Locals score in Snowshoe Classic
Carnelian Bay resident Scott Hill dominated the 55th Annual Snowshoe Thompson Classic on Sunday Jan. 7. Hill took first place with a time of 27:38, making him the first junior winner in the race’s long history. Scott was followed closely by his uncle, Tim Hill of Truckee, who placed second.
The classic is the oldest ski race in California dating back to its inauguration in 1946. Held by Auburn Ski Club, the event has race divisions starting from four and five years of age all the way up to age 75 and over. Race distances varied from 500 meters for the youngest skiers to a 10K course for the older participants.
Boasting over 170 competitors between the various age groups, the classic is an annual tribute to the popularity of cross country skiing in the area.
Former University of Nevada, Reno skier and current North Tahoe Nordic coach, Lar Spurkland, posted a surprising third place finish, followed by Far West skier Tony Bozzio in fourth place. Making the day a regular family affair, Scott Hill’s father, Stan Hill, placed fifth, with Nick Sterling and Dana Mossman coming in sixth and seventh respectively.
In the women’s race, Debbie Hakansson clenched first overall with a 33:18 finish. Following closely behind was Karen Rodebold in second, and Laura Stern in third with a time of 34:39.
The J1 girls 5K event was led by two younger J2 skiers, Kara LaPoint in first place and Betsy VanBlarigan, who finished second for the day. While J1 boys competed in the 10K with the seniors and masters, the J2 boys raced independently in a 5K event.
Phillip Violet of Brownsville led the pack with a 14:38 performance, shadowed closely by Andrew VanBlarigan with 14:52 and Joaquin Goodpaster in third place with 15:41.
This race was the first of four opportunities to qualify for the Junior Olympic team and many young local skiers skied in to make the cut.
In the J1 boys division, Scott Hill, Tony Bozzio, Nick Sterling and Dana Mossman performed well enough to qualify. Phillip Violet, Andrew VanBlarigan and Joaquin Goodpaster also qualified in the J2 category.
For the girls, Betsy VanBlarigan, Margeaux Joffe, Shannon Lankenau and Laura Spohr completed the course in times fast enough to qualify for the J1 division. In J2 age range, Kara LaPoint, Natalie Joffe and Lindsay Collin raced in under the time limit.
To qualify for the Junior Olympic team, skiers must qualify in three out of the four races. The next qualifier will be the Sierra Skogsloppet skate at Tahoe Donner and will be held on Jan 15.
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Several Truckee-Tahoe skiers will vie for Olympic medals next month.