Friday, February 27, 2009

USCSA Nationals!

Next week, March 3-7, the UW Nordic Team will be competing in their 10th USCSA National Competition at Devil's Thumb Ranch, CO.

We're hoping this will be a historic year with a double championship. Everything has to align correctly but there is a small chance and we're all excited.

If you are in the area please consider coming down and supporting these fine athletes. There is a schedule online at:

The sprint will be Tuesday evening, on the alpine hill, under the lights. It should be an extremely exciting race. Also Saturday will be the final event of the week, the relay.

We hope to see you out there!


Cowboy Chase!

Wow! It's way beyond the time I was hoping to get this up but I guess it's better late than never...

From Cowboy Chase 2009

The Cowboy Chase weekend was one of the most successful in club history! We changed the format this year to make it a more traditional 2-day pursuit and had a 10km skate on Saturday and a 10km classic on Sunday. It was an amazing weekend of racing!

The 10km skate was a mass start and due to the fact that our amazing MBNA groomers decided it would be nice to groom the lower meadow we had the best mass start area we've ever had. Lots of space to have a fair start. We had 38 men, 21 women and 5 kids start the race. We started the women 2 minutes behind the men and the kids 2 minutes after that so the start was well manageable for everyone!

The course was a 10km loop so after the start we had awhile before anyone came back in. Rachel was out on the course with a radio and we got a couple of updates from her but it was on the edge of the radio reception so some of it was lost but we knew that Zhenya, Dan and John were skiing together and Kari, Gwynn and Britanie (Western State) were also in a pack. We expected to see the first man enter the campground between 26-28 minutes and we were not disappointed when Zhenya came flying up the hill into the campground with Dan only a few seconds back! They both flew around the campground and despite an attempt at a comeback from Dan Zhenya was able to win the race by only 10 seconds! John came in only 34 second behind Dan and Joe was only 29 seconds behing John. Talk about a tough top 4 and we were missing our star freshman, Eliah, with illness! Jacob, still struggling to come back from ACL surgery in September showed how much training he had done in the fall coming in only 50 seconds behind Joe with Freshman Matt and an ill Justin within a minute of Jacob. Grigory followed Justin within a minute and Nicholai, Willie and Adam finished in a pack, just to make things interesting on Sunday. Fitz, still sick but needing to do something, struggled in followed by Devin, back for his first race in a month, to round out a strong men's team. There were many great packs that should make Sunday interesting. On another note, UW Nordic Team Alumni Brian (Bus Mom) had a great race finishing as the 5th citizen racer! It sure was great to see him out there!

The women also wanted to make things interesting and after Kari and Gwynn changing leads for 10km Britanie showed herself to be a tad stronger at the end, just edging Gwynn by 1 second and Kari by 2! Marie had a strong race to finish in 5th follwed by Ava in 6th, Karyn in 7th, Shannon in 8th, Catherine in 9th and Gina in 10th. Talk about a leathal women's team! Our two beginners, better know as Cara & Kara, skied together for most of the race with Kara just pulling out a win. They were followed by Jenny with a solid race. There was also a UW Nordic Team alumn in the women's race. Mae came up from grad school at CSU to show the new girls how it was done. At the end of the race she was in 3rd place and on solid footing to make some gains in her favorite technique on Sunday.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and the pursuit part of the race was on. The times were extremely close and most of the field went out within the first 13 minutes! The classic race was a 2 lap race so we all got to see what was happening in the middle of the race. The course was a solid 5km's so we were expecting to see the first guy (Zhenya) at about 15 minutes. We were surprized when he and Dan came flying by the start at just over 13 minutes! John was in hot pursuit but losing groud since Dan and Zhenya were working together and Joe was also working hard but not being able to gain on John. Other men were mixing it up, some losing ground, some gaining and the second pack of Nicholai, Willie and Adam was just holding together. Gwynn had made a move for the women and was leading Kari with Britanie starting to lose a little ground. The other women were once again gaining or losing, mostly depending on whether they are skaters or classic skiers, except Morgan who didn't race yesterday and was rapidly plowing up through the field.

The final lap turned out to be extremely exciting with Zhenya just edging Dan for the overall pursuit win but Dan just edging Zhenya for the classic race win. John hung tight for 3rd, Joe had a great classic race and stayed in 4th. There was some mix up in the rest of the men with Adam showing his summer training and managing to drop Willie and Nicholai. Brian made an amazing run to take the overall men's citizen lead!

The women also made an amazing finish. Kari managed to just pull away from Gwynn to take the overall lead and Britanie finished 3rd overall. Morgan caught tons of people and took 4th for the day in the classic race. The rest of the women skied well with little mix-up.

