LOCAL NORDIC SKIERS EYEING JUNIOR OLYMPICS
ANTHONY LAKES Three Blue Mountain Nordic Club skiers are in the running for Junior Olympics after overcoming difficult conditions at the Anthony Lakes Junior Olympic Qualifier Saturday and Sunday.
Brother and sister Dane and Kirsten Johnson along with Travis Dixon dealt with tough skiing conditions.
"Like all the skiers who raced, BMNC skiers had to overcome very difficult conditions," said David Axelrod, one of the event organizers.
"The excessive fresh snow, upwards of 3 feet, resulted in soft, choppy, and therefore very slow conditions. It takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline and psychological toughness, not to mention a high level of physical fitness, to persist under such conditions. Everyone longs for hard, cold snow, which provides a very fast course for racing, but Saturday and Sunday were a far cry from such conditions. As the old saying goes, that's ski racing."
Dane made his first podium of the year winning the Older Junior Men's 5-kilometer freestyle in 18 minutes, 20 seconds Sunday. Dixon finished 8 percent back of the top three finishers in the OJM freestyle (20:16).
Kirsten placed in the top three in the J2 women classic-style race Saturday (0.014838) and third in the freestyle Sunday (22:36). Dane was fourth in the OJM classic-style race (0.026262), while Dixon took ninth (0.028808).
Any junior USSA skier (ages 13-20) who finishes within 9 percent of the average time of the top three skiers in an age group in 5-of-6 races is in the hunt to make Junior Nationals. Exceptional results from other races may be used to petition.
Axelrod said Kristen is looking forward to becoming a part of the nationally competitive J2 women's relay team at Junior Nationals and her J2 cohorts are consistently the fastest female skiers in the Pacific Northwest.
He said Dixon finished strong in his second impressive race of the year Sunday.
The three skiers will ski in Leavenworth, Wash., in two weeks, and in Boise, Idaho, the week after that.
The team will be named in late February. Members of the PNSA team will travel together in early March to Lake Placid, N.Y., for a week of competition with 400 racers from around the United States and Europe.
BMNC's Sergio Morris was third in the J3/5 Boys' freestyle (25:11) Sunday. Malee Morris did not finish the J2 Girls' Females freestyle.
Axelrod said there were upwards of 70 starts per day and a sizeable number of coaches and spectators, even though the weather kept some people away.