Soldier Hollow preparing for cross-country championships

Soldier Hollow preparing for cross-country championships{mosimage}SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah (Dec. 31) The U.S. Cross Country Championships return to the Olympic trails Jan. 3-10 where they began a five-year run of record participants. Upwards of 400 skiers have registered for the five days of racing, which will see final selections made for the World Championships, Junior World Championships and a juniors trip to Scandinavia.

The alltime record field for the U.S. championships raced a year ago in Rumford, Maine, as 453 skiers competed one day and that mark was upped to 478 racers the next day as the Chisholm Ski Club ran blockbuster numbers, topping their own mark of the 2003 season.

‘This won’t be the record we saw last winter, but we’ll still have big crowds’ U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said. The title races also will double as cross country SuperTour events.

‘Nationals always attract a big crowd of college skiers getting set for their carnival season and we’ve got a strong citizen race series in Utah, as well as in the Intermountain region’ he said. ‘And tying those World Championships and Junior Worlds and junior trip spots to the results is an added incentive for a lot of these racers.

‘We should have some exciting races.’

Soldier Hollow, with its mix of rugged hills and rolling terrain, was the 2002 Olympics venue. Its network of 20-plus kilometers of trails was designed by Norwegian Hermod Bjorkestol and two-time U.S. Olympian John Aalberg; Bjoerkestoel explained his concept was ‘to make them like dancing, so the skiers could flow easily.’

Defending SuperTour champions Dave Chamberlain (Bethel, ME) and Rebecca Dussault (Gunnison, CO) lead the current standings coming into the championships.

Schedule of Events:
Monday, Jan. 3 Men’s 30K and women’s 15K freestyle
Wednesday, Jan. 5 Men’s 10K and women’s 5K classic
Thursday, Jan. 6 Men’s 10K and women’s 5K FR
Saturday, Jan. 8 Sprints CL
Monday, Jan. 10 Pursuits, Men’s 30K (15K CL+15K FR) and women’s 15K (7.5K+7.5K)

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