Winter Carnival weekend here in Falls Creek with big festivities for the Kangaroo Hoppet. Last night included opening ceremonies with fireworks, parade including an over-snow fire truck, and Night Sprints. Similar to the Elite Sprints down Main Street in Hayward, this sprint featured a steep downhill start with some fast corners and short climbs on a short 300m course. Knockout rounds including quarters, semis, and final were exciting with some hard crashes and lots of spectators. The men’s final featured and All-Olympic cast, including Australians Ben Sim, Alex Almoukov (biathlete), and Swiss sprinter Valerio Lecardi. I came in second behind Valerio in a last-second lunge to the line. Afterwards, it felt good to ski to the top of the Alpine run and rip some tele turns in the fresh falling powder.
The snow looks to be finally letting up, just in time for the Hoppet tomorrow. I’m heading out the door to do a little course inspection (haven’t even skied the entire course yet!), then go through the pre-race prep, getting skis dialed, big pasta dinner, and packing up for an early race start tomorrow morning. Saturday’s race should be done by the time Americans are heading to bed on Friday night!