The Great Ski Race: 1,000-plus participate in 34th annual event
March 8, 2010
TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; Some blazed across the finish line in Julia Mancuso-esque tucks. Others power-wedged slowly down the final hill toward the throngs of finishers, noticeably fatigued after cross-country skiing 30 kilometers from Tahoe City to Truckee. No matter how they finished, most of the 1,005 Great Ski Racers wore giant smiles of satisfaction as they mingled in the finish area near the Cottonwood Restaurant on Sunday. andamp;#8220;It’s a blast,andamp;#8221; said Megan Ganong of Tahoe City, who finished the 34th edition of The Great Ski Race in 1 hour, 44 minutes and 3 seconds, which was good enough for 202nd place. andamp;#8220;It’s just a great community scene, where everybody is out and encouraging each other and feeling the pain together. And it’s a great party at the end and a good accomplishment.andamp;#8221;None completed the 18.43-mile course faster than Adam Swank of Duluth, Minn., who captured the win under clear blue skies in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 30 seconds in his first-ever Great Ski Race.andamp;#8220;I wasn’t expecting to get the win,andamp;#8221; said Swank, who edged runner-up Ian Case by 16 seconds. andamp;#8220;I expected to be up there with the winners, but you never know what’s going to happen on that last downhill. This race always draws a great field, so I’m really pleased to get the win.andamp;#8221;Case, who trains out of Truckee, posted a runner-up time of 1:11:46, while 2004 Sugar Bowl Academy grad Phillip Violett of Colfax took third in 1:14:33. The course record remains 1:06:51, set in 2008 by Marshall Greene.andamp;#8220;It was a lot faster than last year, when it was rainy and slush,andamp;#8221; said Case, who placed fourth in 2009 in a wet and soggy Great Ski Race. andamp;#8220;So it was fun to ski it in nicer conditions this year. These are my favorite conditions. I’ve been waiting for this kind of weather and this kind of snow for a long time.andamp;#8221;Case said he and Swank pulled away from the field early in the race before Swank opened about a 20-second gap on him leading into the final downhill. andamp;#8220;They (created) a gap early, so I was pretty much in no-man’s land the entire race,andamp;#8221; said Violett. andamp;#8220;I just tried to make sure no one caught me from behind.andamp;#8221;Beth Reid of Palo Alto placed first among women and 12th overall with a time of 1:18:51, while Truckee’s Katerina Nash posted a time of 1:18:51 for second place in the women’s field and 13th place overall. Cathy Howard of Truckee was third (39th overall) in 1:25:05.Tav Streit finished fourth overall (1:15:21) and was followed by Truckee’s Marcus Nash in fifth (1:15:22) and Truckee’s Rick Reynolds in seventh (1:15:53).andamp;#8220;I just go and ski from point-A to point-B and try to have a good time andamp;#8212; and try to beat my wife,andamp;#8221; Marcus Nash said shortly after his finish, referring to wife Katerina. andamp;#8220;There she is,andamp;#8221; he added as his wife, also a world-class mountain biker, skidded to a stop in the finish area.andamp;#8220;It’s awesome,andamp;#8221; Nash continued about the race. andamp;#8220;Nice course, good hometown crowd. And once you get to the finish you can get something to eat and drink and have a good time.andamp;#8221;The Great Ski Race is the main fundraiser for the nonprofit, all-volunteer Tahoe Nordic Search andamp; Rescue Team. Race proceeds are used to purchase equipment and support winter survival and avalanche-education programs sponsored and conducted by the team.