NCAA Nordic Championships in Steamboat Springs, CO

March 10, 20103
Racers preview the course at Howelsen Hill - the alpine hill of Steamboat Springs in the background

The 2010 NCAA Nordic Ski Championships are set to begin tomorrow at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, hosted by the University of Colorado.  It is appropriate to be in “Ski Town USA” at this time, and especially at this location.  As the oldest ski area in continuous use in Colorado, Howelsen Hill has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America.  This ski club takes pride in its rich history of Nordic skiing and the large number of athletes from its programs that have attended Olympic games, among those the recent Nordic Combined Olympic medal winners Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane.

There are 78 collegiate racers representing 21 teams who have qualified for this competition: 15 from the Central Region, 24 from the Eastern Region, and 39 from the Western Region.  Thursday’s race will be a 5 and 10 kilometer individual start classic race, and Saturday’s race will be a 15 and 20 kilometer mass start freestyle.  All races will be run on a 5 kilometer loop, which is mapped below.  The course provides a tough climb out of start, the first kilometer being a series of steep uphills. Then the slope backs off, but keeps climbing steadily uphill until reaching the high point at around 3 kilometers. From there it is downhill, with several uphill blips, to the stadium. The stadium is set around the Romick Rodeo Arena that is adjacent to the Howelsen Hill ski center.  The races were meant to start inside the arena, but due to ease of wax tent access they will now start just outside the arena.

The outermost part of the course is shown looping back toward the high point at 3km

As the race courses start at 2044 meters in elevation and climb to 2118 meters, some teams – especially from the central and eastern divisions –  have been in town for over a week, trying to get acclimated to the thin air.  The temperatures have been warm, climbing into the mid-40’s and mostly sunny the last couple days, with a dusting of snow overnight.  There is a solid base of snow, the top of which has been continuously melting in the day and freezing overnight.  The snow is granular and wet, and the classic waxing has been mildly difficult. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a good chance of light snow and temperatures ranging from 29 degrees F at the women’s 9:30am start to 33 degrees F at the men’s 11:30am start.

The field will be small, but very competitive, as the athletes of each region have raced a series of 4-6 weekends in order to be one of the few who qualify for this culminating event.


Here is a look at the top competitors in each region, the schedule of events, and a course map.

First Teams (top 5 ranked individuals after all qualifying races are scored)

Western Region (RMISA) First Team:

Martin Kaas (photo credit: Trond Flagstad)


Martin Kaas (UNM) – 389

Matt Gelso (CU) – 374

Jesper Ostensen (CU) – 363

Vegard Kjoelhamar (CU) -362

Harald Lovesnkiold (DU) – 335

Martin Kaas has been a dominant racer for the West, winning 5  out of 8 races and only missing out on the podium once. Matt Gelso won two races and was on the podium 4 out of 8 races.

Antje Maempe, DU (Photo:


Antje Maempel (DU) – 397

Eliska Hajkova (CU) – 380

Maria Graefnings (UNR) – 367

Polina Ermoshina (UNM) – 366

Kate Dolan (DU) – 359

Maeampel was never outside of the podium in any qualification race this year, winning 5 out of 8 races and taking 2nd in the other three.  Hajkova was a close competitor, winning one race and taking four second place finishes.

Central Region (CCSA) First Team


Santi Ocariz, UWGB

Santiago Ocariz (UWGB) –  221

Oskar Lund (MTU) – 152

George Cartwright  (NMU) – 144

Kevin Cutts (NMU) –  111

Jens Brabbit (GAC) –  104

Ocariz is a senior from Spooner, Wisconsin who will be competing in his fourth championships.  Last year he placed 27th and 29th and is looking to be a stronger contender this year.

Christina Gillis (NMU)


Christina Gillis (NMU) –  159

Laura DeWitt (NMU) –  157

Aurelia Korthauer (UAF) –  150

Henna Riikonen-Purtsi  (MTU) – 133

Carolyn Freeman (UWGB) –  130

Junior Christina Gillis missed qualifying for NCAA’s by one tenth of a point last year, and this year came back with a vengeance in order to be the region’s top qualifier, with teammate and senior DeWitt right behind her.

Franz Bernstein (photo: Lincoln Benedict)

Eastern Region (EISA) First Team


Franz Bernstein (UVM) – 380

Nils Koons (DAR) – 340

Patrick Johnson (MID) – 300

Patrick O’Brien (DAR) – 250

Dylan McGuffin (UNH) – 244

A strong racer in the classic technique, Bernstein won 5 of the 10 qualifying races, 4 of which were classic. The rest of the top field was very competitive, and the top 5 was variable in every race.

