Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - Latest News
US Ski Team back on snow in Fairbanks, Alaska

FAIRBANKS, AK (Nov. 1) – U.S. cross country racers could use a little more snow to help local organizers open more terrain at Birch Hill Recreation Area, Coach Trond Nystad said Friday, but they're still having an outstanding training camp as they head toward the first round of Nor Am (Continental Cup) races.

The opening races will be Nov. 9-10 at Birch Hill, followed by races over Thanksgiving Weekend in West Yellowstone, MT. The Continental Cup schedule then swings to Canada for races before Christmas at Sovereign Lake, BC, and Rossland, BC.

"The camp's been great although I wish we had a little more snow," Nystad said. "It's decent, though, and good enough for us to ski," he said. The national team trains in the morning for up to three hours and another couple of hours in the afternoon; John Estle, former U.S. head coach who is one of the lead organizers in Fairbanks, and his staff have arranged for the athletes to train two or thee days a week at the Fairbanks Athletic Club.

U.S. nordic combined skiers also are training in Fairbanks, he said.

"The major thing for us has been to get to sea level and get a lot of skiing done, and we're doing it," the coach said. "At sea level, we're able to move a lot faster, so that's been good." After a time trial in a few days, the skiers will compete in the Continental Cup sprint and one-day pursuit Nov. 9-10.

"Right now, they're all looking good. It's kind of hard to say because we haven't had a lot of intensity yet, so they're all looking strong. Kris Freeman [Andover, NH] has been under the weather but he's working to get healthy again…

"The team is extremely positive and everyone's working well together. It's a good group," he said. "Everything's lined up right for us to be successful."

The World Cup season opens Nov. 23-24 in Kiruna, Sweden, but U.S. skiers will be training or racing in North America until after the Chevy Truck U.S. Cross Country Championships in early January in Rumford, ME. Nystad said the World Championships team will have a couple of World Cup races before Worlds in Val diFiemme, Italy, in addition to Freeman and others competing in the first – although unofficial – U-23 championships near Bormio, Italy, before Worlds.


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