After an exciting week of junior and U23 racing in the Czech Republic, the attention of the ski world turned to Sochi, Russia, where both the nordic and nordic combined World Cups held their test events. For the most part, the sport’s big stars asserted themselves on the courses that will matter so much next year: Kikkan Randall of the U.S., Petter Northug of Norway, and Dario Cologna of Switzerland all picked up wins. Kristin Stoermer Steira of Norway also took a victory in the women’s 15 k skiathlon, while the Russian men won an uncharacteristically blown-open team sprint and the Finnish women also got the confidence-boost of winning on the Olympic courses.
North American teams had good results as well. Besides Randall’s sprint victory, the Canadian team of Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova took third in the team sprint. Ida Sargent also made sprint finals, then teamed up with Sadie Bjornsen to win their semifinal of the team sprint and place fifth in the final; the American men were also in good position in their team sprint final before a late crash took them out of the running. Liz Stephen had her best-ever World Cup result, placing eighth in the skiathlon.
Biathlon was still focused on Obertilliach, Austria, where World Youth and Junior Championships wrapped up. American youth Sean Doherty took silver in the individual race, his third medal of the week. Canada had strong finishes as well, with Sarah Beaudry placing fifth in the youth individual and Macx Davies eighth in the junior individual. Overall, the Russians impressed with Uliana Kaisheva sweeping all the youth women’s races and Alexandr Loginov picking up another title in the individual; Laura Dahlmeier of Germany and Aristide Begue of France also picked up wins.
In the U.S., domestic racing was of the longer variety, with many skiers trying their hand at the Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley. Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV Team Homegrown) and Lauren Fritz (APU) won the 30 k point-to-points, while back East, Kris Freeman (MWSC/USST) and Caitlin Curran (VTXC) raced to wins at the 50 k Craftsbury Marathon.
Up north, Canadians hit up Eastern Championships at Nakkertok, just outside Ottawa. The three-day mini-tours were won by Jess Cockney and Emily Nishikawa of the Alberta World Cup Academy, but they weren’t the only ones who excelled: Alysson Marshall and Phil Widmer characteristically won Friday’s classic sprints, while Michael Somppi and Kate Brennan took victories in the Saturday’s freestyle races. Ultimately, though, after long classic pursuits on Sunday, it was Nishikawa and Cockney who came out on top.
FIS World Cup Cross Country, Sochi, Russia | results
FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Sochi, Russia
Sunday team event: blog post | results
IBU Biathlon World Youth and Junior Championships, Obertilliach, Austria
Eastern Canadian Championships, Cantley, Quebec
Boulder Mountain Tour | blog post
Craftsbury Marathon | blog post
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.