SSWSC hosted the second Junior National Qualifying races January 15 & 16, 2012. Despite a lack of abundant natural snow, the SSWSC volunteers worked hard with shoveling parties and machine made snow to develop a fully covered 2.5km course with excellent skiing conditions on a very challenging and tough homologated course. The weather was sunny but still cool to cold. Waxing both days was fairly straight forward for the various teams and a variety of waxes worked extremely well.
Colorado University participated at the Steamboat Springs Junior National Qualifier by holding their CU Invitational at the same time. Eight colleges participated, University of Alaska Anchorage, Colorado University, Denver University, Montana State University, New Mexico University, Utah University, Wyoming University, and Alaska Pacific University. The Colorado Junior skiers were able to enter the interval start race and race along with the college skiers. They were seeded by their FIS points.
The stadium set up was outstanding. The SSWSC worked with the City of Steamboat Springs and Ski Town USA was able to use the rodeo arena and grounds as the ski stadium for the cross country ski races. They had plenty of room for both the start and finish areas. The race track was able to have eight lanes for the classic mass start race. SSWSC was able to utilize the public address system, normally used for rodeos, for the ski races. We all enjoyed rock and roll music while the races were going on. They had portable microphones on the course and they were able to announce progress reports and results during the races that really added enjoyment for the spectators.
Skiers who were double winners by winning both the skate interval start race and the mass start classic race:
OJ Male Tucker McCrerey** Summit Nordic Ski Club
J2 Male Culley Brown** Durango Nordic Ski club
J3 Male Kai Serman** Crested Butte Nordic Team
J4 Male Sven Tate** Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
OJ Female Haley Piske** Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
J1 Female Emily Hannah Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
J3 Female Hailey Swirbul Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club
J4 Female Jaden Carlson Boulder Nordic Junior Race Team
J5 Female Katy Floyd Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
**Skiers who were also double winners at the first JNQ races at Crested Butte December 17 & 18, 2011
- OJ Males Tucker McCrerey, SNSC, and Charlie Von Thaden SSWSC were first and second respectively both days.
- J1 Females Emily Hannah SSWSC, Mary O’Connell SSWSC, Rachel Hampton DNSC, Cara Piske SSWSC finished in that same 1, 2, 3, 4 order both days.
- J1 Males Haakon Sigurslid DNSC, won the Skate race and Max Scrimgeour SSWSC won the Classic race.
- J2 Males Cully Brown DNSC, Lars Hannah SSWSC, Forest Smith CBNT, Parwit Durgan CBNT finished in that same 1, 2, 3, 4 order both days
- J2 Females continue to be the tightest competition among all the classes with a lot swapping of places among the top 15 skiers. Hannah Hardenbergh SSCV, Bretchen Burkholder SSWSC, Abbey Habermehl SSWSC, are leading in JN points and have separated themselves a little, but there are talented skiers behind them in the remaining field who are competing quite strongly for one of the top nine J2 Females slots for the RMN Junior National Team.
- J3 Female Hailey Swirbul AVSC, won both days. However, this class is like the J2 Female class, in that they are a very competitive class. In order to be on the podium you have to have your A game. Hailey has won three out of the four races but she also has talented skiers chasing her.
- J4 Males Sven Tate SSWSC, Garrett Butts, Gunnison Nordic Team, and Ian Hardenbergh finished in that same order both days as special cross country skiers. However in the skate race, Elijah Vargas from the SSWSC Nordic Combined Team placed second in the skate race. I am forecasting that we will see a lot of the three special cross country skiers at the top of the results sheets as they move through the RMN pipeline.
- J4 Female Jaden Carlson BNJRT, won both days. This class is very similar to the older female classes in that it is very competitive. Like Haily Swirbul in the J3 female class, Jaden has won three out of four J4 female class races.
It is going to be interesting to see how all the RMN skiers match up to skiers from the other five western divisions, Intermoutain, High Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Far West when they race at the Super Qualifier at Soldier Hollow January 27 & 28, 2012. My prediction is that all the RMN classes will do very well and it is a dress rehearsal for the Junior National Championships that will be at Soldier Hollow March 5 – 10, 2012. RMN will have 47 J2 and older skiers on the team and 16 coaches supporting them.