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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(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...

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ANCHORAGE — For the second time in four years, nordic skiing has been saved at the University of Alaska Anchorage, following a serious proposal to eliminate the ski team entirely. This time around, the victory is somewhat more of a pyrrhic one, as the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted Thursday to eliminate the alpine portion of the men’s and women’s ski team, unless supporters can raise over a half million dollars in advance...

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Multiple schools in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association are experiencing flux with their nordic coaching staff going into the 2020/2021 ski season, according to representatives from each school. The schools in question are the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Utah, and Montana State University, all of which have well-established nordic programs that placed highly at last year’s NCAA Championships. Neither Anchorage nor Montana State currently has anyone filling this position. Utah has two...

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ANCHORAGE — The U.S. women’s epochal third-place relay finish at the World Cup stop in Gällivare, Sweden, in November 2012 is justly hailed as an inflection point for American skiing: For the first time in American nordic history, this country had four athletes who were all strong enough on the same day to challenge the traditional Scandinavian powers at their own game. The race begins Peggy Shinn’s historical treatment, World Class: The Making of the...

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ANCHORAGE — It’s déjà vu all over again for alumni and supporters of the University of Alaska Anchorage ski team, following the recent announcement that, for the second time in four years, university administration wishes to cut the team for budgetary reasons. A common theme in their current responses is their concern that this time, the cut may stick. To start with, consider what Adam Verrier wrote on his blog four years ago, in November...

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This article has been updated with a link to additional information in an Anchorage Daily News story. ANCHORAGE — The University of Alaska Anchorage announced Wednesday a planned “reconfiguration” of the UAA Athletics Department, which will involve cutting both the men’s and women’s ski teams after the 2020/2021 school year. School leaders will seek approval of their plan, which would also cut men’s hockey and women’s gymnastics, at the upcoming Board of Regents meeting on September...

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This article has been updated to clarify the relationship between the junior races now known as FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships and its precursor, the World Junior Nordic Championships and the European Junior Nordic Championships.  There are, to briefly traffic in the obvious, 60 seconds in a minute. Sixty seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in an hour; 3,600 seconds in an hour. Skiers measure their lives in these increments; we track total yearly training hours,...

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First in a two-part series. Coming next week: The meaning of a single FIS point for national team selection. The recent news that David Norris was not named to the national team by the narrowest of margins, following the application of objective selection criteria tied to an athlete’s position on an overall FIS points world ranking list, has inspired FasterSkier to take a closer look at where these numbers come from. The goal of this...

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You may have noticed that health concerns are on everyone’s mind these days. You may also have noticed that your favorite park/ski trail/hiking trail/bike path is unusually crowded, as a nation of stay-at-home individuals ventures out for fresh air and the undeniable health benefits that physical exercise provides. FasterSkier here compiles some recent popular scholarship on the topics of exercise best practices in the time of coronavirus. FasterSkier explicitly does not give its imprimatur to any...

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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...

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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...

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There are certain precepts that permeate Brave Enough, the new memoir by Jessie Diggins: Teamwork is good. So is glitter. Self-belief is important. Training hard pays off. As for substance, I have nothing snarky to say about these morals; nordic skiing, if not the entire world, would be better off if we all felt these things so fervently, and it is engaging to trace the development of these themes in Diggins’s life. But as for...