Gavin Kentch

HomeAuthor 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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ANCHORAGE — As allegories for skiing development go, the uphill run time trial is tough to beat. It’s hard to start with, it gets harder as you approach your goal, and success requires pushing all the way to the finish. “Paying the tax on the road to the podium,” as Sadie Maubet Bjornsen once wrote of a photo of her on Gasline. Tuesday morning in Anchorage, a group of the state’s top juniors took on...

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Men’s race Most athletes pay their dues as they work their way up the results list for Mount Marathon, the grueling 5-kilometer, 3,000-foot-gain out-and-back race in Seward, Alaska, that dates to 1915. There is no substitute for experience on the technical course, and most people need to get their rookie run out of the way before they can even think of challenging for the overall victory in subsequent times on the mountain. David Norris is...

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Part I of this article examined Sadie Maubet Bjornsen’s childhood, World Cup debut, and the injuries that she overcame along the way. This article, Part II, starts with a frank look at some of the challenges of being an American World Cup skier, then discusses her overall career highlights, her final World Championships earlier this year, and what comes next. In addition to the injuries, there are some challenges to life on the World Cup...

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To classic ski, and to do so well, requires an athlete to perform an almost stupidly large number of tasks at the same time. You have to move two arms, two legs, and two ankles in alternation, in almost infinite variations depending upon the snow, the wax, the course, and your remaining energy. You have to mediate between power and finesse, kick and glide, stimulus and weight transfer. In short, you have to balance a...

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  ANCHORAGE — The calendar said April, but the thermometer said January, as a small but well-credentialed field of athletes competed in a pair of FIS races at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park over the weekend. The April 10 and 11 events appear to have been among the latest FIS races held in this country in the past 30 years. Saturday morning in Anchorage dawned clear and cold. Anchorage broke its all-time temperature record for April 10 with...

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There have been, by FasterSkier’s calculation, 37 distinct nations that have seen at least one athlete start a World Cup race this season. The first 22 of them were surveyed following the opening weekend of racing in Ruka, in what now seems like a dispatch from another era in which all Scandinavian countries competed and Jessie Diggins was still rounding into form. This article surveys the next 15 who competed on subsequent World Cup weekends,...

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Part one of this series covered regional racing in Alaska and parts of the Lower 48. It surveyed multiple sources suggesting that the true health risk involved with ski racing is not what happens on the race course, perhaps especially in an interval-start competition, but rather what happens outside of it, in the process of traveling to the race, or eating or drinking or sleeping while doing so, or returning to a home community after...

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The winter of Covid continues. Most of the FIS races scheduled for this country this year did not happen. A few did. No one in Canada has done a single official high-level race this winter. No one in Vermont has, either. Some athletes from Canada and Vermont did not race and were chosen for international travel teams. Some athletes in Alaska raced a ton and were not. It’s been a tumultuous winter for everyone, for...

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Are you a well-trained endurance athlete? Do you know your resting heart rate, maximal heart rate, average weekly training hours, and – tough one here – age? If you’re reading this website, the answer to all four of those is probably “yes.” If you have a moment to spare, Stephen Seiler would like your help. Seiler is a longtime professor of sports science, currently at the University of Adger in Kristiansand, Norway. We’ve spoken with...

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Three American junior women have been held out of competing at 2021 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Vuokatti, Finland, following a positive Covid test or potential exposure to a positive case, Skinnyski.com has reported. Yesterday, American skier Michaela Keller-Miller wrote on SkinnySki, “Unfortunately, three members of the women’s US Junior team are in quarantine after one positive Covid-19 test and two possible exposures after contact tracing. As a result, American medal contenders Novie McCabe,...

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Last week, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced team nominations for 2021 FIS Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships, which will be held in Vuokatti, Finland, in early February. The athletes selected were as follows: U23 World Championships Team Women: Hailey Swirbul (APU Nordic Ski Center/El Jebel, Colo.) Sophia Laukli (Middlebury College/Yarmouth, Maine) Alex Lawson (Middlebury College/West Burke, Vt.) Hannah Halvorsen (APU/Anchorage, Alaska) Renae Anderson (Loppet Nordic Racing/Golden Valley, Minn.) Alternate 1: Leah Lange (University...

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(Photo: NordicFocus) What: Fluoros, aka perfluorinated waxes, aka ski waxes containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), aka the really expensive waxes that you put on for big races, in some or all of block, liquid, or powder form. What they do: Make your skis go really, really fast, particularly in the wet or dirty snow conditions that sadly characterize more and more high-end races in an era of artificial snow and climate change. What else...

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This article has been updated with additional information about the history of the Kincaid Hairpin FIS course, and with a link to an article compiling national club time trial results. ANCHORAGE — Sunday, the second day of FIS races in Anchorage, saw, at some level, more of the same: fresh snow (though much less than the day before), soft and slow conditions, and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen at the top of the results sheet. There were...

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ANCHORAGE — Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Luke Jager, and Hunter Wonders won FIS races at Kincaid Park over the weekend against strong fields, in what would typically be statewide races used for Junior Nationals qualification but were this year held as a mostly Anchorage-based weekend after a state sponsoring body declined to host. This race writeup covers Saturday’s classic sprint qualifier, which along with Sunday’s freestyle distance races were the first FIS races held on this...

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No one knows what the 2020/2021 World Cup season will bring by its end, but for three days, at least, its beginning felt like a spectator-less success. While a handful of familiar nations clogged the top of the results sheet – Norway, Sweden, Russia (plus Rosie Brennan’s time-of-day podium in the pursuit!) – there were in fact athletes from a total of 22 nations racing in the opening World Cup weekend in Ruka. That means...

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FasterSkier Explains: Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act Passes Senate A new anti-doping bill that criminalizes international doping conspiracies, while pointedly focusing on high-level organizers rather than on individual athletes, and that makes an expansive claim for U.S. jurisdiction over doping occurring at international competitions while excepting the most high-profile American professional sports leagues, is on the verge of becoming law. Here’s what you need to know: What it is: “An act to impose criminal sanctions on certain...

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This article has been updated with additional information about the Birkie, about all races in Vermont, and about the current state of emergency orders in Anchorage. FasterSkier has previously reported on the significance of FIS points, points earned in races sanctioned by the International Ski Federation that can be used to compare skiers to one another even when they did not engage in head-to-head competition. Under normal circumstances, an athlete’s FIS points are used for...

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2020 has been rough for many of us, at least for those readers who are fans of some or all of civil political discourse, summer training without choking wildfire smoke, or life unhaunted by the specter of a global pandemic. Against a steady drumbeat of bad news, here is some good news: Early-season ski conditions have been favorable in much of the country. Please enjoy this unscientific social media roundup of October and November skiing,...

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The koan that skiers are made in the summer has been around for longer than this website. The related truism, that summer snow time is necessary to effectively compete as a high-level skier come winter, also has a venerable history.  For example, here’s Luke Bodensteiner, writing in Endless Winter about why he had journeyed to a place where “the weather sucks all year long” to ski on the Sognefjellet snowfields in August 1993: “We all...

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ANCHORAGE — The beleaguered ski team at the University of Alaska Anchorage, or UAA, once more finds itself fighting for its continued survival as a competitive program, following last month’s decision by the University of Alaska Board of Regents to tentatively eliminate the alpine portion of the men’s and women’s ski team. As previously reported, the decision facially saves the UAA nordic team: USST national team member JC Schoonmaker and his nordic teammates will not...