It was a good weekend of early-season ski racing for 34 Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross-country skiers Friday and Saturday at Trail Creek Nordic Center near the base of Teton Pass.
There, the three-event qualifying process kicked off just west of Jackson Hole, Wyo. for March’s U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Cross-Country Junior National Ski Championships set for Stowe, Vt. March 1-8.
Sun Valley boasted four podiums and two race victories in Friday’s 5-kilometer classic races. The SVSEF group added four more podiums and three wins in Saturday’s 10k and 5k freestyle mass start races that featured snow, heavy at times.
By far the strongest SVSEF effort came from its spirited group of 12 boys in the U-16 age class (ages 14-15).
Zach Williams, 14, led the U-16 boys in 14:33 and topped a 1-2-3-4 Sun Valley sweep of the top spots in Friday’s 5k classic race with a 21-second victory.
In all, SVSEF placed six of its 12 boys in the top seven of that event.
Saturday, 15-year-old Peter Wolter (14:56) moved up from his second-place classic finish to win the U-16 boys’ 5k skate by just six seconds over second-place teammate Eli Jensen, 15. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Ella Wolter took first place in U-14 girls’ 3k skate.
Sarah Williams podiumed twice with third places in the U-20 women’s group (ages 18-19). Carter Ros placed third in the U-16 boys’ classic event. Kate Horowitz, 11, won the 2k U-12 girls’ classic and skate races at Trail Creek.
Just missing podiums with fourth places were Stephen Pfeiffer U-20 freestyle, Katerina Paul U-18 classic, Eli Jensen U-16 boys’ classic and Ella Wolter U-14 girls’ classic.
Next two Junior National qualifiers are Jan. 25-26 at the Lake Creek trail system north of Ketchum and Feb. 5-8 at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Junior Nationals are 67 days away, from March 3-8 at Stowe’s Trapp Family Lodge. Classic interval start competition is Monday, March 3, followed by classic sprints March 5, mass start freestyle March 7 and freestyle relay March 8.