Skies were sunny and conditions were fair as racers competed in the fourth annual Chinese Summer Ski Tour sprint race last Monday. The 1.5 km course was constructed from snow that has been stored since the end of winter, and athletes said that the snow was surprisingly good throughout the day.
The Chinese team was extremely pleased with the day’s results, as the team was able place a skier on the women’s podium. Jenny Hansson of Sweden took the women’s crown after Sanna Hallberg, her toughest competition in the quarterfinals, was taken out by a fall. Betty Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen of Norway placed second and China’s Wang Libo took third.
Norway’s Teodor Peterson took the men’s crown, closely followed by Sweden’s Anders Hogberg as Kjetil Hagtvedt Dammen, also of Norway, filled out the podium. “It’s a little different to compete here and it feels very exotic. I’m really happy that I got the chance to come,” Peterson said of the experience.
The skiing portion of the Summer Ski Tour concluded on Wednesday with a mixed relay that was equal parts competition and publicity stunt. The race took place indoors at Qiaobo Ice and Snow World, a year-round alpine ski facility in Beijing. The central Chinese sports network filmed the race and plans to broadcast it after coverage of the World Cup in South Africa is over, saying that the event will be “a brand new experience, appealing to the audience.”
The relay, run in heats, was 3km in total with each athlete on the two-person team skiing three laps of 500m. The international team of David Frisk (SWE) and Bjerkreim Nilsen finished first in the event. Sweden dominated the rest of the podium as the team of Peterson and Therese Karlsson placed second, followed by David Jansson and Jenny Hansson in third. The Swedish team of Peter Larsson and Sanna Hallberg filled out the final heat, placing fourth.
The tour continued on Saturday as some of the athletes switched ski boots for running shoes to compete in the Lidingloppet, a 30k cross-country race.