Far West Nordic season gets underway

Sugar Bowl’s Hayden McJunkin skis to a first-place finish at Auburn Ski Club on Sunday. McJunkin won both of last weekend’s Far West Nordic races.
Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy

The Far West Nordic season got underway last weekend at Auburn Ski Club, bringing the area’s top cross-country skiers out for two days of competition.

Saturday featured the Tahoe Mountain Sports Holiday Sprints, and was followed by Paco’s Holiday Skate, which marked the first Far West Nordic mass start race since 2020.

More than 60 skiers showed up for Saturday’s 1.3-kilometer sprint, including students and several alumni from the area.

Skiers with ties to Sugar Bowl Academy dominated the opening day with wins in both the men and women’s divisions.

Sugar Bowl graduate Brandon Herhusky took first place in the men’s race, finishing with a time of 3 minutes, 10 seconds. In September, Herhusky was named to the Harvard University Nordic Skiing coaching staff as an assistant. Sugar Bowl athletes Matt Seline (3:11), and Bjorn Halvorsen (3:15) gave the program a sweep of the men’s podium.

On the women’s side, Sugar Bowl’s Hayden McJunkin took first place with a time of 3:37.0. Auburn Ski Club’s Kili Lehmkuhl was second with a time of 3:43.3. Older sister Quinn Lehmkuhl, who raced under the Tahoe Cross-Country banner, was third with a time of 3:45.5.

The day also featured rounds of youth racing. Tahoe Cross-Country’s Gabriella Jowers was first in the youth sprint with a time of 4:16.2. Chasyn Halvorsen won the boys’ race with a time of 5:00.6. In U14 racing, Tahoe Cross-Country skier Elio Adriani won the boys’ race and Auburn Ski Club’s Sierra Strecker won the girls’ race.


Sugar Bowl’s McJunkin made it a sweep of the weekend events at Auburn Ski Club, taking first place in Sunday’s 5-kilometer race with a time of 14:08.9. Quinn Lehmkuhl was second with a time of 14:17.4, followed by her sister Kili, who reached the finish line in 14:31.5.

On the men’s side, Seline dominated the field by 19 seconds to claim first place with a time of 11:59.4. Auburn Ski Club product Nikolas Burkhart was second with a time of 12:18.4. Halvorsen was third for the second day in a row, finishing with a time of 12:26.2.

In youth racing, William Gregor took first place on the 3-kilometer course with a time of 8:59.5. Strecker captured her second win of the weekend, taking first in the girls’ race with a time of 9:10.6

Sunday’s competition also featured Far West Nordic’s Citizen’s racing. Peter Hanson was first on the men’s 10-kilometer course with a time of 30:29.8; while Kari Chalstrom won the women’s 10-kilometer race with a time of 38:50.1.

Far West Racing will return to Auburn Ski Club on New Year’s Eve for a freestyle night race. For more information, visit

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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