BEND, Ore. – It may have been spring at Mount Bachelor this weekend, but by the time Wednesday rolled around, it was more like winter. Snow had fallen overnight and stuck to the mountain’s flanks, and flurries continued to drift from the sky as the U.S. and Canadian national ski teams competed in relay races with several club teams.
Canadian Olympian and current Alberta World Cup Academy coach George Grey skied the course before the start and estimated that it was about eight minutes long. It featured a long, grinding climb up the “central corridor” from the start/tag zone at Emil’s Corner, before looping behind the nordic lodge and back down a descent back to the start. Conditions were fairly ideal – fresh powder on top of a packed, icy, base meant that neither the early-morning ice nor the midday slush skiers had contended with over the weekend were anywhere in sight.
Racers were matched up more or less randomly, and usually pairs included athletes from separate teams. Among the clubs represented were the Alberta World Cup Academy, the Sun Valley Gold Team, the Maine Winter Sports Center, CXC, Team Homegrown, Bend Endurance Academy, XC Oregon, Steamboat Springs, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, and APU.
For a prize – besides bragging rights, that is – coaches seemed to settle on the consensus of a roasted chicken.
That reward will end up going to Welly Ramsey of the Maine Winter Sports Center and Kris Freeman of the U.S. Ski Team, who led the men’s race more or less wire to wire, and to Ida Sargent of the U.S. Ski Team and Chelsea Holmes of the Sun Valley Gold Team, who won the women’s race.
Below, a gallery of the action.