On the whole it was an amazing weekend of racing and sets us up nicely for USCSA Nationals which start on Tuesday, March 3. We can hardly wait!

UW Nordic Benefit Dinner & Raffle

Thought I should put a quick note about the dinner that we had on Saturday night. It was amazingly successful with over 200 people in attendance!

Thanks to everyone who attended, bought raffle tickets, made donations, etc. We will have a list of thank you's on this blog after Nationals and the list on our webpage will be updated as well.

We managed to make $3,316.00 thanks to everyone's hard work and generosity. We're still receiving donations from those of you who couldn't make it so thanks to you as well.

We couldn't do it without you!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cowboy Chase!

Get ready for the Cowboy Chase!

We'll be having a 2-day pursuit, 10km on Skate Saturday and 10km Classic on Sunday. You are welcome to join us for the whole weekend or just one race, whichever sounds the best for you.

The most exciting activity of the weekend will be the UW Nordic Benefit dinner and raffle. We have some truly amazing raffle prizes, 2 x 3-day passes to Jackson Hole, 2 x season passes to Devil's Thumb Ranch, 2 x rodeo tickets for Cheyenne Frontier Days, 6 months of free bread from the Home Bakery and much, much more!

For more information about the event please go to:

We'll see you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skiers of the Week!

As you already know, from reading the account of the weekend below, we had the best performance at an NCAA race since 1993! These amazing results were lead by the following two athletes!

Zhenya joined us from Russia at the beginning of the semester and at that time we all thought he was old and out of eligibility. As the semester progressed we became aware of the fact that he's only 22 years old and in his first year of graduate school! This realization set off a flurry of activity as we petitioned the USCSA for a year of eligibility. Let's just say it was a good weekend for Zhenya, he was granted eligibility for this season and the possibility of another one next year as well as having his best finish this year!

He thought the classic race would be his best one but after the wax wore off his skis 5km into a 10km race he fought to finish in 25th, 2:53 out. He was disappointed with this finish and the time back but put it behind him and looked forward to the next day.

After a great start Zhenya flew around the course, dropping athletes that he was skiing with at the end! He finished in a team and personal best place of 17th, only 1:26 out of the lead! It was an amazing effort and we are all waiting to see what he can do at Nationals. Zhenya has provided the men's team with an excellent role model and leader!

Another new-comer lead the women this weekend as well, although eligibility was never in questions with her since she is a true freshman. Gracey started the weekend with a personal best place of 28, 18% out of the win. Up to that point this was one of the better finishes by a UW woman in the last 15 years but little did we know she saved the best for last!

Despite some stressful, last minute waxing that left the women with little time to get to the start Gracey handled the stress well and by the middle of the first lap was in a position to tie the best ever finish for a UW woman in the last 15 years but she wasn't content with that so she just kept picking off peole in front of her to finish in 19th place, only 13% out!

Not only is Gracey a rocket on the ski trails but she is a leader off the course as well. Always finding ways to help the coaches and her teammates with a smile on her face. We look forward to watching her become the best skier and person she can be during her college career.

Congratulations to these fine student athletes!


Article from UW News Service

UW Nordic Ski Club Competes against Division I Teams - February 10, 2009 (UW News Service)

Monday, February 09, 2009

DU Invite!

We just returned from our final NCAA Division I race of the season and it was amazing!

The weekend started out a little rough when the temperature dropped more than 15 degrees, necessitating re-glide waxing 17 pairs of skis on Friday morning. This was in addition to kick waxing the skis as well. Rachel worked on the kick while Ashley and I blasted through the glide as quickly as possible. The race was a 5km (women) or 1okm (men) classic inverval start race.

he women started at 9am and the temperature hadn't warmed up 2 degrees in the last 3 hours we had been at the venue and watching the thermometer. This made the kick for the women really easy and we ended up going with an extremely old Swix Special Blue that had bomber kick and was rocking fast. You can't even buy that kick anymore so hopefully we don't face this scenario often! The glide was also pretty easy, Fast Wax Tan. We love it when the temperature is in the Fast Wax Tan range because despite tons of testing we've not found anything better between 12-18F. We know most of the teams won't have Fast Wax so we know our skis will be good on those days!

Anyway, the women went out and had a great day, with Gracey busting into the top 30 in 28th and Kari (33) and Gwynn (36) solidly in the top 40. Morgan had a slightly off day but still managed 41. Marie didn't have a great day but thanks to new skis from the Snow Mountain Nordic Center we'll be looking for some better finishes next time! The women beat Whitman by 5 points and Gracey was within 7 seconds of Whitman's top girl, the closest any Cowgirl has been all year!

