BOZEMAN, Mont. (Dec. 8) - The second stop on the USSA Cross Country SuperTour schedule brought victory and three other podiums for U.S. Ski Team racers.
Rain and unseasonable weather at the start of the week forced organizers to move the races from downtown to Bohart Ranch, outside of Bozeman. The races went off without a hitch after temperatures turned cold.
U.S. Coach Matt Whitcomb gave organizers top grades for the testing nature of the trails for each race. "They put together a world-class course in terms of terrain. It's so refreshing to find these challenging trails; we're used to seeing a little more flat or roll, but Bohart was outstanding," he said.
Saturday in the 1.1K classic technique sprints, defending SuperTour champion Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA/APU Nordic), a U.S. B Team member, cruised to her second win of the early season. Leading all three finals heats, Valaas out-skied teammate Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN/Northern Michigan U.). Katie Ronsse (Anchorage, AK; University of Denver/APU Nordic) came in third.
University of Utah skier Snorri Einarsson of Norway won the men's sprint with teammate Even Sletten, another Norwegian native, in second place. Kevin Hochtl (Vail, CO; Ski&Snowboard Club Vail) finished third.
Sunday, Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI/ Team CXC) won the men's 15K freestyle technique race in 33:54.9. Zack Simons (Salt Lake City; Team Rossignol/The Utah Nordic Alliance) was second, 20 seconds back, and Brian Gregg (Winthrop, WA; Team CXC) was third in 34:39.6.
The women's 10K skate race went to defending SuperTour overall and distance champion Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis; Team CXC), who won four SuperTour races last season. Her winning time was 28:46.6 and U.S. B Team member Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mountain Academy) made her first start of the season a podium performance, finishing in 29:04.2. Taz Mannix (Anchorage, AK; APU Nordic), another B Team skier, completed the podium.
The next SuperTour races are Saturday and Sunday at Soldier Hollow, UT, the 2002 Olympic site and, like Bozeman, a traditional pre-Christmas stop on the SuperTour schedule.
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