Park City native Rosie Brennan, coming off a successful World Cup series in Canmore, British Columbia, Canada, cruised to an easy victory in the women's division, skiing twice around the 5K loop in 32 minutes, 51 seconds. Veteran Roxanne Toly was the third woman across the line.
In the men's race, Dartmouth senior and team captain Sam Tarling nipped 2012 graduate Eric Packer at the finish for the win. The two traded the lead throughout the race, and finished with an excellent time of 27:50.
The three skiers are in town getting acclimated to the altitude in preparation for the US National Cross Country Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow next week. Several hundred North American athletes will be there for races on Jan. 2, 4, 6, and 8.
After graduating from college in 2011, Brennan moved north to train with the Alaska Pacific University team, in hopes of making the US Ski Team. This has been her best year so far. Top finishes in Super Tour races at Sun Valley and West Yellowstone in November qualified her for the World Cup in Canada last week.
Placing, on average, 35th overall in the three races, and being the fifth American, made for an exciting week for Brennan.
"It was really cool to ski against the best in the world, and to stay in the same hotel with them," she said.
Almost 200 skiers enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in Park City on Saturday. Due to limited natural snow and temperatures too high for snowmaking, the race had to me moved from Soldier Hollow. Despite thin cover, the White Pine crew was able to groom the track to perfection. Cold weather the night before the race made it easy to find the right wax to get up the hills, sometimes not an easy task in a classic technique race.
Park City area juniors took all the medals in almost every age group. Lauren Jackson, Sydney Palmer-Leger, and Sarah Morgan all won their divisions. In the boy's classes, Matthew Turner, Fischer Heimburger, and Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour were winners.
The closest race of the day was in the 10-11 year old age group, where Mason Heimburger nipped Jack Jarrett by less than two seconds for the victory. In addition, Sabine Wilson joined her parents Isaac and Dodi to make it a clean sweep for gold. And Julia Lazzaroni provided a good example for her father Robert, as both came out on top of their classes.
Other local adults had just as much success. Dan Morken, Paul Smith, Tom Noaker, David and Deborah Wagner, Marit Glenne, and Maurissa Weight took top honors in their age groups.
The next race in the Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series will be a 15-kilometer free-technique event at White Pine on Saturday, January 5.