Though we didn’t have a staff reporter on-site at the Bozeman, MT SuperTour this weekend, there were still plenty of interesting anecdotes to take away from the accounts athletes gave of their races.
Most significantly, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s (SVSEF) Mike Sinnott will be headed to Europe in January for his first World Cups that side of the Atlantic. FIS awards World Cup starts to Continental Cup leaders at the end of Period 1, which Sinnott became as of Sunday by finishing seventh in the 15 k classic.
After racing in Rumford, ME at US Nationals, Sinnott will be headed first to Milan, Italy for the January 14 – 15 city sprints, and then on to Otepaa, Estonia the following weekend.
Sinnott is no newcomer to European racing. Most notably, he finished 4th in the OPA Cup Finals in Rogla, Slovenia in 2010. He’s also raced at the World Cup level before; most recently in Canmore, Canada in 2010.
Despite his experience, start rights for European World Cups are a big deal—they’ll be on a bigger stage and with deeper fields than Sinnott has faced before. Though he said he’s excited to finally make the goal he’s been working so hard towards, he isn’t getting intimidated.
“I think what I’ve learned [from racing in Europe] is that it’s not as big of a jump as people make it seem to be,” he said after his selection became official on Sunday. “In 2010 I had my worst season domestically, and then I skied really well in the OPA Cup Final. Sure, the World Cup is a big step up, but it’s just about being comfortable and having confidence.”
Jessie Diggins (CXC/USST) became the women’s post-Period 1 points leader on Sunday, but the U.S. Ski Team B-team rookie was already planning on joining her teammates in Europe after Nationals.
The SVSEF wax crew adopted Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team Homegrown) for the weekend. Ellefson was Sinnott’s closest challenger for the World Cup start rights, and won both distance races in Bozeman on skis that Sinnott’s coaches waxed. Such is the ski community, said Ellefson.
“They’ve been absolutely awesome so far,” he said. “I’ve always gotten help from people if my coach isn’t with me…people are pretty willing to help out. And we’ll always return the favor if Sun Valley ever needs help waxing in Colorado.”
When asked about her race in the 10 k classic on Sunday, in which she finished third, Kate Fitgerald’s (Alaska Pacific University) first words were about her APU teammates’ success in Dusseldorf earlier that morning.
“I was feeling some extra energy from Sadie [Bjornsen] and Kikkan [Randall] getting second in the team sprint on the World Cup!” she wrote. “I was pretty excited about that all morning!”
Leif Zimmermann (BSF), who often trains on the trails at Bohart Ranch, characterized the course as “grueling…the hills came at you pretty quickly,” he said.
The major wall of a climb that featured prominently in most racers’ minds after finishing was also where coaches and spectators congregated to give athletes splits and encouragement. “People were yelling splits, everyone was cheering,” said Zimmerman. “It was a cool hill in terms of racing hard up it.”
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.