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HomeAuthor Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon (alex@fasterskier.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.
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Several course records were shattered on Saturday in a largely faster-than-ever 46th annual American Birkebeiner, with temperatures steadily rising from the 20s at the start into the 30s by the finish of the point to point race from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin. Eight men broke the two-hour mark in the Birkie’s 50-kilometer skate race, half of which are American, and an Australian national team member who trains in the U.S. broke the women’s race record...

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The questions started rolling in this spring. How’s training going? Are you going for 2019 World Championships? What’s the plan for next winter? When you’re Caitlin and Brian Gregg, Olympians and local superstars in the Midwest, it’s hard to keep your athletic profile on the DL. Since buying a house on Theodore Wirth Park seven years ago, the couple has immersed themselves in the greater Minneapolis community — both in and out of skiing. They’ve...

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Day by day. That’s how Kikkan Randall is approaching her battle with breast cancer after being diagnosed about three months ago. Now more than 50 days into her treatment — with six rounds of chemotherapy over an 18-week span — Randall, 35, is becoming more familiar with the ugly side effects and adjusting to her new normal. While beating what is believed to be announcing her diagnosis on social media, Randall has been promoting AKTIV...

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — This past Sunday, July 15, FasterSkier visited the U.S. women’s cross-country team in Lake Placid, where the team has been holding a dryland camp since July 11. Most all of the team’s top athletes are there — sans those that train with Alaska Pacific University (they’ll largely stick to Anchorage and nearby Eagle Glacier for summer training) — for a “semi-intensity focused” camp that will last through Friday, July 20. Their...

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Cross Country Canada (CCC) has appointed a new high-performance and development advisor, CCC’s CEO since November 2016. On the upside, he explained that another sponsor and investment firm, Haywood Securities, has agreed to sponsor the NorAm circuit as it has in the past. Asked if budget cuts were among the biggest challenges affecting CCC at the moment and the reasoning behind the latest layoffs, Pearsall said, “Yes. If things had stayed the same that would’ve...

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Strength. Balance. Agility. Jesse Cockney had all of those qualities as a child growing up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — just like most Inuit kids — according to his father, Angus. But what he could do with that talent was what Angus hoped to nurture. Since he had put his son on skis at age 3, Angus reflected in an email that he “knew then that [Jess] had incredible potential to succeed.” And so the...

(Press release) 2500 Donors from 37 states & Canada Help ABSF to Reach Capital Campaign Goals Hayward, WI (May 25, 2018) — The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has been enhancing the quality of lives for nearly half a century. For generations, ABSF events and the award-winning Birkie Trail system have been motivating adventurous spirits to embrace an active, outdoor lifestyle. In support of providing the infrastructure, spaces, and places to keep that spirit alive,...

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On April 26, Devon Kershaw posted a photo on social media of Alpina boots hanging on a line. The next day, he spoke on the phone with FasterSkier from his new home in Lillehammer, Norway, after a day of running around outside with his 15-month-old daughter, Asta Isabel. Kershaw was tired, but in a good way. For the first time in 17 years, he was ready for a new challenge, a new focus and much...

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Canada’s Dahria Beatty closed out her World Cup season with the rest of her international-racing peers on March 18 in Falun, Sweden. After three straight days of races, the 24-year-old Whitehorse, Yukon, native finished World Cup Finals in 54th overall. Five days later, she endured a three-day 160-kilometer classic race in Greenland, 65 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. And Beatty didn’t just survive the 22nd-annual epic adventure, she won it. In her first Arctic...

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When Andy Newell took to social media about a week and a half ago to announce that he was parting ways with the U.S. Ski Team (USST) after 16 years, some people might have assumed that he was leaving the sport. They would be wrong. Newell, a 34-year-old Shaftsbury, Vermont, native and USST A-team member for the last 12 seasons, was quick to clarify that he’s not retiring from racing. After four Olympics and 16...

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Susan Dunklee had been looking for something all season, a sort of spark. And while the U.S. biathlete hadn’t necessarily found it on Thursday, she had still pulled off fourth place in the women’s 7.5-kilometer pursuit at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Oslo, Norway. “I feel like right now I’m relying on good habits to carry me through the rest of the season,” Dunklee, 32, of US Biathlon, said in a phone...

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Think about all of the exceptional female biathletes out there. Too many to count, right? Now, if you watch biathlon at the World Cup level, think about how many women you’ve seen coaching there. None? One? There are at least a couple, according to Biathlon Canada’s High Performance Director Roddy Ward, who’s been coaching biathlon internationally since 2011. The Slovakian women’s coach is one and the Austrian team also has a female coach, he wrote...

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You could call him a specialist. An all-around contender in classic distance races, Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan has proven time and time again that he has the 15-kilometer classic individual start figured out. On Sunday in Lahti, Finland, he set a new World Cup record by winning his eighth-career 15 k classic (including both individual and mass-start formats). He had previously tied Swedish legend last 15 k classic contested in Planica, Slovenia. Three of Poltoranin’s...

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“There’s almost nothing I love more than being in the hunt during a pursuit,” American sixth in the junior women’s 12.5-kilometer individual on Thursday, Levins, 19, raced to seventh place in Saturday’s 7.5 k sprint, which will put her in seventh (and within 10 seconds of fourth place) for the start of Sunday’s 10 k pursuit at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Junior World Championships in Otepää, Estonia. Last year, Levins raced to Megan Bankes...

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Eight points. That’s the number that separated Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and Sweden’s Stina Nilsson in the Sprint World Cup standings before Saturday’s freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland. Three sprints. That’s the number of World Cup sprint races that remained in the 2017/2018 calendar, one of which took place on Saturday. With one down and a classic sprint and skate sprint to go, Falla’s lead has grown to 28 points. It’s not much, with 150...

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Caitlin Gregg has raced the American Birkebeiner enough times — and won it more than anyone else — that she’s got the course down pat. Powerline, Big Bertha, High Point, Heckler’s, OO, Gravel Pit, Mosquito Brook, B*tch Hill, Hatchery, the lake, the bridge, the Main Street finish. But the conditions and the competition, that’s something that changes from year to year. The elite racers were among the first to start the 50-kilometer American Birkebeiner (“Birkie”)...

FasterSkier would like to thank Fischer Sport USA, Concept2, Four years ago in the men’s relay in Sochi, Russia, Svendsen as Norway’s anchor had been in the medal hunt until the final shooting. There, he used all of his spares and still left a target standing, which sent him to the penalty lap. After leading by as much as 20 seconds in the middle of that race, Norway finished fourth. But as they say, that’s biathlon. And on...

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Like the rest of the U.S. cross-country skiing community with a watchful eye on the Olympics, Bill Koch had been waiting for Olympic women’s freestyle team sprint unfold via live timing on the computer — numbers rather than images — as opposed to a live broadcast. When he saw USA rank first at the finish, becoming the first Americans to do so in an Olympic cross-country race (and the first to win a medal since his...

FasterSkier would like to thank Fischer Sport USA, Concept2, Americans Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins capture the first Olympic gold for the U.S. in cross-country skiing. It was motivating and inspiring, even confidence-boosting, Bjornsen reflected after his race in an in-person interview with FasterSkier. But he and Hamilton had their own medal hopes to tend to. Like most of the men’s finalists, they weren’t able to watch the women’s race beforehand and came out onto...