Spring skiing at The Farm
Feb. 20 was a delightful spring morning at the White Pine Farm. The sun was shining, the blackbirds were singing and the McPolin barn glowed in the morning light as skiers gathered for the final Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series cross-country ski race.
The spring-like conditions weren’t exactly what we would have preferred, but much better than last year, when there wasn’t enough snow to even hold the event in Park City. And better than the two years previous to that, when veritable blizzards rolled through just as the races got underway.
We were happy that the bad weather jinx was broken. And we were even more pleased that the track held up really well, despite 238 racers doing multiple laps around the 6.7-kilometer loop in 40-plus degree weather. The White Pine groomers had been packing the course for several weeks to prepare for this event, and their hard work paid off.
Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy’s Henry Gorman, in his first series race of the winter, set a blazing pace. His time of 50 minutes, 32 seconds for 20 kilometers put him almost two minutes ahead of any other skier. The WNSA team is coached by Park City Winter Sports School teacher Bill Hokanson and consists of a number of his students. Being able to train full time when there’s snow on the ground really pays off.
On the women’s side of the ledger, XTERRA champion and Park City Nordic Ski Club coach Emma Garrard posted her second victory of the season with a time of 58:01. Longtime Parkite Roxanne Toly was just a couple of minutes back.
There were lots of exciting finishes that kept the race crew on their toes. For example, WNSA skier Aiden Rasmussen won the under-16 class by the largest margin of the winter, but PCNSC’s Lane Myshrall had his work cut out for him to get second place. Lane put on a huge finishing sprint to nip a TUNA skier at the line.
The Morgan women were all-star performers on Saturday. Maddie easily won the under-18 class with a 20:12 for one lap around the course. The WNSA skier showed why she was one of the top qualifiers for the upcoming U.S. Junior Nationals. Her sister, Sarah, took home the bronze in the under-16 class, and mother Kerry showed where some of those racing genes came from by winning the novice division in her first WCS outing.
This was the final race in the 2016 Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series, so season awards were on the line in addition to the usual gold, silver, and bronze medals. Some of those awards came down to the wire. For example, in the under-14 class, Sabine Wilson had to beat TUNA’s Tory Peters to get a plaque. She did that with a vengeance, winning the three-kilometer race in just 9:08. Stine Koch was second in that race.
Several Park City skiers ended the season with perfect, or near-perfect, results. Winning four races were Debbie Wagner, Marit Glenne, Paul Smith, Tom Noaker, Janne Koch and Lucas Fassio. Todd Hageman was one victory shy, with three firsts and a second.
Other Parkites who took home gold medals for the day were Bruce Allen in the 55-59 class, Steve Bowling in the 60-64 group, Eric Oberg in men’s novice and Wes Campbell in the under-12. Dodi Wilson matched her daughter’s winning performance by coming out on top of the 45-49 class.
It was a great winter for the Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series. We had good weather and excellent skiing for all five events. Let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates again next year when the World Junior Championships come to Soldier Hollow in early February!
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.