VAIL — The U.S. Cross-Country Junior National Championships is always the big event on the calendar for Nordic athletes each year, but this year a spot in the event is especially coveted since it’s being held in Alaska.

“It’s a unique place to get to go,” said Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Eric Pepper. “You’re right in front of the ocean at the race venue, it’s a pretty cool spot.”

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has qualified nearly a dozen athletes so far, and Pepper said more athletes may be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Athletes are qualified through their performances at qualifying events which took place over the last eight weeks. …