Randall Keeps on Rolling, With Fourth Straight Win

Nathaniel HerzApril 1, 20113
Kikkan Randall (right, APU/USST) leading her quarterfinal.

Four down, one to go.

The best season of Kikkan Randall’s career is almost over, and she’s going out in style, having won four straight races at the SuperTour Finals and U.S. 30 k Championships in Sun Valley.

The latest was Friday’s classic sprint, in which she skied into the finish with a clear, two-and-a-half second lead over her roommate, Canadian Chandra Crawford, with Utah’s Maria Graefnings in third.

Under a hot sun, the finals were a mushy, messy affair, with several women skiing in t-shirts and sports bras. But Randall (APU/USST) was unfazed—after crushing the morning’s qualifier on a fast, boilerplate surface, she fared just as well in the slop, opening a gap over the others on the course’s one climb.

“I knew that the critical section was going to be coming into the hill, just kind of keeping momentum going there, and carrying it over the top,” she said. “I felt like I did pretty well—I was really happy that my energy was just super-consistent through the day.”

Indeed, after her win in the qualifier, Randall didn’t miss a beat. In her quarter, she skied to a dominating, five-second win over Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell, breaking at the start and building her lead over the length of the 1.4-kilometer course.

In the semis, she waited a bit longer to make a move, but when she did, on the hill, it was equally decisive.

Ida Sargent (Craftsbury) in the B-final.

While Randall didn’t seem to be bothered as the conditions evolved throughout the day, the same couldn’t be said for the other women. Just like for the men, there were some big differences in ski speed. Several women struggled to find a balance between enough kick to climb the hill, but not so much that it slowed the skis down on the ensuing descent, among them Ida Sargent (Craftsbury), who qualified second but was eliminated in the semifinals.

“It was really packed in the beginning, so I got blocked out. Then, I tried to go for it on the hill, but it’s kind of hard when you get passed tucking,” she said. “That’s spring racing. I like it when it’s sunny—I can’t complain. But it would have been nice to have the other outcome.”

Nobody was skiing in the tracks, with some women on klister, and others on zeroes. Crawford switched from klister to zeroes after barely escaping from her quarterfinal as a lucky loser, and the new skis, she said, made things better.

After the quarterfinal, she said, “I was like, ‘well, I’m hydrating, I’m mentally prepared, I just don’t think my body’s working.’ But then I got on these [zeroes], and it felt so much easier.”

In the finals, Randall met Crawford for the first time, after besting Graefnings in the semis. For the first portion of the race, until the climb, the other women stuck close to Randall, who said she was still taking it out hard, even though she knew the other women would be there.

“I know I’m feeling good right now, so this is just good practice to go out and just try to run it hard,” she said. “I just

Chandra Crawford (CNST) at the line.

wanted to go out and kind of ski sections well. And [I] knew those girls were going to be right there with me on the last one, but I wasn’t afraid to go out and lead, and hope that I had the strength on the last hill that I had in the semifinal.”

Indeed, she did, and the hill was where she opened her gap. Crawford said that ideally, she would have attacked on the ensuing downhill, but with Randall already ahead, “a long distance attack from 20 feet back is not much of an attack—it’s more like an attempt to catch up.”

For her part, Graefnings said that Randall was a little too strong up the last hill—and that while her own glide was excellent, she was struggling with her own kick.

That left Randall free to collect her fourth victory in six days, along with another $500 for the win, and $200 for setting the fastest qualifying time.

She’s now more than a minute ahead of her nearest challenger in the overall standings of the SuperTour Finals mini-tour, with the last stage a hill climb up Dollar Mountain on Saturday.

Link to results from heats. Overall women’s standings.


Nathaniel Herz

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.

Loading Facebook Comments ...


  • bc

    April 2, 2011 at 1:03 am

    How were the lucky losers chosen out of the quarters? Other than the top two finishers in each quarterfinal, it looks like the fastest times were Heather Mooney and Morgan Smyth out of the 2nd quarterfinal. Since they were considerably faster in the quarters than Chandra Crawford or Ida Sargent, why weren’t they in the semis?

  • skiarrhea

    April 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Lately in races in the U.S. the lucky losers have been chosen by the two fastest qualifying times of third place finishers in the quarterfinals. It looks like that is what happened as Ida Sargent qualified 3rd, and Chandra Crawford qualified 2nd.

  • sailguy

    April 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    In Noram, Supertour, and most below world cup races, the lucky losers are chosen by qualifying times from the third place heat finishers. At the world cup, Olympics, etc, the lucky losers are picked by heat times.

    There are often B finals at the ‘lower’ level races to get more skiers to the chance to do another round.

    The reason for using qualifying times is that it is much easier for the finish line crew to pick lucky losers by bib number than by waiting for the photo finish camera people to declare precise heat times. In many races now, the heats are not timed at all.

    For the men’s sprint final at last year’s Olympics, the official list of finalists was radioed out to the start team about 30 seconds before the athletes got called in to pick lanes. That’s a bit too exciting for a supertour/noram race.

Leave a Reply