Ski wrap: Schoonmaker has career-best day

Tahoe City’s JC Schoonmaker was among 21 athletes selected to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard

North Tahoe’s JC Schoonmaker had a career-best day in Ruka, Finland, racing to a seventh-place finish at last Friday’s World Cup sprint event.

“It felt amazing to make those semis,” said Schoonmaker, 21, in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Last year, I struggled to get through the quarters, so today was kinda a breakthrough moment, and it was fun to get into some uncharted territory. I felt great today, mentally and physically, and I’m really happy to be in this position starting the season.

The event marked the first World Cup cross-country race of the season. After posting the fifth fastest qualifying time, Schoonmaker finished second in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Schoonmaker was looking to advance into the final heat of six racers when Sweden’s Marcus Grate and teammate Anton Persson both crashed after one of them made contact with Schoonmaker’s ski.

“It all happened pretty fast, but the guy next to me just kinda skied into my ski and luckily I was able to keep my balance,” Schoonmaker told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I went over to those Swedish guys after and said, ‘Good race and sorry that happened.’ I don’t think it was anyone’s fault, just ski racing.”

Schoonmaker’s previous best result was an 18th-place finish last season in Dresden, Germany.

On the women’s side, Truckee’s Hannah Halvorsen, 23, finished 53rd in qualifying. The top-30 finishers went on to the quarterfinal round of racing.

Racing continues this weekend in Lillehammer, Norway.


Team Palisades Tahoe skiers Bryce Bennett and Travis Ganong got their seasons underway last weekend, competing in downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

Ganong, 33, came into the race after posting the third and 16th fastest times in the prior days’ training runs, but finished 26th during Saturday’s race.

Bennett, 29, would also finish 26th, marking an improvement on his two days of training runs in which he finished 39th and 52nd. Both skiers picked up five World Cup points. Fellow Team Palisades Tahoe skier Erik Arvidsson, 25, also competed at Lake Louise and finished 37th place.

Sunday’s super-G event was canceled due to weather.

In women’s World Cup alpine racing, Team Palisades Tahoe skiers AJ Hurt and Nina O’Brien failed to qualify for the second round of racing at Sunday’s slalom event in Killington, Vermont.

Training for the women’s World Cup downhill event at Lake Louise got underway Tuesday. Team Palisades Tahoe skier Keely Cashman is making her World Cup season debut and finished 30th during training.

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

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