Frankowski and Treinen Win Second Annual Qaniq Challenge – $10,000 [US] Prize Purse
Elite racer Rosie Frankowski of APUNSC took the win in the women's overall at the second annual Qaniq Challenge on Jan. 16-17 in Valdez, Alaska, besting Olympian Holly Brooks by nearly a minute and a half, while her teammate Lex Treinen won for the second straight year over Tyler Kornfield. Frankowski, who made a last-minute decision to fly to Anchorage from Minneapolis to try to win the $3,000 payout as the top finisher, said the decision was worth it and not just because of the money.
“Valdez reminds me of Minnesota,” Frankowski said. “All the trees and the water remind me of the lakes at home – minus a few big mountains.” The Qaniq Challenge has the highest payout of any race in North America except for the American Birkebeiner.
Unlike last year, when unusually low snowfall forced race organizers to shorten the first day's Interval-start Classic race, this year's 2016 course included the steep and technical Skyline Loop hills on the Mineral Creek trail system, right outside of Valdez. Men's third-place finisher Paul “PK” Kovacs compared the descent to “Red Bull Crashed Ice” events because of the winding, crowded, ice-covered corners, and the women's third-place finisher Lauren Fritz called it an “emotional rollercoaster.” The descent saw men's second-place finisher Kornfield crash twice, while Frankowski, on the other hand, had no problems with the downhills. “Snowplowing is one of my strengths,” she said. Treinen won the first day by only 17 seconds, while Frankowski dominated the women's by 1:17.
The 20-kilometre race ended with approximately 10 kilometres of high-speed double-poling that hair-pinned at an isthmus overlooking the Valdez port. “It was one of the few times in a race where I looked up and looked around,” said Kovacs of the scenic view.
The second day's Mass-start freestyle races were held just outside of Valdez. Frankowski led a group of men and Brooks, her main rival in the overall standings, for much of the flat, narrow course. “My aerodynamics would have been helped by being behind somebody,” she admitted. Nonetheless, she was just narrowly beaten by Brooks on Day Two, and maintained her overall lead. Last year's runner-up, Fritz, who, like Brooks, returned from the Tour of China three days before the first Qaniq race, credited her Chinese banana chips with giving her the energy needed to hold on to third place. When asked whether the $3,000 was the largest payout for an hour and a half of work, Frankowski quipped, “It depends if you are talking about legal or illegal work.”
Treinen for his part stayed behind Kornfield for most of the race, making a few long pulls at the front because, in his words, “I didn't want it to be too boring.” The lead pack of Treinen, Kornfield, Kovacs and Dylan Watts stayed together until the last 500 metres, when Treinen overcame Kornfield for the win. “Tyler didn't really have many options,” said Treinen of his tactics on the second day. “It was very easy to draft.”
This year for the first time, awards were given to the top local men and women racers, with $500 in local gift certificates going to Ben Stolen and Sarah Histand. A total of just 35 racers started, some of whom were non-paying high-school athletes. For more information, visit www.qaniqchallenge. com. – CF
Qaniq Challenge 2016
Jan. 16-17 - Valdez, Alaska Women 1. Rosie Frankowski (APUNSC); 2. Holly Brooks (APUNSC); 3. Lauren Fritz (APUNSC); Men Lex Treinen (APUNSC); 2. Tyler Kornfield (APUNSC); 3. Paul Kovacs (AUS).
Turin 2006 Samples Retested
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Jan. 6 that it has retested almost 500 samples from the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games using updated techniques to potentially detect cheaters who slipped through the cracks 10 years ago. While there has been no news yet of any positive tests found, the IOC has the power to strip results and award medals retroactively.
Samples from Turin were already retested in 2014, leading to a positive finding (steroids) for Estonian cross-country skier Kristina Smigun-vahi, a double-gold winner in Turin (10km CL, 15km Skiathlon). Smigun-vahi is contesting the findings. She also won silver at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
Marit Bjoergen is a Mom
Legendary Norwegian cross-country-ski star Marit Bjoergen, 36, received a special present on Dec. 26, a new baby boy. “He is the loveliest little baby, and we are so proud parents,” said Bjoergen, who announced her pregnancy back in June.
“Marit and our newborn son are doing well,” said Fred Boerre Lundberg, 46, the boy's father and father to a child from a previous relationship. The boy's name is Marius Bjoergen Lundberg.
Bjoergen is the second Norwegian to recently have a child, as her teammate and sprint star Ola Vigen Hattestad had a son with Slovenian girlfriend Katja Visnar, also a top cross-country skier. More announcements are in the offing, as Finland's Aino-kaisa Saarinen and U.S. star Kikkan Randall are both pregnant as well.
Bjoergen is a six-time Olympic champion with 14 World Championships and 90+ World Cup victories to her name, making her the overall record-holder for both women and men. This past season, Bjoergen became the first athlete to capture all three World Cup crystal globes – overall, distance and sprint – twice in her career.
