Out In Front

SkiTrax - - Contents -

World cham­pion cross-coun­try-ski racer Kikkan Ran­dall from An­chor­age, Alaska and her hus­band, Jeff El­lis, an­nounced they are ex­pect­ing their first child in April. The ta­lented star will skip the up­com­ing sea­son, but plans to come back strong for the Nordic World Cham­pi­onships in 2016-17, with a fo­cus on the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Ran­dall, 32, who won three World Cup Sprint Globe ti­tles, in­clud­ing Team Sprint gold with Jessie Dig­gins (Afton, Minn.) at the 2013 Nordic Worlds, was all smiles when she broke the news to team­mates at their fi­nal pre-sea­son con­di­tion­ing camp in Park City in Oc­to­ber.

“Af­ter Sochi, I thought a lot about my fu­ture and the goals I still want to achieve,” said Ran­dall. “I was al­ways com­mit­ted to con­tinue rac­ing, but Jeff and I also wanted to start a fam­ily. We felt this was a good time. I'm ex­cited about becoming a mother, but am also look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to race in 2017.”

Ran­dall, a 14-year vet­eran of the U.S. cross-coun­try-ski team, is one of its most-dec­o­rated stars in the his­tory of the sport and has helped pi­o­neer the cur­rent strong U.S. women's team. She plans to spend some time at se­lec­tive World Cups this sea­son as a spec­ta­tor to main­tain con­tact with the sport. Her hus­band, who serves as a mar­ket­ing sup­port man­ager on the FIS Cross-coun­try World Cup tour, will con­tinue to travel on the cir­cuit this win­ter.

“Find­ing a way to bal­ance an ath­letic ca­reer and be­ing a mother has been a goal of hers for some time, so it's re­ward­ing to see it come to­gether for her,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “As much as we will miss Kikkan's lead­er­ship on the World Cup tour, we know that she will be back in 2016-17. The team is very ex­cited for Kikkan and Jeff.”

“I plan to main­tain my same ath­letic di­rec­tion when I come back, ski­ing both sprint and dis­tance,” Ran­dall said. “I'm es­pe­cially look­ing for­ward to the freestyle sprint at World Cham­pi­onships in Lahti, where I've won be­fore, and the team events in Pyeongchang.”

“If any­one has the tenac­ity and the drive to re­turn to world-class form af­ter start­ing a fam­ily, it is Kikkan,” added Grover. “She un­der­stands the hard work and the form that are nec­es­sary to be a cham­pion, and she is al­ready show­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­turn to the sport and to win. The team is al­ready look­ing for­ward to hav­ing her back in train­ing camps next sum­mer, and we'll be look­ing to her for big re­sults in 2017 and 2018.”

Utah to Host 2017 Nordic Ju­nior Worlds

Utah's Olympic venues in Park City and Mid­way have been awarded the 2017 FIS Nordic Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships and FIS U23 World Cross-coun­try Cham­pi­onships by the In­ter­na­tional Ski Fed­er­a­tion (FIS). The U.S. Ski and Snow­board As­so­ci­a­tion (USSA) put for­ward the joint bid with Utah Olympic Park and Sol­dier Hol­low, both of which will host events through­out the Cham­pi­onships.

“Bring­ing the Nordic Ju­nior Worlds to the United States for the first time since 1986 is a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case the sport and watch our Amer­i­can ath­letes com­pete on the global stage,” said the USSA Vice-pres­i­dent of Events, Calum Clark.

The Ju­nior Worlds is tra­di­tion­ally run over a week pe­riod, with events in cross-coun­try, ski jump­ing and Nordic-com­bined. Some 400 ath­letes aged 16-20 years from 30 coun­tries are ex­pected to com­pete in 17 events. The U23 World Cross-coun­try Cham­pi­onships in­clude three ad­di­tional cross-coun­try events for both men and women aged 21-23.

The Utah Olympic Park in Park City and Sol­dier Hol­low in Mid­way hosted Nordic events for the 2002 Olympic Win­ter Games in Salt Lake City. The Ju­nior Worlds has been held only once be­fore in the U.S. at Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1986, and this will mark the first time that the U23 Cham­pi­onships will be held in the U.S.

“The op­por­tu­nity to watch our Nordic ath­letes com­pete at a World Cham­pi­onship event in­side the United States should not be missed,” said Richard Hodges, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Sol­dier Hol­low Legacy Foun­da­tion.

Min­neapo­lis Awarded 2018 Masters World Cup

Min­neapo­lis, Minn. will host the Masters World Cup (MWC) in 2018. The World Masters Cross-coun­try Ski As­so­ci­a­tion (WMA) awarded the bid at its an­nual meet­ing in Switzer­land on Sept. 25.

“Ath­letes can fly into the Min­neapo­lis air­port, take light rail down­town, en­joy great ski­ing by day and fine dining and cul­ture in the evening. I think the ath­letes and their fam­i­lies will love this ex­pe­ri­ence!” said John Down­ing, na­tional di­rec­tor of the U.S. branch of the WMA.

In Min­neapo­lis, Lop­pet Founda-

tion CEO John Munger, Race Di­rec­tor Mike Erick­son and Spe­cial-event Co­or­di­na­tor Michael Bono pitched the bid via live-video con­fer­ence to an au­di­ence of some 30 del­e­gates rep­re­sent­ing 24 ski na­tions gath­ered in Switzer­land. Del­e­gates voted unan­i­mously for Min­neapo­lis.

The 2018 MWC, con­sid­ered the un­of­fi­cial World Cham­pi­onships for skiers over thirty, is ex­pected to draw more than 1,000 cross-coun­try skiers from around the world, as well as their en­tourage.

Com­pe­ti­tions will take place in Theodore Wirth Park, five kilo­me­tres from down­town. The 300-hectare park fea­tures 29 kilo­me­tres of trails and an­other eight kilo­me­tres on the Chain of Lakes; it is one of the long­est ur­ban ski-trail net­works in North Amer­ica.

The MWC will be held over eight days in late Jan­uary and early Fe­bru­ary 2018, but dates are not yet fi­nal­ized. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.world-masters-xc-ski­ing.com.

Ros­sig­nol Hires Evan Pen­gelly as Nordic Rac­ing Man­ager

The Group Ros­sig­nol of Park City, Utah is pleased to an­nounce long­time Ros­sig­nol Nordic tech rep Evan Pen­gelly as its new Nordic rac­ing man­ager. Pen­gelly will be re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the Nordic-race de­part­ment, in­clud­ing elite pro­gram man­age­ment and tech­ni­cal sup­port for ath­letes and coaches, and sup­port­ing Ros­sig­nol's re­tail part­ners.

Pen­gelly has worked with Ros­sig­nol in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties for the past nine years. In ad­di­tion to work­ing with Ros­sig­nol, he most re­cently worked as prod­uct man­ager for Start and Swenor. Pen­gelly also has a strong ath­letic back­ground as a Ros­sig­nol ath­lete, which in­cludes win­ning some of the big­gest races in the coun­try.

“Pen­gelly brings a strong skill set to Ros­sig­nol, given his his­tory with the brand com­bined with his ex­pe­ri­ence as a prod­uct man­ager,” said Ryan Green, Ros­sig­nol Nordic di­vi­sion man­ager.

Sean Crooks In­ducted into NW On­tario Sports Hall of Fame

Sean Crooks was in­ducted into North­west­ern On­tario Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 26, along with four other hon­ourees. Crooks, of Thun­der Bay,

Con­tin­ued on page 12

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