A blanket of nice, new sugary snow covered the racecourse for the South Tahoe High School and Middle School Nordic ski teams as they returned to action on Friday, Jan. 11.
It was the first race since winter break, and the kids charged at the Sugar Bowl Academy ski course on top of Old Donner Summit. The teams competed in freestyle (skate) races, with the high school teams covering a 5K (3.1 mile) single loop and the middle school teams gliding over a 3K (1.8 miles), on a portion of the same course.
The lady Vikings were the first group on the course, with overcast skies and temperatures in the upper teens. After a quick start, racers negotiated a hard right turn to a quick drop. For the first half of the course the track drops in elevation toward Lake Van Nordan. This made for a tough course, since a downhill start means an uphill finish that was capped with a steep 200-yard push to the finish.
The fastest girl for the day was Kathrin Larusson from Sugar Bowl Academy, who covered the course in 15:45, just ahead of Hannah Halvorsen of Truckee (15:52).
For the lady Vikings, freshman Ally Swain led with an 18th-place finish overall (21:03), second in the open division. Cara Filce (21:11), Kylee Lyons (21:41), Riley Retig (22:31), Janelle Spandau (22:35), Kerry Norton (23:19), Emily Barnett (24:49), Hayley Chamarro (25:37), Kate Alvrecht (29:53) and Kristin Calderon (35:35) completed the girls' times. There were a total of 48 racers in the field.
The high school boys raced next on the same 5K course. Peter Holmes from North Tahoe High led the field, finishing in 14:16, just 10 seconds ahead of his teammate, Shane Christian.
Kyle Swain led the Vikings with a 15:13 finish, which was good enough for 11th in the varsity division. Tyler Myers (16:22), Harley Norton (16:53), Orion Maxwell (17:16), Paul Hoefer (18:38), and Chase Stalter (19:49) rounded out the Vikings' varsity team.
In the open division, Ethan Rohlf of Truckee High was first with at time of 17:00. South Tahoe's open skiers were led by Chas Carlson in eighth place (20:33), followed by Goody Walowit (21:30), and Kellen Gonwold (22:34). A total of 51 racers were in the field.
There was a light snow falling when the middle school girls took the race course next. Mia Winans led a strong team from Alder Creek (Truckee), with a 10:20 finish.
Allee Zaccor led the South Tahoe Timberwolves (24th, 12:48). Jessie Brown (13:15), Claudia Janese (15:58), Leah Marino (16:01), Sophie Garett (17:19), Layne Henbree (19:00), Riana Bindel (19:41), Kaitlyn Janese (20:15), Clarice Ferguson (20:41), Sio Cook (22:58) and Anna Moffat (23:13) also turned in top Timberwolves' times.
In the final race of the day, the boys middle school teams were led by a strong North Tahoe team. But it was Ryland Belisle of Alder Creek (Truckee) who put up the winning time of 8:38.
The Timberwolves were led by Kyle Ferguson, who with a time of 11:44 finished in 24th place, just ahead of teammate Freeman George (11:47). Max Muller (13:23), Zachary Calderon (13:51), Matthew Barnett (13:55), Christopher Hoefer (13:56), Jaxon Kennedy (14:00), Jakob DeGregory (15:11), Temugen Enkhbayar (16:43), Nate Moffat (17:09),Jeremiah Dahl (17:39), Forrest McCann (17:46), Noah Shambaugh (18:56), Calvin Holmes (19:53), and Jon Paul Embry (21:02) completed the Timberwolves' times.
Auburn Ski Club was up next.
By the time their next Nordic race rolled around, all that fluffy new snow had turned to old granular snow. This meant tough waxing conditions, especially for a classic (diagonally stride) ski race where kick wax is required to obtain grip for striding uphill. A race can easily come down to the right wax, thus putting added pressure on the waxing techs (a.k.a. coaches).
Both South Shore teams traveled to the Auburn Ski Club venue, next to the Boreal Mountain Resort, to compete in the first classic ski event of the season. Weather conditions were prime, with cool temperatures and sunny blue sky. After dialing in the wax conditions and warming up, the high school girls' race got things started.
The race course was technical and hilly, with a few tricky turns. Both the girls and boys' races were composed of two 2.2-kilometers loops for a total length of 4.4 kilometers (2.6 miles).
After 15:44 miuntes of racing, Katrin Larusson from the Sugar Bowl Academy was the winner, less than a minute ahead of Hannah Halvorsen of Truckee.
Since it was the last day for term finals at South Tahoe, the lady Vikings came with a small contingent of racers. In the varsity race, Janelle Spandau finished in 23:32, followed by Cara Filce and Christy Walowit. In the open division race, Kerry Norton was first in at 23:45, followed by Kylee Lyons, Ally Swain, Kate Albrecht and Kristin Calderon.
Once again there was a very strong field in the boys race. Patrick McElravey of North Tahoe won the race in a sizzling time of 14 minutes flat, one second ahead of his teammate, Peter Holmes.
For the Vikings, Tyler Myer finished a respectable 17th overall with a time of 17:22, with Paul Hoefer, Orion Maxwell and Chase Stalter finishing things off for South Tahoe. The team did not have any racers in the open division.
The middle school teams competed on a portion of the same course, cut down to a single 2.5-kilometer loop.
Racing got underway with the boys going first. Ryland Belisie of Alder Creek was first to cross the finish line in 9:24, followed by Mammoth Independent's Cameron Small in 9:51.
For the South Tahoe Timberwolves, Christopher Hoefer was first to cross the line in 34th place with a time of 14:36. Matthew Barnett (15:55), Max Muller (16:33), Calvin Holmes (17:26), Noah Shambaugh (17:31), Temugen Enkhbayar (17:52), Jeremiah Dahl (18:15), and Jon Paul Embry (20:14) followed.
Quinn Lehmkuhl of North Tahoe turned in the middle school girls' winning time of 11:31, followed by Claire Lang-Ree of Alder Creek (11:36).
Jessie Brown led the Timberwolves girls with a time of 15:47 for 36th place. The rest of the team comprised of Allee Zaccor (15:48), Claudia Janese (16:17), Sophie Garett (18:32), Kamren Gronwold (19:14), Kaitlyn Janese (19:25), Meg Carslon (19:40), Sarah Carlson (20:09), Riana Bindel (21:59), and Anna Moffat (25:00).
The teams raced Friday in a freestyle event at the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center, north of Truckee.