The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) released the final version of its SuperTour (ST) calendar for the upcoming winter of 2015/2016, with a new stop in Sun Valley, Idaho, in early December as well as a mid-season East Coast visit to Lake Placid, N.Y., and Stowe, Vt.
In early January, U.S. Cross Country Championships will be held for the second-straight year in Houghton, Mich., (per Houghton’s two-year bid), and in late March, SuperTour Finals and U.S. Distance Nationals are coming to Craftsbury, Vt.
Joey Caterinichio, the outgoing USSA nordic manager who is working with new nordic director Robert Lazzaroni on 2015/2016 logistics and scheduling, explained in an email that the SuperTour is split into three periods to match the International Ski Federation (FIS) calendar and award World Cup starts accordingly.
“This year we have rotated from Bozeman [Montana] to Sun Valley but will look at a continued rotation between the sites to give sites a break and include new ones,” Caterinichio wrote of the Period I hosts.
Venues are chosen each year amongst coaches at the USSA Spring Congress, she explained.
“With weather and needing snow, you can see why we start West and move East,” she continued. “There are no other sites that can really host Period I. West or Alaska are in the rotation, US Nationals is usually Period II and then move across to Central and East for Period III.”
Regions submit their picks for host venues, and over the last year, Caterinichio worked with the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) to secure Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid and Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. Those races, Jan. 29-31 and Feb. 5-6, respectively, coincide with larger events, such as a Junior Nationals qualifier, college race and Eastern Series, she explained.
“Hosting just a SuperTour is tough as the numbers are not there,” she added. “By working with the regions to place a SuperTour in an existing series, we increase the field. It also allows great head-to-head competition with juniors, college-aged athletes and our top seniors therefore increasing competition for all. Moving the ST around helps stimulate top-level racing within the US and helps the areas.”
Period II and III SuperTours are shared on a two-year basis, and this marks the second year for the domestic series in the East (it was previously in the Midwest, or Central, for two years).
“The goal will be to move back to Central then back to East,” Caterinichio wrote.
At the same time, scheduling remains open to all sites across the regions in case a venue is unable to host a given event. Additionally, USSA tries to schedule SuperTours in the same area on back-to-back weekends to cut down on travel and expenses.
Bottom line: West is the perennial host for Period I and could potentially rotate with Alaska. The coaches and regions help decide any large changes, and in the near future, there is no intention of changing West Yellowstone, according to Caterinichio.
West is the perennial host for Period I and could potentially rotate with Alaska, although, “there is no intention of changing West Yellowstone,” according to Caterinichio. U.S. nationals kick off Period II, the American Birkebeiner 52-kilometer marathon is a stand-alone event in late February that remains unchanged annually, and the East and Central rotate as Period III hosts.
Schedule below. Click here for the PDF.