Ida Sargent, DAR (photo: Lincoln Benedict)


Ida Sargent (DAR) – 400

Caitlin Patterson (UVM) – 340

Rosie Brennan (DAR) – 300

Katie Bono (DAR) – 265

Erika Flowers (DAR) – 229

Ida Sargent won all but one race that she entered, often by a sizeable margin, and captured a perfect score for the season.  Unlike the men’s division in the east, the women’s division often saw the same three at the top of the charts, Patterson and Brennan rounding out the podium in many races.

2010 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships – Schedule of Events

University of Colorado; Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Tuesday, March 9

6:15 p.m. – 8 p.m. Championship Banquet – Champagne Powder Room at the top of Mt Werner

Thursday, March 11

Nordic Schedule Howelsen Hill

9:30 a.m. Women’s 5-km Classical – Howelsen Hill

11:30 a.m. Men’s 10-km Classical – Howelsen Hill

Awards/Flower Ceremony (immediately following)

Saturday, March 13

Nordic Schedule Howelsen Hill

10 a.m. Men’s 20 km Freestyle (mass start) – Howelsen Hill

12 p.m. Women’s 15-km Freestyle (mass start) – Howelsen Hill

Awards/Flower Ceremony (immediately following)

1:30 p.m. Team awards Ceremony & Barbecue – Howelsen Hill

12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Race Headquarters – Olympian Hall, Howelsen Hill

A Complete Listing of Athletes by Region and team:

Central Region –

Chris Bowler, Northern Michigan

Laura DeWitt, Northern Michigan

Christina Gillis, Northern Michigan

Monica Markvardsen, Northern Michigan

Kevin Cutts, Northern Michigan

George Cartwright, Northern Michigan

Jens Brabbit, Gustavus Adolphus

Carolyn Freeman, Green Bay

Santiago Ocariz, Green Bay

Theresia Schnurr, Alaska Fairbanks

Aurelia Korthauer, Alaska Fairbanks

Tyler Kornfield, Alaska Fairbanks

John Parry, Alaska Fairbanks

Oskar Lund, Michigan Tech

Henna Riikonen-Purtsi, Michigan Tech

East Region –

Wyatt Fereday, Colby

Lucy Garrec, Colby

Caitlin Curran, Vermont

Jennie Bender, Vermont

Caitlin Patterson, Vermont

Franz Bernstein, Vermont

Eric Wolcott, St. Lawrence

Benjamin Knowles, St. Lawrence

Zachary Wetherell, St. Lawrence

Dimitri Lüthi, Williams

Alice Nelson, Williams

Claire Egan, Wellesley

Patrick Johnson, Middlebury

Lauren Fritz, Middlebury

Patrick O’Brien, Dartmouth

Ida Sargent, Dartmouth

Rosie Brennan, Dartmouth

Nils Koons, Dartmouth

Katie Bono, Dartmouth

Eric Packer, Dartmouth

Dylan McGuffin, New Hampshire

Natasha Kullas, New Hampshire

Anya Bean, New Hampshire

Natalie Ruppertsberger, Bates

West Region –

Elias Bucher, Nevada

Maria Graefnings, Nevada

Charlie Smith, Nevada

Kristin Ronnestrand, Nevada

Michael Schallinger, Alaska Anchorage

Jaime Bronga, Alaska Anchorage

Tor Christopherson, Alaska Anchorage

Steffi Hiemer, Alaska Anchorage

Lex Treinen, Alaska Anchorage

Laura Rombach, Alaska Anchorage

Kate Dolan, Denver

Andrew Dougherty, Denver

Mari Elden, Denver

Harald Loevenskiold, Denver

Antje Maempel, Denver

Kristian Soerlund, Denver

Matt Gelso, Colorado

Eliska Hajkova, Colorado

Vegard Kjoelhamar, Colorado

Jesper Ostensen, Colorado

Joanne Reid, Colorado

Alexa Turzian, Colorado

Polina Ermoshina, New Mexico

Tor-Hakon Hellebostad, New Mexico

Martin Kaas, New Mexico

Linn Klaesson, New Mexico

Pierre Niess, New Mexico

Miles Havlick, Utah

Sarah MacCarthy, Utah

Rose Kemp, Utah

Martin Liljemark, Utah

Didrik Smith, Utah

Zoe Roy, Utah

Kaelin Kiesel, Montana State

Casey Kutz, Montana State

Tyler Reinking, Montana  State

Bernhard Roenning, Montana  State

State Mellie Park, Montana State

Ryan Scott, Montana State


NCAA skiing

Live Timing

Western Region RMISA

Central Region CCSA

Eastern Region EISA

The 5km course at Howelsen Hill - to be used for both classic and skate races

This video was taken in slow snow – in fast conditions a skier is able to get air on this stomach dropper of a downhill.

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  • Mike Trecker

    March 10, 2010 at 11:48 am



    March 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Everyone’s a LOBO, woof, woof, woof!

  • Mike Trecker

    March 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Denver way out in front after the GS. The Pioneer’s meet to lose now.

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