GeneralNewsRacingWorld CupSetting the Scene: Pre-Competition Day at Lahti World Championships

FasterSkier FasterSkierFebruary 21, 2017
An Austrian athlete tests skis as he glides back into the main stadium. (Photo: John Lazenby/Lazenbyphoto.com)

LAHTI, Finland — Tuesday at Lahti’s venue for the 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships, the sun sets early. Although technically sunset was 5:22 p.m., the sun on this clear-sky day was still wintertime reluctant. It seemed too short a time for the sun’s transect to thaw Lahti. Temps were in the mid-to-low 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But a brisk wind called for down coats and insulated pants for those not actively skiing — in the shade, it felt like the teens.

Basked in an early evening glow, Lahti’s three iconic ski jumps dominate the 2017 Nordic World Championships venue. (Photo: John Lazenby/Lazenbyphoto.com)

For athletes, it was a day of pre-competition ski and wax testing on bulletproof tracks that gradually deteriorated on the steeper climbs. The ski loops have good coverage. The snow remains coarse, as the tracks are covered with predominately manmade snow with trace amounts of natural snow tilled in.

Lahti’s most dominant feature are its ski jumps, which are among the first objects to catch morning light. The surrounding landscape isn’t marked by serrated mountains, but by subtle hills that make the venue’s three domineering jumps (a K 116, K 90, and K 64), that much more ominous. First nordic-combined skiers then women’s ski jumpers had an opportunity for test flights off the K 90.

On the non-skiing side of things, the venue was abuzz of last-minute prep: television cables being covered for protection before the onslaught of spectators, event producers testing the stadium’s Skycam, sponsors unpacking schwag, and media arriving to pick up credentials. Like the athletes fine tuning before the competition begins, Lahti’s organizers are near set for the big show.

On Wednesday, two qualification races will ensue: the women’s 5-kilometer classic and men’s 10 k classic individual starts. These races are for athletes from “non-skiing” nations who have not met the FIS-point benchmark to participate in the championships. Start rights to Lahti’s distance races are granted to the top-10 male and female finishers. (All skiers are granted start rights for Thursday’s freestyle sprint regardless of their results in Wednesday’s qualifier.)

5 k start list | 10 k start list

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Cross-Country Competition Schedule

(All cross-country and nordic-combined events will be streamed live in the U.S. on NBCSports.com)

A Latvian skier double poles through Lahti’s stadium on Tuesday. (Photo: John Lazenby/Lazenbyphoto.com)

Wednesday, Feb. 22
-Women’s 5 k classic interval start (7:00 a.m. EST)
-Men’s 10 k classic interval start (8:30 a.m. EST)

Thursday, Feb. 23 
-Women’s freestyle k sprint (10:30 a.m. EST)
-Men’s freestyle k sprint

Saturday, Feb. 25 
-Women’s 15 k skiathlon (5:00 a.m. EST)
-Men’s 30 k skiathlon (7:30 a.m. EST)

Sunday, Feb. 26
-Women’s classic team sprint
-Men’s classic team sprint

(Semifinals starting at 4:30 a.m. EST, finals starting at 6:30 a.m. EST)

Tuesday, Feb. 28 
-Women’s 10 k classic interval start (6:45 a.m. EST)

Wednesday, Mar. 1 
-Men’s 15 k classic interval start (6:45 a.m. EST)

Thursday, Mar. 2 
-Women’s 4 x 5 k team relay (8:00 a.m. EST)

Friday, Mar. 3
-Men’s 4 x 10 k team relay (6:30 a.m. EST)

Saturday, Mar. 4 
-Women’s 30 k freestyle mass start (7:30 a.m. EST)

Sunday, Mar. 5  
-Men’s 50 k freestyle mass start (7:30 a.m. EST)

U.S. 2017 World Championships Team:

Men

  • Simi Hamilton (Stratton T2/ World Cup A-team)
  • Andy Newell (Stratton T2/ World Cup A-team)
  • Erik Bjornsen (Alaska Pacific University/World Cup B-team)
  • Noah Hoffman (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail/World Cup B-team)
  • Tad Elliott (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail)
  • Kyle Bratrud (Central Cross Country)
  • Ben Lustgarten (Craftsbury Green Racing Project)
  • Cole Morgan (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)

Women

  • Jessie Diggins (Stratton T2/World Cup A-team)
  • Sadie Bjornsen (Alaska Pacific University/World Cup A-team)
  • Sophie Caldwell (Stratton T2/World Cup A-team)
  • Kikkan Randall (Alaska Pacific University/World Cup A-team)
  • Ida Sargent (Craftsbury Nordic/World Cup A-team)
  • Liz Stephen (Burke Mountain Academy/World Cup A-team)
  • Rosie Brennan (Alaska Pacific University/World Cup B-team)
  • Caitlin Gregg (Loppet Nordic Racing)
  • Chelsea Holmes (Alaska Pacific University)

Canadian 2017 World Championships Team:

Men

  • Alex Harvey (CNEPH/World Cup A-team)
  • Devon Kershaw (World Cup A-team)
  • Len Valjas (World Cup A-team)
  • Jess Cockney (World Cup B-team)
  • Graeme Killick (World Cup B-team)
  • Knute Johnsgaard (AWCA/NST U25 Team)

Women

  • Emily Nishikawa (NST U25 Team)
  • Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NST U25 Team)
  • Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/NST U25 Team)
  • Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST U25 Team)

Nordic Combined Competition Schedule:

(All cross-country and nordic-combined events will be streamed live in the U.S. on NBCSports.com)

Friday, Feb. 24

-Individual HS 100 competition round (8:30 a.m. EST)

-Individual 10 k cross-country race (6:30 a.m. EST)

Sunday, Feb. 26

-Team event  HS 100 competition round (5:00 a.m. EST)

-Team event  4 x 5 k cross-country race (8:30 a.m. EST)

Wednesday, Mar. 1

-Individual HS 130 competition round (5:00 a.m. EST)

-Individual 10 k cross-country race (9:15 a.m. EST)

Friday, Mar. 3

-Team sprint HS 130 competition round (9:00 a.m. EST)

-Team sprint 2 x 7.5 k cross-country race (11:15 a.m. EST)

U.S. Nordic Combined 2017 World Championships Team:

  • Bryan Fletcher
  • Taylor Fletcher
  • Benjamin Berend
  • Adam Loomis
  • Ben Loomis

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