The Nordic Combined Continental Cup returns to Park City this weekend
The Continental Cup is returning to Park City.
From Friday, Dec. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 15, some of the top Nordic combined athletes in the world will descend upon the mountain town in search of glory through the air and on the snow.
“We are excited to be hosting this Continental Cup, as it’s a great representation of what our athletes are capable of,” said Blake Hughes, USA Nordic’s women’s national team director. “The fact that our athletes get to compete in their own country and in front of their own fans; I think it makes a big difference”
Nordic combined is the combination of two different ski disciplines: cross-country and jumping. Points are taken from each discipline to crown a winner at the end of the event.
The ski jumping portion will see its action at the Utah Olympic Park in Kimball Junction while the cross-country races will run at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway.
This year’s event will not be short on star power as many of the top American Nordic combined athletes compete.
Highlighting the group on the women’s side is Parkite Tara Geraghty-Moats, widely considered the top Nordic combined skier in the world. This is a big event for Moats as she’s looking to keep up her Continental Cup winning streak as she won all 10 the Continental Cups she participated in last year.
One of her opponents in the women’s division include another Park City resident in Kathleen O’Connell, who’s making her return to the sport with which she grew up after a successful cross-country skiing career.
O’Connell said that she hasn’t made a jump like this in competition since she was 15.
“I’m nervous because I haven’t jumped something this big since I was 15, but I’m more excited to get back out there,” O’Connell said. “Last time I did a jump this big I went off it twice and did so terribly, so I guess I can only be better this time around. I think I’ll be pretty good on the Nordic side, but I don’t really have expectations of myself when it comes to jumping.”
On the men’s side, Park City native Taylor Fletcher looks to continue his solid start to the season and defend his title after winning last year’s event in Park City.
Parkites also competing on the men’s side include Ben Loomis and Jasper Good, two members of the national team who have recently completed Army basic training and have been accepted into the branch’s World Class Athlete Program, which gives enlisted personnel who are athletes the chance to compete on the international level.
“Not only is it a great honor to be accepted in the program, this is my first competition since being accepted,” Good said. “I get to compete for the first time this season here and I couldn’t be more excited.”
This year, USA Nordic is taking the fan experience very seriously. Although the event begins Friday, the highlight will be Saturday night at Utah Olympic Park. The outrun of the ski jump will be full of entertainment, including vendors, food trucks, beverages, fire pits and live music.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.