Omni Hotels and Resorts Announces Acquisition of the Omni Mount Washington Resort
Omni Hotels and Resorts (OHR) announced in January that it has acquired The Omni Mount Washington Resort (OMWR), home to the Omni Mount Washington Hotel and Bretton Woods, New Hampshire's largest ski area and
one of the largest Nordic touring centers in New England. The luxury hotel brand has been managing the OMWR since Sept. 2009.
As part of the sale, OHR acquired the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, the Omni Bretton Arms Inn, Bretton Woods Ski Area and Nordic Centers, the Lodge at Bretton Woods, Mount Washington and Mount Pleasant golf courses, as well as 500 acres for future expansion and development.
The OMWR is located at the base of Mount Washington; at 6,288 feet, it is the highest peak in the Northeast. Call 1-800-The-omni.
WADA'S Independent Commission Report Part II Released
On Jan. 14, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) released Part II of its Independent Commission (IC)'S Report into allegations of systemic doping. On Nov. 9, 2015, the IC'S Report Part I was released. The IC is presided over by Canadian Dick Pound; one of the two members, Professor Richard H. Mclaren, is also Canadian.
The IC'S mandate was extended by WADA in August 2015 following the release of the documentary titled “Doping – Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics,” which contained new allegations regarding
widespread doping in international athletics. German TV network ARD and The Sunday Times obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that contained more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes in the years 2001-2012.
The 89-page Part II Report was widely expected to shift the spotlight away from Russia and to look at other countries accused of systemic doping. Instead, Part II mentions Russia 138 times, Turkey 24 times, China is mentioned twice and Kenya only once.
Despite allegations that cycling, swimming, weightlifting and winter sports are also affected, cycling and skiing are not even mentioned in the IC'S Part II Report. Instead, all recommendations specifically mention the IAAF; no other international sports bodies are named in the recommendations.
Great Glen Trails to Host Largest Youth XC Ski Festival in U.S.A.
The largest youth Nordic ski festival in the U.S.A., New England's Bill Koch League Festival (BKLF), will be hosted by Great Glen Trails on March 5-6. The BKLF is the marquee event of the New England Nordic Ski Asso-
ciation's Youth Ski League, attracting pre-school through eighth-grade participants from New England, the Northeast and Canada.
The Festival is named after the U.S.A.'S only Olympic cross-countryski medalist, Bill Koch, who won silver in the 30km at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games. The Bill Koch League has since been introducing youth to cross-country skiing. Koch, now 60, will be at the Festival with his own son, Will.
The Festival rotates annually between Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Last year's Festival was held in Chittenden, Vt. Great Glen Trails last hosted the event in 2012, attracting 625 youth plus their entourage.
Saturday's on-snow events include two-person relay races using the Classic technique, games on skis, an obstacle course and more. Great Glen's daily offerings of snowtubing and the Trails Tracker character hunt are also available for youth on both weekend days. The evening wraps up with a pasta dinner.
Sue Wemyss is the festival director, and can be reached at 603-4662333 or email@example.com, with more information at www. bklfestival.com.
Continued from page 10 USSA Partners with Buff
In January, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced a partnership with Buff, Inc., a subsidiary of the parent company that is headquartered in Spain. Buff is the creator of versatile performance headwear for snow and outdoor enthusiasts. A new collection features the logos and colours of the USSA teams. This USSA Collection includes five technical Buff products, and a portion of sales from this licensed collection goes to the USSA and supports winter athletes.
The USSA Collection consists of a U.S. Ski Team Polar Buff, a U.S. Snowboarding Flake Tech Fleece Bandana and three UV Buff styles featuring a unique design for all three brands.
Buff® is the original multifunctional headwear brand, having premiered and innovated the tubular headwear category with brands such as COOLMAX®, Polygeine®, Polartec® and 100% Merino wool Buff®. These products are sold in more than 70 countries and in top U.S. sporting retailers.
Cascade Crest Nordic 50km FR Marathon and Relay
The Mount Bachelor Nordic Center has revamped the Cascade Crest Nordic events to include an inaugural 50km freestyle marathon as well as a 4x12.5km skate relay. Now known as the Cascade Crest Nordic Ski Marathon and Relay, all races take place on Saturday, March 12 at the Mount Bachelor Nordic Center near Bend, Ore. Also included at this year's event are 10km and 25km skate races for beginners and other racers.
Routed along the trails of the Mount Bachelor Nordic Center and U.S. Forest Service land in the shadow of Broken Top Mountain, the course runs on and around Dutchman Flat and Todd Lake before re-entering the Mount Bachelor Nordic Center Trail Network at Rich's Range. The course is 12.5 kilometres in distance (10 kilometres cut off for beginners) and will be skied four times for the 50km and twice for the 25km. This year's course will provide breathtaking views and a festive race venue. A demo day will follow on Sunday.
For more information, go to www. mtbachelor.com/event/cascade-crest or call 541-693-0909.