The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic Team has much to celebrate as a result of performances over the past several weeks. After a successful event at Steamboat Springs, a large contingent of SSCV cross-country skiers traveled to Utah to compete in the Soldier Hollow Super Qualifier on January 29 and 30. Hosting over 710 competitors, the Soldier Hollow Super Qualifier is the second largest junior race in the country, and widely considered to host the most competitive field of junior Nordic athletes in the United States outside of the US Cross Country Championships and the Junior National Championships.

The Soldier Hollow event hosted athletes from throughout the Western Region ranging from 8 to 20 years of age. Cross-country skiers representing the Rocky Mountain, Inter-Mountain, Pacific Northwest, and Far West divisions competed against one another in a classic sprint on Friday and a freestyle mass start on Saturday.

The Soldier Hollow cross-country ski venue is located in the Wasatch Mountains fifty miles southeast of Salt Lake City and hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Feeding on the venue’s history and grandeur, SSCV Nordic athletes were dominant at the event. Despite challenging weather conditions – rain followed by heavy snow – and the extremely competitive field of athletes, SSCV skiers accumulated a total of twelve podium finishes.

Maddie Donovan won the 18 to 20 year-old girls 10K mass start race with an impressive and gutsy performance. Despite suffering appendicitis over Thanksgiving and missing several weeks of practice, Maddie achieved an outstanding result.

Maddie shared, “After the whole appendicitis episode at Thanksgiving I was relieved and excited to see that I hadn’t lost my summer training and I was back on track to have a great season. There is always a high level of competition at Soldier Hollow and I was very happy to have a good day.”

Gracie Shanley and Bridget Donovan were dominant throughout the day on the classic sprint. After very successful qualifiers, they dominated their quarter and semi-final races with smart tactics and excellent skiing. They finished 1st (Shanley) and 2nd (B. Donovan) in the final for the 14 and 15 year-old girls.

Other notable performances by SSCV athletes at Soldier Hollow included:


  •  Molly Blakslee (3rd) – 12 and 13-year-old girls in the 3K mass start
  •  Molly Blakslee (3rd) – 12 and 13-year-old girls in the classic sprint
  •  Elsa Perkins (2nd) – 10 and 11 year-old girls in the classic sprint
  •  Elsa Perkins (2nd) – 10 and 11 year-old girls in the 2K mass start
  • Cora Wilson (3rd) – 8 and 9 year-old girls in the classic sprint
  • Cora Wilson (1st) – 8 and 9 year-old girls in the 1.3K mass start


  •  Nolan Herzog (3rd) – 16 and 17 year-old boys in the 15K mass start
  •  Conner Wilson (2nd) and Connor Larson (3rd) – 10 and 11 year-old boys in the 2K mass start

Head Nordic Coach Eric Pepper discussed the importance of the race’s location and the success of his athletes: “Overall a great performance in Soldier Hollow. The venue is one of the absolute best in the country and getting to race mid-season against the top programs throughout the west is always a special experience.”

For a complete list of results, go to: