Sugar Bowl Nordic skiers battle North America’s best to open season

Submitted to the Sun

The Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy Nordic squad just returned to California after a month-long attack on the national Nordic scene.

Five academy athletes and one U23 ski team athlete traveled to West Yellowstone, Montana, and Silver Star, British Columbia, Canada, to test their mettle against the toughest competition available in North America.

After five starts across three weekend, the team earned podium finishes, personal bests, US SuperTour rankings and the attention of the national team coaches.

Top performances on the trip included Lexie Madigan (Sugar Bowl Academy junior, Truckee) finishing as the first junior in the US SuperTour 1.2km freestyle sprint at West Yellowstone, MT on December 1. Madigan showed poise well beyond her 16 years competing in the open rounds against several US Development Team and collegiate athletes. She finished the day in the semifinals ranked 12th in the open field.

Sugar Bowl Ski Team U23 member Lance McKenney (Fort Fairfield, Maine) qualified as the 17th fastest athlete in the senior men’s field and finished the day in the heats in 16th place. Sugar Bowl junior Nate Cutler earned 7th place among junior competitors on the day, just missing the open rounds.

On Dec. 2, the US SuperTour contested a distance freestyle race, and Sugar Bowl Academy senior Sofia Sanchez came out of the gate with her skis on fire. At the end of the 10km competition, Sanchez stood on the podium as the second place junior athlete, and 20th against the open field. Meanwhile, in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Sugar Bowl junior Sam Swan earned a third place amongst youth women in the opening NorAm for biathlon, while competing with the Auburn Ski Club biathlon team.

The team next traveled to Silver Star, British Columbia, where McKenney and Cutler again put in strong performances against both the US Development squad, the Canadian National Team, all of the top pro clubs in the US and several strong collegiate programs. McKenney qualified in 16th in the open field, with Cutler earning fifth place FIS junior in qualification.

On Dec. 9, the field contested a distance classic race, and again, Sofia Sanchez stood on the podium at the end of the day as the third place junior in North America.

The Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy Nordic Team will next compete at the Far West Junior Nordic openers at Auburn Ski Club on Dec. 22-23, before traveling to US Biathlon trials and US Cross-Country Skiing Nationals.

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