Seven days ago at this time, we didn't have hardly any snow on the ground and we were in the middle of three days of steady rain. We'd scrapped our original plan to race our first two (of four) races on the new Girdwood racing trail because there was no snow at all in Girdwood. Not even a thin film of ice. Just brown dirt and gray rocks. Skis hardly glide on that kind of surface. Clearly,we'd have to move all the races to Anchorage.
We did have a thin sheet of ice to work with at Hillside, and there was the snowmaking loop at Kincaid. Unfortunately, the rainstorm was flooding Kincaid's ski stadium, turning it into a stadium-sized lake.
There was some nervousness among race organizers and coaches. There were many questions, but few answers.
Seven days later, we can look back at four successful cross-country races on good racing snow conditions. The alpine team also reported perfect racing conditions at Girdwood - a frozen tilted sheet of ice - the kind of racing surface alpine ski racers prefer.
Anchorage Daily News articles and lots of great photos of the week's racing are available at these links:
Monday's Skate Race at Hillside (I posted this one earlier this week - you might have already read it)
Wednesday's Classic Race at Kincaid
Friday's Skate Race at Kincaid
Saturday's Mass-start Classic Race
UAA Athletics' Website
And Bob Arnold's Race Videos Are Here (thanks Bob!)
The regular RMISA season has concluded and now six athletes, two coaches and I (the team's porter, navigator and cheerleader) leave for the NCAA championships in Lake Placid, New York in just five days (Friday afternoon)! It looks as though UAA's cross-country team at NCAA's will consist of Mackenzie Kanady, Manon Locatelli, Kathrin Schratt, Alex Mahoney, Etienne Richard, and Clement Molliet.
We've had a season in which we've produced a lot of results that are close to the top, but not quite at the top... yet. Several of our skiers have shown a clear improving trend over the past few weeks, with some top-five placings very close behind the winners, and we're very optimistic about this positive trend going into NCAA's. Stay tuned!