The men arrived to the frantic activity of re-waxing. While there were only 5 women to rewax there were 9 men and that takes some time. The coaches were unable to get out to cheer the women because the men had too many skis! We managed to get through the glide waxing, once again Fast Wax Tan, and on to the kick. The course was crazy because the snow varied from windblown, dry, cold snow in the valley to warm, wet, corn snow up on the top of the course. It was a kick waxing nightmare. Luckily for the men Rachel was up to the task. Not only was the course variable but it started warming up fast, 10 degrees between 10-11am!

The combination was crazy with the first starters on 3 layers of Rode Multigrade blue, 2 of Star Top Blue and 1 of Start Black Magic. The men did not start all at once so the men who started further back needed different wax and gradually it went from 3 layers of Rode Multigrade Blue and Rode Weiss mixed, 2 of Start Top Blue and 1 of Start Black Magic to 3 layers of Rode Multigrade Purple, 2 of Start Top Violet and 1 of Start Black Magic. It was a crazy time but we got everone waxed and started on the course for another great race.

The men were lead by Evgeniy in 25 who had a great day despite the fact that his skis were soft and the wax wore off before the hills on the second lap. He was followed by Eliah (31), Daniel (33), John (38) and Matt (40) in the top 40. Jacob had another impressive finish, after being out all fall recovering from ACL surgery, in 43 and was followed by Grigory (47), Justin (49) and Willie (50).

The men beat Whitman by 14 points and were huting bigger game being only 16 points behind University of Denver and 18 behind University of New Mexico. All the teams at this race are fully funded, varsity teams and our athletes love getting in there and being the underdog.

Saturday's waxing went a little better, with our knowledge of the local weather paterns at Devil's Thumb. Although the forcast was for warmer temperatures we went with Fast Wax Tan again for glide and it paid off. Although we arrived early, in case we had to rewax or put on fluoro's, we tested wax after wax as well as fluoro's and structure only to find that what we had on was the best we could do. Yay! No rewax for the 10 men in the race!

Saturday's races were exciting mass start skate races, the men doing 15km and the women 10km. With the men ready to go and only 5 women to glide wax we had a chance to see a little of men's race and it was so exciting! Zhenya got a great start and was with the lead pack at the start and by the end of the first 5km lap he was sitting in 21st! A great race! Eliah was having a bit of a tough race but the beauty of having such a strong men's team is that John chose this day to have his best race of the season. Dan & Joe were also skiing well followed closely by Justin, Jacob, Matt, Grigory and Willie. For the second lap we weren't able to see much of what was going on but when the men started finishing it was amazing! Zhenya had pulled up and finished in 17th! John had held on for a solid 31st, Eliah and Dan in 35 & 36, Joe in 38, Justin, Jacob and Matt 39, 40 and 41. Grigory and Willie rounded out the Cowboy attack in 44 and 45. Zhenya's 17th was the best UW men's finish since the NCAA team was cut in 1993 and he was only 1:25 back from the leader (3%)! He lead the men's team to the best team day since 1993 as well!

The amazing and exciting day only got better when the women took to the course. We had been testing glide consistently since 6:30am and Fast Wax Tan with HWK HFW 2 mixed on the back 1/2 of the ski and no fluoros was rocking but 25 minutes before the women's start the fluoros started running and panic was on! We got all the skis waxed with just 4 minutes to go but it was well worth the effort as the women matched the men's effort! Gracey's skis were so fast that she was passing other racers in a tuck as they were skating! Since there were no more skis to wax for the day the coaches were able to get out on the course and it was wonderful!

The first lap Gracey cruised by us smiling and looking strong in 22nd place, the best place by a woman to date! She was followed by Kari in 28th and Gwynn 28 who had Marie hot on her heals! All four women who started were in the top 32! We'd never had that before! The second lap went even better with Gracey moving up to take the first ever top 20 place since 1993 with 19th. Kari also moved up 26, Marie into 28th and Gwynn 29! Four women in the top 30 and 1 in the top 30!

It was an amazing race and an amazing weekend! Everyone is now pumped for the Cowboy Chase, February 21 & 22, and USCSA Nationals, March 3-7. USCSA Nationals will be on those same trails and the athletes have a huge advantage having raced them this weekend.

We hope this is the first of many such races!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Article from UW News Service

Here's a great article and picture, courtesy of Barbara Cartwright, put out by the UW News Service.

