Local juniors tame the farm
Parkites finish Wasatch Citizens Series on top
What a difference a week makes. After many days of extreme warm temperatures, we feared that the final event of the Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series on White Pine’s farm course would be another slush fest. Then, a lovely winter storm rolled in and completely turned things around. Saturday’s race was held on a perfect track in cold sunny weather.
Park City junior skiers were the top performers in the 20-kilometer free technique (skate) event. Several of them were using this race as a tune-up for next week’s Junior Nationals in Lake Placid. Based on their results, it looks like they’re ready to test their skills against the best in the country.
Parkite Haley Batten was the fastest woman, completing three laps around a challenging 6.8-kilometer loop in just 65:19. The world=class mountain biker is also one of the top cross-country ski racers in the Intermountain West. She chose to focus on her biking this winter, rather than trying to qualify for the Nationals, but she’s been training with Steve Cook and The Utah Nordic Alliance program.
Junior National qualifier Madison Morgan was the second woman across the line, about two minutes back, with Roxanne Toly taking the bronze. Toly’s third was all she needed to put her in second place in the overall 2017 Wasatch Citizens Series. Points are accumulated throughout the winter, and each person’s top four results are used to determine winners.
In the men’s race, recent University of Alaska grad Brandon Brewster had the fastest time of the day, posting a fine 59:29. He was the only person to break an hour on the squeaky cold track. Aram Hajiyan was second, and Wasatch Nordic Academy skier Daniel Fischer placed third.
Daniel was a top qualifier for the Junior Nationals, as was Connor Patten, who won Saturday’s race in the under-18 class in 39:30. Connor’s group only skied two laps, but his pace would have put him in contention for a win among the senior men.
Parkites got a clean sweep in the under-18 girls division. Skiing one lap around the course, Jenae Rasmussen led the group with a time of 22:19, more than a minute ahead of Wasatch teammate Savanna Fassio. Claire Oberg won the bronze in that class. Sydney Palmer-Leger took the girls under-16
in a time of 20:32, which was by far the speediest lap for any female racer.
Local skiers also swept the boys under-16 class. Park City Nordic Ski Club standout Skylar Patten had the fastest single lap time of the day, completing 6.8 kilometers in just 19:05. His teammate Lane Myshrall was 30 seconds back, which was good enough to nip Wasatch Nordic’s Aiden Rasmussen by just 3 seconds. All of these skiers will be headed for Lake Placid in the next few days.
Other locals who took home gold medals for the day were Tim Briley in the 50-54 class, Bruce Allen and Marcy Allen in the 60-64 groups, John Fassio and Molly Efrusy in novice, Lucas Fassio among under-10 boys, and Reed Chamberlain in the under-14 division.
Several Park City skiers ended the season with perfect, or near-perfect, results. Winning four races were Todd Hageman, Tom Noaker, Dave Hanscom and Paul Smith. Debbie Wagner, Jamison Ping, Kirsten Whetstone, and Marit Glenne were one victory shy, with three firsts. Other overall winners included Christine Schwartz, Grace Ping, Dylan Noaker, Geir Vik, and Eric Oberg.
The winter was a mixed bag for the Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series. We had good weather and excellent skiing for three events, but our first race had to be moved to higher elevation due to lack of snow in December. Then Mother Nature decided she hadn’t made her point and sent us the
Pineapple Express in February. Hopefully next year will be better.
Park City Mountain Resort is scheduled to start limited summer operations on Saturday, including the operation of PayDay lift for hikers and bikers.