Europe. But the fields are still very competitive, with
many US development team skiers taking part, as well as top Canadians, and a
few international skiers from across the pond.
In the women's race, Rebecca Dussault won the classic race by 9 seconds and
managed to out sprint Anja Veum in the freestyle pursuit to take the overall
victory. Sarah Peters of Canada was third in the classic race, while Canadian
National Team skier Tasha Betcherman skied up from fourth to third in the pursuit.
Dussault was a junior skiing sensation a few years ago who had top finishes
at World Juniors. She then got married and left the sport for a while. She started
making waves again this winter by challenging (even beating) Katrin Smigun in
western collegiate races (Dussault raced as a guest). In West Yellowstone a
couple weeks ago, she finished second in the 50K Rendezvous, less than a minute
behind Champion Katerina Hanasova. Dussault is clearly back in racing form and
is once again one of the top women in the country.
In the men's race, it was an international affair as Brynjar Skjaerli of Norway
came from second place after the first race to outsprint Canadian George Grey
for the win. Canadian Devon Kershaw was third on Saturday and held his position
on Sunday. Top American was Andrew Newell in 5th place.