Notes & Quotes: Post-Race with Nearly 50 North Americans at the STC

BrainspiralMarch 4, 2016


With 49 North Americans competing at the Ski Tour Canada (26 Canadians and 23 Americans), there were a ton of tales to be told after the first two stages in Gatineau and Montreal, Quebec, respectively. FasterSkier did its best to check in with most of the North American racers.

Check out some of the best of our post-race interviews from Day 1 and 2 below (and a guide to team affiliations at bottom*).

For more on the top North American finishers, read our race reports:

Stage 1 (Gatineau): Women’s freestyle sprint | Men’s freestyle sprint

Stage 2 (Montreal):  Women’s 10.5 k classic mass start | Men’s 17.5 k classic mass start 

What’s it like racing in Canada?


“Being able to race in front of a home crowd and going around the course twice and hearing my name, like, left, right and center was pretty crazy. It was definitely just an incredible experience.” — Alannah MacLean (NDC Thunder Bay), after finishing 63rd in Gatineau sprint

“It was the loudest race I’ve ever done. It was crazy to hear all the noise. It was motivating.” — Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (CNST), 49th in sprint

“It was just really amazing to be at home and have so many people watching.” — Katharine Stewart-Jones (NDC Thunder Bay and originally from Nakkertok), 68th in sprint

“It’s really exciting because I get to race in front of my friends and family, which doesn’t happen very often, so that’s great to hear my name when I’m racing.” — Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/CNST), 55th in sprint

“It was an amazing atmosphere. So many people cheering, and I felt a little distracted…” — Dahria Beatty (AWCA/CNST), 45th in sprint

“The ambiance was pretty good and helped me a lot to do a good race.” — Simon Lapointe (Skinouk), 82nd in classic mass start

“Racing in front of a home crowd and just having so many fans out cheering for us is really special.” — Emily Nishikawa (CNST), 66th in sprint

“At every corner, at every point of the course there was a roar. It’s surreal racing in front of the home crowd. Looking to the crowd, and recognizing so many faces that are there to support you.” Mark Rajack (Trinidad & Tobago/XC Ottawa), 86th in the sprint

“It’s just so great that we have such great volunteers and the organizing committees of all these places are really, ah, it’s fantastic.” — Devon Kershaw (Canadian World Cup Team), 50th in the sprint

“Having this many races here at home is a nice advantage for us, not having the jet-lag and [such]. It’s pretty special being able to race in front of the home crowd.” — Graeme Killick (CNST), 76th in the sprint

“Just tons of people cheering your name, and just cheering for Canada, so it’s really fun to be at home.” — Len Valjas (Canadian World Cup Team), 37th in the sprint


Katharine Ogden (SMS/USST) racing to 59th in the women's 10.5 k classic mass start in Montreal, Quebec, at the second stage of the Ski Tour Canada. (Photo:
Katharine Ogden (SMS/USST) racing to 59th in the women’s 10.5 k classic mass start in Montreal, Quebec, at the second stage of the Ski Tour Canada. (Photo:

“It was exhilarating.” — Katharine Ogden (SMS/USST), 62nd in sprint

“It’s nice that people are speaking English and we can use our phones. There’s a lot more comfort involved than being over in like Finland or somewhere.” — Tad Elliott (SSCV), 81st in sprint

“The crowd is awesome. There’s so many Americans out here and it’s something special.” — Noah Hoffman (SSCV/USST), 74th in sprint

“Everything here is awesome. The fans are amazing, like half of them are from the U.S. I think, and the other half are from Canada so it’s pretty awesome to be here.” — Liz Stephen (USST), 59th in sprint 

“I grew up in Vermont so it’s not that far. It really helps. It makes everything feel more comfortable. Any taste of home on the trail is amazing.” — Jennie Bender (BSF), 51st in classic mass start

“There were a lot of people cheering for us. A lot of Americans, a lot of Canadians. … Hope for even bigger crowds for the rest of the tour.” — Scott Patterson (APU), 75th in sprint

“It was awesome. You hear your name everywhere.” — Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess (Bend Endurance Academy), 54th in the sprint

Bonus: Great Britain

“There were a few people cheering me on, that was nice.” — Andrew Musgrave, 44th in sprint

What can you say about this opportunity?

“These are my first World Cups so I’m just going out here and learning as much as I possibly can and seeing what the next level of skiing is.” — MacLean, 64th in classic mass start

“It’s a really good team atmosphere. Everyone’s really stoked to have the opportunity to do these races in Canada.” — Michael Somppi (NDC Thunder Bay), 68th in sprint

“To have 12 girls here is just incredible. It’s really important for our women’s program.” — Nishikawa

“To have such a huge girls team is so awesome. I don’t think it’s ever been this big, and we’re all super supportive of each other. I think it’ll be a super-fun Tour.” — Annika Hicks (Canmore Nordic), 71st in sprint

“I’m racing against people that are four years older and have lots more experience than me so I’m here for more experience.” — Marie Corriveau (CNEPH/Canadian National Junior Team), 67th in sprint

“This is my first tour of World Cups, my first World Cups ever. So really every race is kind of a new adventure.” — Annie Hart (SMST2), 61st in classic mass start

How are you feeling?

Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/U.S. Ski Team) training on the course in Quebec City. (Photo: John Lazenby/
Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/U.S. Ski Team) training on the course in Quebec City. (Photo: John Lazenby/

“I’m feeling really good. I have a ton of energy and I can tell that I want to just keep going and going and going, kind of that long-distance kind of style racing.” — Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/USST), 47th in classic mass start 

“I’ve been getting over a chest cold after the last World Cup [in Falun]. I don’t know why, it was just a terrible recovery. I’ve been able to ski the last week, but I’ve only done two intensities and they both really sucked. So, all things considered, the lungs held up OK with the temperature, but I was just missing a bit of a snap.” — Valjas, after sprint

“I had a bit of issues with my back seizing. I’ve been struggling with that my last couple races.” — MacLean, 64th in classic mass start

“I had a couple crashes out there, broke a pole and my back seized on the second lap after the first crash. The first lap went really well actually, and I was right up there in the group and I felt like I was skiing well. After the tucking section, I came into the second lap and stood up and just, bam, my back completely seized. The last two laps were a real struggle.” — Beatty, 65th in classic mass start

“I don’t know what was going on, I was just so tired by the top [of the course]. …The body was doing something weird to me today.” — Andy Shields (NDC Thunder Bay), 76th in classic mass start 

“I took a few spills, which sent me back a bit, but I felt good so I’m happy with that.” — Russell Kennedy (Canmore Nordic), 74th in classic mass start

What was your strategy?

“I took a lot of energy from the crowd and I just went out as hard as possible.” — MacLean, after sprint

“I really tried to stay composed. Everyone was rushing at the start. I kept my eyes opened, stayed on my skis and skied relaxed…  Though I fell in the first lap like many others.” — Browne, 48th in classic mass start

“I just really wanted to survive it, you know, not get lapped. As silly as that seems, setting the bar pretty low, I haven’t had great classic races this year so it was a concern in the back of my mind and I’m happy to have survived. … I raced the first 3 k as if it was a 3 k race. I was kind of racing for my life out there, trying to get up as far up into the field as I could, as soon as I could to avoid crashes and bottlenecks and it worked.” — Bouffard-Nesbitt, 53rd in classic mass start

“I started really far back because I fell in the sprint … so it was just a matter of, let’s see how many spots I can move up, and I think I got about twenty so that was good.” — Bender, after the mass start

What were the course and conditions like in Montreal?

Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) on a cold training day in Quebec City on Thursday before the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada. (Photo: John Lazenby/
Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) on a cold training day in Quebec City on Thursday before the third stage of the Ski Tour Canada. (Photo: John Lazenby/

“It was a really technical course. The downhills were really icy and really hard to stay on your feet at some points, especially after some of the grueling uphills. I managed to stay upright and it was a success in that sense, but I wasn’t able to hang onto the group for as long as I would’ve liked.” — Knute Johnsgaard (CNST), 69th in classic mass start

“I started pretty far back. I was seeded 75th and I noticed right up the first hill that I was in dead last. I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, something didn’t go right with that start.’ It was kind of a weird course with sharp downhills that got skidded to ice so it just scraped off all your wax and then it was like, herringbone and double pole, herringbone and double pole.” — Patterson, 55th in classic mass start

“The downhills were very icy and very sketchy. Some of the most sketchy downhills I’ve had in a race. It was very icy around the turns and we were just all doing our best to stay on our feet and try not to get in any pileups.” — Eric Packer (APU), 67th in classic mass start

“It was a tough day. I think the conditions made the course and the race even more challenging. But it’s always a learning experience for me, only my second World Cup today so I’ll take what I can get.” — Jenn Jackson (NDC Thunder Bay), 63rd in the classic mass start

“I really enjoyed the course and just the energy of everyone cheering. My family and friends were there to watch so it was really fun.” — Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP), 39th in classic mass start

What are your goals for the Tour? 

I think all the Canadian girls are searching for those top 30s, and if a few of us can get it that’s gonna be great.” — Andrea Dupont (RMR), 56th in the sprint

“Definitely trying to stay in the competition every race. … My goal is really a top 30, and I hope to get it one of these races.” — Beatty

What race are you most looking forward to?

“Very excited about having two 15 k skates.” — Brian Gregg (Team Gregg), 83rd in sprint

“The pursuit in Canmore. It’s a course I know pretty well, and I had some great races on the exact course like for trials and other events. So I’m really excited to race the pursuit.” — Killick

“I’m excited to go back to Quebec, but I’m really looking forward to Canmore. For me that’s home. That’s a home venue.” — Blackhorse-von Jess (of Bend, Oregon)

“The classic sprint in Canmore. That suits me, that is my best event I think.” — Bob Thompson (NDC Thunder Bay), 52nd in sprint

“I think each event presents it’s own learning experiences and challenges, but a classic sprint in Canmore — I really enjoyed the classic sprint in Canmore on the NorAms — so hopefully we can have some good races there.” — Jackson, 58th in sprint

“Just getting to ski a lot of World Cups is a pretty awesome opportunity. Definitely looking forward to more of the distance races.” — Ogden

“I’m quite looking forward to the skiathlon in Canmore, but there’s going to be a lot of good stages, good crowd here, so I think all of the stages will be fun if the crowd is good the whole way.” — Musgrave, after the sprint

“The other athletes here worked their entire lives to be here. I literally started [skiing] three years ago and I just showed up. So my goal here is to come here and do justice to the sport and not erode the validity and integrity of the sport that these athletes worked so hard to create.” — Rajack, after the sprint


We missed NorAm leader Kevin Sandau (AWCA), but this video he made before the Ski Tour Canada sums up a lot (click here to view on YouTube)

*Guide to North American teams:


– AWCA: Alberta World Cup Academy

– CNEPH: Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (Centre National D’entraînement Pierre Harvey)

– CNST: Canadian National Senior Team

– NDC Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay National Development Centre

– RMR: Rocky Mountain Racers


– APU: Alaska Pacific University

– BSF: Bridger Ski Foundation

– CGRP: Craftsbury Green Racing Project

– SMS: Stratton Mountain School

– SMST2: Stratton Mountain School T2 Team (elite team)

– SSCV: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail

– USST: U.S. Ski Team


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