Lack of snow headlines South Tahoe Nordic opener | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lack of snow headlines South Tahoe Nordic opener

The South Tahoe Nordic team got its season started right before Christmas but the lack of snow dominated the event, and the season so far.

The Vikings competed Dec. 22 at the Foothill Classic Race hosted by the Auburn Ski Club at Soda Springs and the format of the race was changed because of light snow coverage. And for the Vikings, they experienced their first skiing that has involved any kind of elevation gain.

"Other than the little bits of skiing that the team has been able to do on the football field so far this season, this was the first skiing most of the team has done that involved hills," said Vikings head coach Mark Hoefer. "But I was very happy with how the team performed, especially with the lack of snow training so far this season."

Instead of a mass start where all the skiers line up and start at the same time, each competitor started individually 15 seconds apart, making it more like an individual time trial.

"You are chasing down the skiers who started in front of you, and being chased by the ones starting behind," Hoefer said.

The course was a two-kilometer loop that the competitors did twice.

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And with the race close to Christmas, and the beginning of the two-week school break, the Vikings couldn't field full boys' or girls' teams.

South Tahoe junior Christopher Hoefer was the top finisher for the boys, cross country skiing his way to a 14th-place finish out of a field of 46 and was just under three minutes behind the race winner.

Vikings senior David Holmes finished in 22nd place, about 30 seconds behind Hoefer.

Nicole Morgan was the fastest South Tahoe female, finishing in 27th place. She was followed by teammates Theresa Sandborn in 29th and Melanie Maher in 32nd.

The Vikings' next race will be their home event, the Scott Hudson/Kirkwood Relay on Friday, Jan. 22. In the meantime, they'll all be working on bringing snow to the basin.

"In addition to our regular dry land training, the team will be adding in a daily snow dance to encourage Mother Nature to open the storm doors for the much-needed white stuff," said the Vikings head coach.