It’s business as usual for the women at Kincaid Park, as Kikkan Randall again skied her way to a sizable victory in the classic sprint qualifier.
21-year-old Ida Sargent had a spectacular morning as the only woman to get within four seconds of Randall’s time, and Anchorage’s Holly Brooks slotted into third, just under six seconds back. The other frontrunners for women’s Olympic berths, Rebecca Dussault and Caitlin Compton, finished sixth and 13th, respectively, 11 and 13 seconds down.
After some soft skiing yesterday, the tracks solidified overnight for the qualifier. But with many athletes herringboning the major hill on the course, success in the heats will require some agility and quick feet to make it over the fluffy snow on the climb, in addition to the power that will be needed to make it the rest of the way around the course. The race won’t be won on the climb, but it could be lost.
Today’s race is especially important in determining the Olympic team, because the classic sprint on the schedule in Whistler, unlike last Saturday’s freestyle event. But while today’s ranking points are based on the qualifier, there’s still some pride on the line for the heats.
Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.