Storm helps Utah skiers race in Wasatch Citizens Series
The Utah Nordic Alliance
The snow gods smiled on Utah Nordic skiers last Saturday, generously dumping almost a foot of snow on the Mountain Dell Cross-Country Ski Area, just in time for the second Black Diamond Wasatch Citizens Series race.
At bedtime on Friday barely an inch of new snow had fallen. Event organizers considered canceling, but the Mountain Dell grooming crew had confidence in the weather report. Their optimism prevailed, and by 7 a.m. Saturday about 10 inches had fallen. A 3.3 kilometer loop was groomed, and the race was on.
Park City junior standout Logan Chamberlain took advantage of the opportunity and cruised to victory. He skated the 10 kilometer course in just 29 minutes, 40 seconds — the only skier to break a half hour. This gave the Wasatch Nordic Academy skier a solid lead in total points for the Wasatch Citizens Series. In the first race at Soldier Hollow in Dec. he was just 10 seconds behind two University of Utah skiers.
In the women’s race, Julie Davenport led a trio of Parkites. The former college racer turned in a time of 34:20. Not far behind were Roxanne Toly, Katie Susong, and Anita Merbach. Julie also placed third in the first WCS event behind two Ute athletes, putting her in a good position to repeat her overall victory in last winter’s series.
Several local skiers were in the medals on Saturday. The Fassio family and the Rasmussens stood out in particular. Savannah Fassio was the fastest woman on the course. Her time of 10:21 for one 3.3 kilometer loop easily outpaced Pearl Harvey and Jenae Rasmussen, who had a tight race for second and third in the under-18 class. All three of these girls are on track to qualify for the Junior Nationals at Soldier Hollow in March.
Aiden Rasmussen nipped Heber rival Mason Heimburger for the victory in the under-16 boys group. Their 10:02 lap time was speedier than all but one of the adult skiers. Both are also likely to be on the Intermountain Division Junior National Team.
Other members of the Fassio family also went home with medals. Lucas placed second in the under-12, and John got the gold in the novice class. The results show that Dad needs to train harder to catch up with his kids.
Several older Parkites skied fast enough to be on top of their age groups. Kirsten Whetstone was the fastest 60-64 woman, and Debbie Wagner beat out Nancy Fichter for the 65-69 title. On the men’s side, Torbjorn Karlsen led the 60-65 men, followed by Geir Vik, Tim Dougherty, and David Stice. Gary Fichter, David Wagner, and Richard Groth were the top for the 70-74 skiers.
Skiing conditions certainly weren’t ideal. This event had originally been scheduled to be classic technique, but there wasn’t enough snow to cut grooves. And by the end of the race, water was beginning to seep up through the snow. Regardless, skiers were excited to have the opportunity to race. Heroic efforts by the grooming crew, who were out on their snowmobiles all night, were very much appreciated.
The next event in the Black Diamond Wasatch Citizens Series will be a 15-kilometer free technique (skate) race at White Pine this coming Sunday. This is the race that was postponed from a couple of weeks ago when spring weather made an early appearance.
Park City Mountain Resort is scheduled to start limited summer operations on Saturday, including the operation of PayDay lift for hikers and bikers.