UW Nordic Ski Teams Win Twice - February 3, 2009 (UW News Service)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Can you smell what UW is cookin'?!

As Christi stated in the previous post, the last weekend consisted of USCSA qualifiers in Leadville and Frisco,Co. I can only think of a few terms to describe the weekend; stellar, complete domination, and as my high school coach used to say, " Take them out back to the wood shed". This weekend not only showed how strong and competitive we are in the Rocky Mountain conference but in the greater Wyoming/Colorado skiing community. The winners of the collegiate races happened to also be the winners of the races overall.The team also took a major portion of the top 10 spots...Utter domination! Not only did our athletes dominate but man did our coaches lay down the hammer! Christi and Rachel both rocketed to the top of their respective race, and delivered great race skis for the whole team, including my 2 pairs as Christi had mentioned ( I feel bad about it, but you guys made me feel like a world cup racer having pairs of skis race waxed to test out. Thanks so much!). We also had athletes who love putting their bodies into the garbage can so much that they opted for the 20km instead of the 10 km. Oh and guess what, they continued the weekend domination! Ava and Zhenya showed me what domination really was, pushing through a long race with still the determination to sprint to the line. Major props to you guys!
I am honored to be all of yours' team mate,

Monday, February 02, 2009

Frisco Gold Rush!

So I'm finally home and taking a couple minutes to do a write-up about Sunday's Frisco Gold Rush.

This was a USCSA Qualifier and Western State College and Air Force Academy joined us for the 10km classic. This was a little interesting since we had 20 athletes racing, it was a mass start and it was at 9am! Just in case you don't know that's 42 individual skis (Adam was trying two different pairs) that have to get kick wax for a race where everyone starts at the same time! It was exciting but thanks to stellar help from Liz and Becca we were able to get it done and still get Rachel a warmup for her 5km classic, which started at the same time.

The course was a little confusing. Everyone said it was a two loop course but what they neglected to say was that it was two separate loops. To me that's not a two loop course, just a one loop course that doubles back through the stadium! Anyway, after the first 5km it was a great race with Dan, Joe (AFA) and Eliah working together at the front of the race. They were followed by John and Fitz! Yes Fitz! He actually had a classic race, it was amazing! Kari was leading the women with Gracey and Morgan right on her heals until I told Kari that the first women in the race was right in front of her. Kari took off and beat the woman by about 30 seconds!

The second loop was way hilly and that began to take it's toll on some of the athletes. Dan hit about 3 brick walls but still managed to hold on for 3rd behing Eliah (1st) and Joe (2nd). John just got faster throughout the race and finished right on Dan's heals. Jacob and Matt also made an impressive run to just catch Fitz (still his best classic race ever!) Fitz was followed by Justin, Nicholai and Adam. It was an impressive finish for the men!

The women also did great with Kari taking the first woman and winning the race. She was followed by Gracey and then a little way back Morgan. Marie finished next with a solid performance and was followed by Shannon, Karyn, Cara and Jenny. For a fun and exciting classic race.

The day wasn't over yet though, Zhenya and Ava decided they wanted to try their hand at one of the most brutal 20k's in Colorado. Zhenya started the race in the lead and worked with two other racers for most of the race. Switching leads and waiting to finish hard. Finish hard he did! Zhenya managed to drop both the other men in the last 200m to win the day! Ava also skied extremely well, despite the length and the hills Ava held on and placed 9th in the women, very respectable for someone who wasn't supposed to ever ski again! Also in the race were Josh and Christine who are UW Nordic Team alumn. We were so proud to see them out there!

The day was capped off when Zhenya got a phone call from Russia. His brother had won the Junior World Championship Sprint in France! Wow! Talk about an exciting end to a great weekend!

The results will be up soon at

We're so proud of our athletes and are looking forward to the final NCAA race at Devil's Thumb ranch this weekend.

Found items

Not many found items this time: camera in blue water proof case, blue knitted hat, toothpaste, hair dryer. We will bring them to the Cowboy Chase at the latest or sooner if we see you at another race. eb

Thanks for a Great Weekend!!

To the UW Ski Team!!! What an awesome group of young women and men! Thank you so much for all your help in making the past weekend so much fun!! What a group of considerate, conscientious, hard working, fun, talented, I could go on ..... people. Thanks for humoring Dick and playing all his stupid games (personally I love them). It just comes with the territory. It is a pleasure to count each and every one of you as our friend! A special thanks for all the kitchen help. I couldn't have done it without you. Remember that you are always welcome in our home.
P.S. Remember to always be kind to your coaches.
Dick and Ev