It was a busy weekend for SMS T2. While our US Ski Team contingency raced the Lillehammer Triple, a three-day World Cup mini tour in Norway, our domestic racers took on the second weekend of SuperTour racing in Bozeman, Montana.
Across the pond, Friday, Saturday and Sunday brought a skate sprint, skate 5k and classic 10/15k pursuit, respectively.
Because these races are held in Norway, they’re known to be the hardest to qualify into heats (because host nations get additional World Cup start spots). On the first day, all of our skiers placed out of qualifying. The day wasn’t a bust, though, because it was also Sophie’s first race since her second elbow fracture. Cheering from home, we know how hard she’s worked to be healthy enough to race this period and are incredibly proud of her.
The next day, Jessie shined in the 5k skate, placing 15th in the same deep field. Fast conditions made for tight finish times, making her result all the more impressive.
On the third day, a pursuit style race meant that the standings from the first two races were averaged to generate the start list. Andy and Simi didn’t start in order to rest for next weekend in Davos, while Soph and Jess took to the line and sent it. Full results here.
Here in the US, Erika, Ben, KO and Anniex2 took on double classic days at Bohart Ranch in Bozeman, Montana. It was Pat’s first full classic weekend waxing for SMS T2, and by all accounts, he nailed it.
The first day was a sprint. Erika qualified highest for our women for the day, crossing the line at 7th while Annie H and Katharine Ogden (our junior buddy) both qualified into the heats as well. I got a little over zealous on an icy downhill and crashed hard enough to land outside of qualifying. I was bummed not to get to race the rest of the day, but got ample opportunity to cheer and take photos, which came in handy when…
Ben got second! At the start of the day, he didn’t qualify quite as high as he had wanted to, but that didn’t faze him. Aggressive but smart racing took him to the A final, where he was nearly edged by a Canadian skier. KO made it into the semifinals (her best senior sprint ever) while Annie and Erika just nearly missed moving on through quarters.
The next day, we rode up the mountain excited for our first mass start of the season. The women had 10k and the men had 15k, two and three laps around an exceptionally challenging, and icy, 5k course. After an hour delay to melt some of that ice, the women took off. Erika and Annie had promising races, placing 10th and 11th, respectively while KO absolutely dominated, racing almost the entire race alone to come to the line at 3rd. In the men’s race, Ben finished 18th in a field of competitive distance skiers. Full results here.
Again, I didn’t have the race I wanted, but the sunny day and sunnier teammates kept me feeling optimistic and happy to be out on the trails. Overall, our weekend wasn’t the best we’ve ever had as a team, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Early season races are always hard to predict and a few standout performances and good feelings have us keeping our heads up and looking forward to more chances to improve.