CXC Elite Team Athlete Kristina Owen reports on activities and results for the first US Continental Cup races of the season.
The competitive season has begun, as CXC Team kicked it off with top finishes at the SuperTour races in West Yellowstone, Montana.
The fate of the races was at first in question. With low snow coverage in town and no storms in the forecast, the chances of holding races on the Rendezvous Trails looked slim. Luckily, West Yellowstone is blessed with a Plan B (or is it â€œPâ€?). The â€œPlateauâ€, just 5 miles out of town, is about 1000ft higher and holds snow extremely well. There was plenty of white up there for the whole festival; camps, lessons, races and all.
CXC arrived in West Yellowstone on the 16th, almost two weeks before the first races. Coming from sea level, Midwesterners need extra time at altitude to acclimate. The Team responded well to the solid training block. The first few days they spent on the Rendezvous Trails, kicking around on their rock skis. The snow was thin, but what was there was great. The temps rose and the snow down low slowly disappeared, so the Team moved their training up to the Plateau. Up high they found plenty of snow. They enjoyed the amazing views and getting an intimate knowledge of the coming race courses.
The first race of the year was the classic race on Friday. The course was great, the conditions perfect, but the athletes skied well below their potential. For one, Caitlin Compton, this could be blamed on a ski mix up. On her way to the start, she jumped off her skis to take off her warm-up pants, and jumped back on to the wrong pair. They were a teammate’s warm-up pair, with unscraped grooves and super-bomber kick. She still skied to 16th place, impressive in a race that depended on downhill speed and light kick.
Other athletes reported feeling like they skied well, but just weren’t able to go as fast as the competition. Whatever the reason, the entire team was ready for a chance at redemption during the skate race on Saturday.
Redeem themselves they did. Garrott Kuzzy and Caitlin Compton led the team with top finishes, 3rd for Kuzzy and 4th for Compton, both second among Americans. The rest of the team had similar good results, with four men and three women placing in the top twenty.
The team was originally scheduled to follow the SuperTour to the next races in Bozeman, MT and Soldier Hollow, UT. However, with both of those events being canceled due to lack of snow, Head Coach Fish made a quick change of plans. They headed to Silver Star, BC to take part in the NorAm races being held at Sovereign Lakes Ski Area. They look forward to building on their positive momentum, and turning in another weekend of great results!