Canmore Para-nordic World Cup Sea­son Kick-off

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Jenn Jack­son

Para-nordic World Cup sea­son got un­der­way at the Canmore Nordic Cen­tre in the heart of the Cana­dian Rock­ies with cross-coun­try and biathlon com­pe­ti­tions run­ning De­cem­ber 9-17. Rac­ing on home snow, Cana­dian teams and their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts put on in­spired per­for­mances with sev­eral ath­letes notch­ing podi­ums and show­ing strong form and con­fi­dence head­ing into this Par­a­lympic sea­son.

Dec. 9 – Clas­sic Sprint

In a sprint fi­nal show­down be­tween Cana­dian and Rus­sian ath­letes, Emily Young landed her first podium of the sea­son claim­ing a bronze medal in the women’s Stand­ing Clas­sic Sprint, just ahead of her Cana­dian team­mates Natalie Wilkie in fourth and Brit­tany Hu­dak in fifth. First and sec­ond place went to Rus­sia’s Eka­te­rina Rumyant­seva and Anna Milen­ina.

In Sit-ski cat­e­gories, the U.S.A.’S An­drew Soule took a third-place fin­ish be­hind Rus­sians Ivan Gol­ubkov and Alek­sei By­chenok, while Amer­i­can Ok­sana Mas­ters ended the day in sixth af­ter be­ing rel­e­gated in the fi­nal, which gave the vic­tory to Ger­many’s An­drea Eskau.

Other top Amer­i­cans on the day were Ja­cob Adi­coff and guide Sawyer Kes­sel­heim, who fin­ished fourth, nar­rowly miss­ing the podium in men’s Vis­ually Im­paired. The U.S.A.’S Daniel Cnossen fin­ished sixth in the men’s Sit-ski com­pe­ti­tion.

Dec. 10 – Skate Mid­dle Dis­tance

The sec­ond day of com­pe­ti­tion saw the U.S.A. take home two fifth­place fin­ishes in the Vis­ually Im­paired cat­e­gory by Mia Zut­ter and guide Kristina Trygstad-saari in the women’s event and by Adi­coff and Kes­sel­heim in the men’s race.

Cana­di­ans Young, Wilkie and Hu­dak re­peated their strong open­ing-day per­for­mances, sweep­ing third through fifth in the women’s Stand­ing 7.5km Freestyle be­hind Rumyant­seva and Milen­ina. “I went out a lit­tle hot in the first lap, but the whole plan was to ‘just go’ from the gun,” said Young. “I knew I had put my­self in the top three af­ter the first lap so I just kept fight­ing.”

On the men’s side, Mark Arendz opened his World Cup sea­son with a fourth-place re­sult in the men’s Stand­ing 10km.

In the women’s Sit-ski, Eskau edged Mas­ters for the win, best­ing the Amer­i­can by five sec­onds over 5km. In the men’s 7.5km Sit-ski, the U.S.A.’S Cnossen im­proved by one place from the sprint, fin­ish­ing fifth and only 20 sec­onds shy of the podium.

Dec. 12 – Clas­sic Long Dis­tance

Canada’s Young and the U.S.A.’S Mas­ters earned a pair of sil­ver medals in the Mass Start events round­ing out a strong week­end of cross-coun­try com­pe­ti­tions for the North Amer­i­can women, as Rus­sian and Ger­man ri­vals held the top step once again. Cnossen was the top Amer­i­can in the men’s 15km Sit-ski race, bat­tling right to the line as he tied Martin Fleig of Ger­many for fourth.

Dec. 14 – Biathlon In­di­vid­ual

Af­ter sit­ting out the cross-coun­try Mass Start, Canada’s Hu­dak shot clean at her first biathlon World Cup of the sea­son, earn­ing bronze be­hind Rus­sia’s Rumyant­seva and Milen­ina. Mark­ing good ski­ing form and con­sis­tent shoot­ing, Mas­ters took a de­ci­sive vic­tory for the U.S.A. in the women’s In­di­vid­ual Sit-ski.

Canada’s Arendz scored a sil­ver medal be­hind Benjamin Daviet of France in the men’s Stand­ing as both shot clean. “I was feel­ing good enough in the range, but I can push a lit­tle more,” said Arendz. “It was a good race, but there’s room for sharp­en­ing be­ing the first ParaBiathlon race of the year.”

Dec. 16 – Biathlon Sprint

Mas­ters bat­tled through the women’s Sit-ski Sprint, oust­ing Marta Zain­ul­lina by 7.1 sec­onds for the win af­ter miss­ing sin­gle shots in both shoot­ing ses­sions. Cana­di­ans Young and Hu­dak fin­ished just out­side the podium fin­ish­ing fourth and fifth re­spec­tively in the women’s 6km Stand­ing event.

The men’s Stand­ing Sprint proved to be one of the tight­est podium races of the Canmore World Cup as sec­ond through fifth were only sep­a­rated by 11.6 sec­onds. Even with his sharp shoot­ing, Arendz fin­ished fourth, just off the podium, while Daviet con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance, lead­ing the com­pe­ti­tion by over a minute.

Other strong per­for­mances in the sprint came from Canada’s Colin Cameron, who fin­ished eighth just be­hind Amer­i­can Cnossen in a very large, com­pet­i­tive men’s Sit-ski Sprint race.

Dec. 17th – Biathlon Pur­suit

Young capped off a week of power per­for­mances, earn­ing her third bronze medal and fourth podium in the women’s 10km Stand­ing Pur­suit. Canada was well rep­re­sented on the day with Hu­dak fin­ish­ing just be­hind her team­mate in fourth and Arendz plac­ing fifth in the 12.5km men’s Stand­ing. Rumyant­seva and Daviet both took their third World Cup biathlon wins of the sea­son.

Mas­ters con­tin­ued to show her strength with de­ci­sively fastest ski­ing in the women’s 10km Sit-ski, com­plet­ing her sweep of the biathlon events in Canmore. Af­ter a con­sis­tent week of top-10s in both cross-coun­try and biathlon, the U.S.A.’S Cnossen made his mark with clean shoot­ing and solid ski­ing to take home sil­ver in the men’s 10km Sit-ski race.

The U.S.A.'S Ok­sana Mas­ters com­plet­ing her sweep of the biathlon events at Canmore.

Canada's Emily Young capped off a week of power per­for­mances, earn­ing her third bronze medal.

Canada's Mark Arendz shot clean for biathlon sil­ver in the men's Stand­ing.

Team Canada cel­e­brates as suc­cess­ful hosts of the open­ing round of the Para-nordic World Cup sea­son in Canmore, Alta.

U.S.A.'S Dan Cnossen shot clean for sil­ver in the men's biathlon 10km Sit-ski race.

Canada's Brit­tany Hu­dak de­buted with clean shoot­ing for biathlon bronze.

Amer­i­can An­drew Soule won men's Sit-ski bronze on the open­ing day.

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