MIDWAY, Utah —Sun? Check. Snow? Check. Parking-lot dance party? Check.
After a long winter of focusing on training, battling uncooperative weather and fighting to the top of divisional qualifying races, the wait is over for junior skiers from across the country: the 2012 edition of the U.S. Cross Country Junior National Championships kick off on Monday at 9:00 am MST at Soldier Hollow.
Ten years after Norwegian superstar Thomas Alsgaard brought this stadium to its knees with a spectacular Olympic relay finish, the trails are just as scenic and challenging as ever. FasterSkier will be on-site for the week to cover four days of racing from the best J2s, J1s and OJs in the U.S., plus a few international guests. Whether you’re a seasoned OJ or first-year J2, Junior Nationals are the culmination of the entire winter, perhaps a whole career. National titles and the inter-division Alaska Cup are on the line, not to mention bragging rights for a full year.
A total of 406 skiers are registered to enter Monday’s classic sprint. Start list available here.
After the morning qualifying round, the heats start at 12:00 pm MST beginning with the J1 and OJ boys. The first J2 girls and boys quarterfinals start at 1:35 pm MST. The final series of rounds, the J1 and OJ girls, start their heats at 3:10 pm MST.
Live timing will be streaming throughout Junior Nationals from Summit Timing Systems.
The race schedule for the week is as follows:
Monday, March 5:
J2/J1/OJ 1.3 k classic sprint
Wednesday, March 7:
J2 5 k freestyle mass start
J1/FOJ 10 k freestyle mass start
MOJ 15 k freestyle mass start
Friday, March 9:
J2/FJ1/FOJ 5 k classic interval start
MJ1/MOJ 10 k classic interval start
Saturday, March 10:
J2/J1/OJ 3 x 3 k freestyle relay
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.