The U.S. Nordic Championships in Utah took place this past week, and it was an impressive scene. Elite Nordic athletes from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail packed up their skis, their high performance wax, and headed west to compete in the event. Soldier Hollow has hosted the Nordic U.S. Championships numerous times in the past and it’s becoming an iconic location to hold the event.
As the major competition neared, organizers were concerned with the lacking snow pack for the second year in a row. Luckily, Mother Nature blessed the area, just outside of Midway Utah, with much needed moisture the week before the event.
Over 400 skiers registered for the 5-day event and there were some local favorites who did rather well. Ski clubs from Alaska, Vermont, California, and everywhere in between came out to compete. Like many other skiers, local Vail skier Sylvan Ellefson went into the event with the mindset of earing some points to qualify for the World Championships. Ellefson raced in everything he could during the competition. He competed in the classic sprint, the 15 km individual start skate, the 30 km mass start classic, and the skate sprint. “Conditions were a mix of man-made, sugar, new, and dirty. It was probably the most diverse courses, in terms of snow conditions,” says Ellefson.
Other local SSCV athletes there were Callan Deline, Max Scrimgeour, Christian Shanley, Anthony Ryerson, Cully Brown, Parker McDonald, Pablo Cichero, Ian Boucher, Caleb Krueger, Ryan Scott, Tad Elliott, and Hannah Hardenbergh.
During the sprint competition on January 2nd, Ryan Scott made it to the finals and placed 5th. During the last World Cup in Canmore, Scott’s performance wasn’t where he wanted it to be, but he came to the U.S. Championships with a refreshed mentality and put down some great results.
Tad Elliott, three-time U.S. 15 km champion, had a great race in the 15 km on Friday but couldn’t quite hold on to his title and ended in second behind Erik Bjornsen. On Sunday, Elliott and Sylvan raced well during the 30 km Classic Mass Start. Out of a field of over 100 guys, Elliott placed 7th and Ellefson placed 8th. “I had to reset my goals from the beginning of the week when things weren’t starting the way I had wanted. Originally, I wanted to win a national race while I was out here but that changed to simply making a Top-10. I got that today so I am happy about it and see that my form is coming along finally. I’m excited for the rest of the season,” says Ellefson. “Technically I am eligible for World Champs still but we will have to see
where the guys points, who skied well this week, will be in comparison to mine on January 14th when the new points list comes out and the World Champs team is named,” says Ellefson.
The Men’s 10 km on Sunday proved to be successful for numerous local athletes. “Cal Deline and Cully Brown raced well which qualified them for some European competitions later this season,” says SSCV Head Nordic Coach Dan Weiland. There were over 120 racers in the 10 km and Max Scrimgeour placed 6th followed by Cully Brown in 10th, Christian Shanley in 14th, and Callan Deline in 23rd.
For more information and results go to fasterskier.com.