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A Canadian Thanksgiving

LARA MULLIN

Sierra Sun

Silver Star, British Columbia – The Far West Junior Ski Team kicked off its 2000-2001 season at the annual Thanksgiving camp, yet they were the only ones eating turkey. Traditionally held in the United States, the camp has served as the inaugural week for Nordic competition. This Thanksgiving however, Head Coach Glenn Jobe and his small group of skiers found themselves in Silver Star, British Columbia, and were the only ones feasting on mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Despite being removed from the comforts of the U.S. holiday, Jobe and his team had a memorable stay with the northern neighbors.

“It was a good addition to our program, and we can’t wait to return next year. The week was filled with great skiing, amazing venues and accommodations and the opportunity to see some of the best skiers around,” said Jobe.

The camp consisted of one week of instruction and three weekend races as part of the Nor Am / Continental Cup, held Nov. 23, 24 and 26. Thanksgiving Day began with the junior boys’ 5 km Classic race in which Tony Bozzio finished third, Dana Mosman finished fourth, Scott Hill followed in fifth place and Nick Sterling rounded out the pack in sixth. The Nor Am / Continental Cup is regarded as the premier cross country race series in North America.

Bozzio blew through the course in 18 minutes and 31 seconds, as Sterling finished only 12 seconds later. Jobe was extremely impressed with the boys’ performance, as his team raced through the course in a tight pack. Marcus Nash who skis for the Auburn Ski Club and Tahoe Donner, was second overall in the senior division 10 km Classic.

Friday’s races began with a 1 km loop for time in which the top eight boys and girls’ scores in the junior division were recorded with the top 16 men’s and women’s times in the senior division. These recorded times were then matched that evening in what is called a “knock-out time,” with dual starts of the fastest and slowest racers.

While no Far West skiers made the finals, Jobe said his team had the invaluable experience of viewing some of the best skiers in the sport compete against each other. Fifteen-year old Phillip Violett, the youngest Far West participant, was limited to racing in the sprint due to age ineligibility and performed very strongly amongst older, more experienced racers.

Nov. 26 marked the close of the weekend with the Freestyle 15 km/10 km race. In the senior race, Nash, who is currently the best Nordic skier in the country and one of two men on the U.S. Cross Country team roster for 2000-2001, finished third overall. Tav Streit, another former Far West skier who continues to workwith the junior team, finished 20th overall.

Ian Case, in his last year as a junior, placed 60 out of 123 racers in the men’s open classic. The juniors raced the 10 km course and again remained together throughout the race. Bozzio grabbed a second-place finish, Hill and Mosman finished sixth and seventh respectively, and Sterling squeezed into the top-10 finishing ninth.

“This last race was particularly unique,” Jobe explained, because his team was the only American squad competing in an all-Canadian event.

Gaining immense experience and momentum for the regular season, the Far West team is currently training for the U.S. National Championships in Idaho, Jan. 1-6. The skiers who traveled to Canada will be joined by many local skiers who have been pursuing other athletic endeavors in high school and club sports during the fall.

Jobe believes his team will be competitive this year, building on last year’s success. Jobe took 24 skiers to the Junior Olympics in Jackson, N.H. last year and returned with eight medals (top-10 finishes) and 17 top-20 places. Jobe is confident because this is the first year they have offered year-round training for the athletes to prepare for the winter season.

Training will continue at the Auburn Ski Club on Donner Summit for Far West Nordic racers.

This winter’s Far West Nordic race schedule began Dec. 3 with the Kirkwood 10 km. With only 32 skiers participating in the event, the race was not one after which to model the course of the season.

“The Kirkwood Race is always a difficult race to gauge how things are going thus far,” said Far West Nordic Administrator, Mark Nadell.

With a time of 26:35, Jeff Schloss took first place for the day in the men’s division, while Laura Stern won the women’s with a final of 28:17. The University of Nevada, Reno also conducted informal time trials on Saturday and Sunday at the Auburn Ski Club, where Case pulled out a surprising win in the freestyle. In the Classic race, Nash and Streit skied in for first- and second-place finishes, respectively.


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