WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. (Nov. 26) - Good snow and good weather greeted more than 200 racers, including a couple of ex-Olympians and a throng of college skiers, over the Thanksgiving holiday for the start of the 2007 USSA Cross Country SuperTour.
"It was an unbelievable start for the season and for the SuperTour," U.S. Development Coach Pat Casey said after skate sprints Friday on a 900-meter loop and classic technique races Saturday at the Rendezvous Trails complex, the men's 15K CL and women's 10K.<
"We got some good snow before the races and conditions for both days were outstanding," according to Casey. Four U.S. Continental Cup skiers - Matt Gelso (Truckee, CA), Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT), Taz Mannix (Anchorage, AK) and Morgan Arittola (Fairfield, ID) - competed in the races. Top results came from Gelso, finishing fourth Saturday in the 15K while Stephen was fifth Friday in the sprint, posting the fastest time in the B Final.
Saturday (Men's 15K, women's 10K classic) - Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK), a two-time Olympian, won the 15K in 38:06.3 with Zach Violett (Brownsville, CA) runnerup in 38:15.2. Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) completed the podium. In the women's race, Swede Kristina Strandberg rolled to the win in 30:09.6 with Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) nearly a half-minute back; third place went to Norwegian Maria Grevsgaard, another CU student.
Friday (freestyle 900-meter sprints) - University of Utah student Even
Sletten edged Flora by a half-second to win the men's race with Colin
Mahood (Bend, OR) third and Carl Swenson (Park City, UT), a three-time
Olympian and former national sprint champ, who retired last spring from
the U.S. Ski Team, in fourth. Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) won the
women's sprint final with Karin Camenisch of Switzerland second, more
than a second back.
The next SuperTour races are Dec. 6-10 in Bozeman, MT.
For complete results: