RacingWorld CupHere Come the Americans: Your Guide to the U.S. Women Racing in Québec City and Minneapolis

Gavin Kentch Gavin KentchMarch 10, 2020
Hailey Swirbul of the USST D-Team races in Québec City, Québec, in March 2019. (Photo: John Lazenby/lazenbyphoto.com)

You may have heard that the World Cup is returning not only to North America, but also to American soil, within the next few weeks. The world’s best skiers will be contesting sprint races in Québec City on March 14 and 15; a sprint in Minneapolis on March 17; and distance races plus a mixed relay in Canmore on March 20-22.

For all six races, including the five across the border, the U.S. has an expanded nation’s group start quota (thanks, Canada, for letting us count as Canadian for a week), meaning that a remarkable thirty skiers total will toe the line in that distinctive candy-cane uniform. Here is a brief overview of the fifteen women with start rights in the three sprints (some of the sprinters will not be racing in Canmore, where some distance-oriented athletes will have starts instead).

In alphabetical order, with pictures where available (an asterisk by a name denotes an athlete making her first World Cup start in Québec City):

Sadie Maubet Bjornsen: Stage 4, Ski Tour 2020. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Sadie Maubet Bjornsen

Team and club: U.S. Ski Team (USST) A Team; Alaska Pacific University, or APU

Currently lives in: Alaska

Selected career highlights: Bronze medal, team sprint, 2017 World Championships; 7 individual and 5 team World Cup podiums; only American woman to ever wear the yellow overall World Cup leader’s bib; multiple national titles

Instagram page: @sbjornsen

Age: 30

Sophie Caldwell on course in Östersund, Sweden. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Sophie Caldwell

Team and club: USST A Team; Stratton Mountain School, or SMS

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: 3rd, Sprint Cup, 2017/2018 World Cup season; 9 individual and 4 team World Cup podiums

Instagram page: @sophiecaldwell

Age: 29

Hannah Cole racing at 2020 U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Michigan. (photo: Karen Brown)
Hannah Cole racing at 2020 U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Michigan. (Photo: Karen Brown)

Hannah Cole*

Club: Crosscut Mountain Sports Center

Currently lives in: Montana

Selected career highlights: 9th, 2020 American Birkebeiner; 4th and 8th, SuperTour sprints in 2019/2020 season

Instagram page: @hanncole

Age: 24

Jessie Diggins skates to 8th in the first stage of the FIS Ski Tour 2020. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Jessie Diggins

Team and club: USST A Team; SMS

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: Gold medal, team sprint, 2018 Olympics; gold medal, team sprint, 2013 World Championships; three additional World Championships medals; 2nd overall and 3rd in distance standings, 2017/2018 World Cup; 26 individual and 7 team World Cup podiums; multiple national titles

Instagram page: @jessiediggins

Age: 28

The women’s podium of the 2019 American Birkebeiner. Alayna Sonnesyn took first ahead of Anja Gruber and Katie Feldman. (Photo: Screenshot Instagram @asonnesyn)

Katie Feldman*

Club: SVSEF Gold Team

Currently lives in: Idaho

Selected career highlights: 3rd, 2019 American Birkebeiner; 5th and 6th in SuperTour races in 2019/2020 season; 7th in SuperTour sprint in 2018/2019 season

Instagram page: @katfeld

Age: 24

Relief and accomplishment: Erika Flowers takes third at the 2020 American Birkie. (Photo: ©2020 American Birkebeiner Ski foundation)

Erika Flowers (Newell)

Club: Bridger Ski Foundation

Currently lives in: Montana

Selected career highlights: 3rd, 2020 American Birkebeiner; dozens of SuperTour podiums; three top-five finishes at U.S. Nationals over the past ten years

Instagram page: @eflowers89

Age: 30

Felicia Gesior*

Club: Crosscut Mountain Sports Center

Currently lives in: Montana

Selected career highlights: 10th, 2020 American Birkebeiner; 5th and 10th, 2019/2020 SuperTour races; four top-10 finishes, 2018/2019 SuperTour

