HomeCategory Para Nordic

Paralympic Nordic skiing competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, blindness/visual impairment, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke.
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On April 9th, the Crosscut Mountain Sports Center in Bozeman, MT released information and qualification criteria for their newly founded elite team. As you skim what it takes to earn a spot at each tier of the program, it may catch your attention that the cross country, biathlon, and para nordic are housed within the same program. This single team approach reflects the growth and development at Crosscut in connection with its partnership with the...

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Of the members of the U.S. Para Nordic team, more than half compete at the highest level in both summer and winter sports. Instead of quadrennial, their training is designed for biennial Paralympic cycles, oscillating between sports each year with an overall focus shift toward whichever Games is approaching fastest.  And the goal is not simply to compete in both rounds of the Games, it is to bring home medals.  Illinois based Oksana Masters is...

This insight into training para nordic athletes comes from Martin Benes, head coach of U.S. Para Nordic skiing. Benes joined U.S. Para Nordic in August 2018 after spending five years as the nordic ski director and head coach at Sugar Bowl Academy in Norden, CA. Benes responded via. email following a team training camp in Canmore, Alberta.  FasterSkier: Before taking this job, did you have any background in or connections to para sports? What have...

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Dan Cnossen is a badass. There. We said it. In the realm of para nordic sport, the 39-year-old medaled in each of the six biathlon and cross country events in which he competed during the 2018 Paralympic Games. At the 2019 World Championships, he Cnossen earned a silver medal in both the cross country sprint and middle distance races after a slew of podium finishes in World Cup events during the season. Prior to his athletic career,...

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27-year-old Kendall Gretsch is a well-decorated athlete.  A glance at the Illinois native’s bio shows three consecutive ITU Paratriathlon World Championship titles (2014 – 2016) plus a silver medal at this year’s event on September 1st in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is a five-time USA Paratriathlon national champion, four-time gold medalist at the PATCO/CAMTRI American Championships, and has four medals from ITU Paratriathlon World Cup events, two each of gold and silver. And that is just...

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One skier is twenty years old, the other thirty four. Mia Zutter, the younger of the duo, and Kristina Trygstad-Saari, the eldest, exemplify interdependence on the ski tracks. One guides for the other. They met in Canmore in 2018 at a Para World Cup that served as a qualifier for the PyeongChang Paralympics.  Zutter is a visually impaired skier. At the age of 12, having been a lifelong athlete immersed in gymnastics and figure skating,...

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This story comes to FasterSkier from Paige Elliott, a lifetime cross-country skier with some wisdom to share after her experience at the 2018 Paralympics. Elliott is based in Durango, Colo. The story is reprinted with permission from the Durango Telegraph and originally ran on April 12, 2018.  ***  “What are you doing in March?” and “How would you like to go to South Korea?” were not the questions I was expecting to hear after answering...

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FIS World Cup Tour de Ski Stage 5 15 k/10k Freestyle Pursuit Oberstdorf, Germany Men’s Report | Women’s Report  Today’s Tour de Ski (TdS) Stage 5 15-kilometer freestyle pursuit in Oberstdorf, Germany began and ended simply enough: Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo wearing the Tour’s blue leader’s bib started first with a 15 second lead over second overall skier Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov.   By 2 k into the race, the pair had linked up and ceded...

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As a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Kendall Gretsch stumbled across an article that would change her life. It was the spring of 2012, just a few months before the Summer Paralympics in London. Gretsch had been reading the local news when she came across a story about a St. Louis college student who hoped to attend the London Games as part of the U.S. Paralympics Swimming team.   Born with spina...

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The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games was one for the books for Team Canada. Its athletes racked up a total of 28 medals in PyeongChang, South Korea, surpassing its previous record of 19 in Vancouver 2010. Of those 28 medals, 16 came from Cross Country Canada’s (CCC) Para Nordic skiers (which includes both cross-country and biathlon). In comparison, five of the 19 medals Canada won in Vancouver were a product of a para-nordic team made up for...

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Press release) CANMORE, Alta.—Cross Country Ski de fond Canada has tapped Nic Lemyre to guide the organization’s high-performance program into a new era. Originally from Montreal, Lemyre takes on the role of high performance and development advisor with clear goals in mind – to break barriers and establish Canada as a strong Nordic nation with multiple male and female athletes performing at the highest level, while providing our nation’s best cross-country skiers with the means...

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press release. Notably, the World Cup A-team is made up of one man — Alex Harvey — after three athletes from Devon Kershaw, Jess Cockney and Knute Johnsgaard). Graeme Killick, of last season’s World Cup B-team, also retired. Len Valjas was nominated to the B-team, a demotion, he said, that was a result of him ending his season immediately after the PyeongChang Olympics. “The reasoning is that I … didn’t show up to [the World...

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With the 2017/2018 season officially in the rearview, FasterSkier is excited to unveil its annual award winners for this past winter. Votes stem from the FS staff, scattered across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and while not scientific, they are intended to reflect a broader sense of the season in review. This set of honors goes to coaches of North American teams in any nordic discipline, at any level – although in an Olympic and...

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With the 2017/2018 season officially in the rearview, FasterSkier is excited to unveil its annual award winners for this past winter. Votes stem from the FS staff, scattered across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and while not scientific, they are intended to reflect a broader sense of the season in review. This set of honors goes to Canadian athletes in any disciplines who had a major breakthrough at some level of competition. Previous categories: Collegiate...

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With the 2017/2018 season officially in the rearview, FasterSkier is excited to unveil its annual award winners for this past winter. Votes stem from the FS staff, scattered across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and while not scientific, they are intended to reflect a broader sense of the season in review. This set of honors goes to outstanding Para-Nordic skiers on the international circuit. Previous categories: Collegiate Skiers of the Year | injured her elbow and...

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Success to failure. Failure to success. Two trends of two extremes on the performance metrics on the international cross-country skiing spectrum. There are many in-betweens: scoring World Cup points with a top 30, top 10’s, any spot on the podium. There are the Olympic and Paralympic quads featuring a four-year buildup to North America’s singular focus on bronze, silver and gold hardware. When considering how to develop talent, placing athletes on snow with the absolute...

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2018 Winter Paralympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Mixed and open relays On the final day of the PyeongChang Paralympic Games, Canada was the only country to medal in both the mixed and open cross-country relays, and its mixed relay anchor, Mark Arendz, became the most decorated Canadian at a single Winter Paralympics with his sixth medal of the week. In the 4 x 2.5-kilometer mixed relay on Sunday, Natalie Wilkie, Emily Young, Chris Klebl, and Arendz...

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2018 Winter Paralympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): 5/7.5/10 k cross-country races Saturday marked the last day of individual racing at the PyeongChang Paralympics, and as they have over the last week, the U.S. and Canadian teams did not disappoint, with the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Team adding a gold and two silvers to its medal count and the Canadian Para-Nordic Team notching two golds and two bronze medals in the middle-distance cross-country races. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Wilkie of...