The best cross country skiing competition in the nation is just a month away, with the 2009 Conoco Phillips United States Cross Country Ski Championships scheduled to run January 3-8 in Anchorage, Alaska.
More than 400 skiers, including likely 2010 Olympic competitors, top collegians and the nation’s best juniors will take part in the races at Kincaid Park, Alaska’s premier Nordic skiing venue.
The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage and the Municipality of Anchorage are hosting the events, helped by scores of volunteers and financial donors.
â€œWe’re thrilled to host the best skiers in America in an incredible race venue,â€ said Joey Caterinichio, co-chair of the event organizing committee. â€œAll the pieces have been coming together very smoothly, and seeing a foot of fresh snow a few days ago was the best of all!â€
Racing begins on January 3 with classic sprints. Recent improvements to the stadium area trails at Kincaid Park have made the 1.2 kilometer course very spectator friendly. The former Nike missile base is home to 60 kilometers of trails and has a large chalet for athletes and spectator use.
Distance races fill the middle of the championship schedule, with 10 kilometer (women) and 15 kilometer (men) freestyle races on January 5, and 5 kilometer (women) and 10 kilometer (men) classic races on January 7. Sprinting takes center stage again on January 8 with the team sprints. Teams of two skiers each compete in the mass start event, with each skier completing the sprint course three times, tagging their partner in the stadium start-finish area.
All events are free and open to the public.
The Conoco Phillips U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships is one of four major events set for Anchorage this winter. Also on tap are the World Youth/Junior Biathlon Team Trials (December 26-30), U.S. National Masters (March 5-8) and USSA J2 Junior Olympic Ski Jumping Championships (March 3-7).
Full details on the January ski championships, including registration forms for athletes and course maps, are available on-line at www.uscrosscountrychampionships.org