The second weekend of World Cup action produced plenty of North American highlights between the cross-country and nordic-combined competitions in Lillehammer, Norway, and the three-straight days of biathlon in Hochfilzen, Austria.
Sadie Bjornsen of the US Nordic Ski Team opened with a career-best seventh place that tied her result from a week earlier in Kuusamo, Finland. Bjornsen, 24, finished seventh in the 10-kilometer classic, Kikkan Randall placed a solid 16th, and Jessie Diggins snuck into the points in 30th. With those three women plus Liz Stephen, the Americans closed out the weekend with a podium in the 4 x 5 k relay, tying their best ever of third in the team event.
Alex Harvey gave the Canadians someone to celebrate, as he finished 16th in a stacked men’s 15 k classic on Saturday. The Canadian men closed out the weekend in 14th in the 4 x 7.5 k relay, and the U.S. men placed 17th.
The IBU World Cup moved to Hochfilzen, where two days of racing featured heavy snow. FasterSkier’s Chelsea Little was on site, witnessing Lars Berger and Synnøve Solemdal of Norway each tally wins at a venue which has been friendly to them before, while Selina Gasparin took the very first World Cup victory in Switzerland’s history, and Martin Fourcade notched his 27th win but the first in Hochfilzen.
For the North Americans, the best finishes came in Saturday’s relays. The U.S. women placed eighth with exceptional shooting, their best relay result in at least a decade. All four relay teams (American and Canadian men and women) were skiing in the top six until late in the race.
Qualifying for their first individual competitions of the season, U.S. Nordic Combined notched three top 20s: two from Bryan Fletcher, who was 16th on Saturday then up to 10th on Sunday, and an 11th place from Todd Lodwick, his best World Cup result in almost three years.
A cold snap affected domestic races in the U.S. and Canada, cancelling Saturday’s classic sprint at the SuperTour in Bozeman, Mont., and delaying the start of the NorAm season at Sovereign Lake, British Columbia. Sovereign was able to hold both its scheduled freestyle distance and classic sprint races, and Bozeman saw its 10/15 k classic mass come to fruition Sunday afternoon.
Cross-Country World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway (Photo Gallery)
IBU World Cup, Hochfilzen, Austria
Nordic Combined World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway
Saturday’s NH/10 k: Recap
Sunday’s LH/10 k: Recap
SuperTour, Bozeman, Mont.
NorAm, Sovereign Lake, Vernon, B.C. (Photo Gallery)
Saturday’s 10/15 k freestyle individual: Report
Sunday’s classic sprint: Report