Instagram page: @fel.gesior

Age: 26

Caitlin Gregg embraces former Olympic teammate Ida Sargent after the 2020 Birkie. (Photo: ©2020 American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation)

Caitlin Gregg

Club: TeamGregg/prgFinancial/Madshus

Currently lives in: Minnesota

Selected career highlights: Bronze medal, 10 km skate, 2015 World Championships; five-time champion, American Birkebeiner; multiple national championships

Instagram page: @caitlincgregg

Age: 39

Elizabeth Guiney races at the PyeongChang World Cup in 2017. (photo: Nordic Focus)

Elizabeth Guiney

Club: Craftsbury Green Racing Project, or Craftsbury

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: 8th, 2020 American Birkebeiner; six top-10 results, 2019/2020 SuperTour; 3rd, 2015 Nationals

Instagram page: @lizzie_guin

Age: 29

Julia Kern skis to 15th in the qualifier in Dresden in January 2020. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Julia Kern

Club: USST B Team; SMS

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: bronze medal, skate sprint, 2020 U23 World Championships; 3rd, Planīca skate sprint, 2019/2020 World Cup season; multiple other World Cup top-30 finishes; bronze medal, relay, 2017 World Juniors

Instagram page: @juliakernski

Age: 22

Kaitlynn Miller (front) during the women’s classic sprint at the 2020 Senior Nationals. (Photo: Reese Brown)

Kaitlynn Miller

Club: Craftsbury

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: Five national championship podiums, including 2016 classic sprint national championship; 17 SuperTour podiums; 34th in World Cup 10km skate race in 2018/2019 season

Instagram page: @kaitlynnbmiller

Age: 28

Becca Rorabaugh on course during the 10-kilometer individual start classic in Lahti, Finland, last month. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Becca Rorabaugh

Club: APU

Currently lives in: Alaska

Selected career highlights: Five national championship podiums, including 2014 10km classic national championship; 14 SuperTour podiums; 24th in sprint in 2012/2013 World Cup season, 39th in World Cup 10km classic last month

Instagram page: @beccarorabaugh

Age: 30

Alayna Sonnesyn (bib 2) races in the skate sprint heats at 2020 U.S. Nationals. (Photo: Reese Brown)

Alayna Sonnesyn

Club: SMS

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: winner, 2019 American Birkebeiner; three podiums at 2020 national championships; three SuperTour podiums; finisher, Ski Tour 2020

Instagram page: @asonnesyn

Age: 23

Hailey Swirbul (APU) during the women’s 10 k skate at 2020 U.S. Nationals. (Photo: Reese Brown)

Hailey Swirbul

Club: USST B Team; APU

Currently lives in: Alaska

Selected career highlights: silver medal, 5km classic, 2018 World Juniors; bronze medal, 10km skiathlon, 2018 World Juniors; 21st, Davos skate sprint, 2019/2020 World Cup season; three other World Cup top-30 finishes this season; bronze medal, relay, 2017 World Juniors

Instagram page: @hai.swirl

Age: 21

Callie Young, of Newport, Vt., racing to second overall in the women’s race at the 2017 App Gap Challenge in Fayston, Vt. (Photo: Laurel Minde)

Callie Young*

Club: Dartmouth

Currently lives in: Vermont

Selected career highlights: Fourth, FIS Junior Invitational “Rising Stars” Race, Québec City, March 2019; first, 2020 Bates Carnival; 54th, sprint qualification, 2020 World Juniors

Instagram page: @calliey0ung

Age: 19

 

* The athlete is making her World Cup debut in Québec City.

Gavin Kentch

Gavin Kentch

Gavin Kentch is a lifelong Alaskan. He skis with the Alaska Pacific University Masters team in Anchorage, plays with his two adorable daughters, and occasionally works as a solo attorney. He has a cat named Marit. He was probably on snow this year before you were.

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