If the men who skied eleven laps in Thursday’s national championship 30 k were hoping for some longer loops in next weekend’s SuperTour in Lake Placid, event chair Ethan Towsend has some disappointing news: unless Mt. Van Hoevenberg receives a huge dose of snow from an impending storm, it’s likely that one of the two competitions will have to be moved to a two-kilometer loop.
The SuperTour, scheduled for next Friday and Saturday, includes two events: a 10 k/5 k classic followed by a 15 k/10 k skate.
There’s no question that both will be run, Townsend said. But it’s likely that the Friday race will have to be moved from the icy Ladies 5 k at Mt. Van Hoevenberg to a two-kilometer loop at Lake Placid’s Olympic Jumping Complex, which has ample stockpiles of manmade snow.
A storm is forecast to come through the area this weekend, but Townsend said that it was unlikely to dump enough snow to alter the organizers’ predicament.
“Unless we get a solid ten to twelve inches of real snow…it probably won’t be enough,” Townsend said.
Saturday’s skate race is also planned for Mt. Hoevenberg, but on the venue’s biathlon trails, across the road from the Ladies 5 k. That one should be able to go off as scheduled, Townsend said, with only a slight alteration to the course.
According to Townsend, the problem with Friday’s course is that it doesn’t drain well.
“Ladies 5 k has so many points, especially coming down, where you collect a lot of water,” he said. “Even if you have coverage, it’s basically like a rink beneath that snow.”
The backup venue for Friday’s race is the two-kilometer loop at the Jumping Complex. While it’s short, it doesn’t lack for difficulty: it’s basically one long climb, from the bottom of Lake Placid’s ski jumps, winding all the way up to the same height as the take-off points.
If the course at the Jumping Complex ends up being used, Townsend said that the women would have to do three laps, for a total of six kilometers—one more than planned—while the men would still race 10 kilometers. An official decision will come by Sunday morning.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.