SuperTour Down to Last Three Races
ASPEN, Colo. (Feb. 10) - Local favorite Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) won the men's 25K Owl Creek Chase Saturday and Evelyn Dong (Bend, OR) was the women's winner in the 21st edition of the race. After two competitions in Aspen, three USSA Cross Country SuperTour races remain.
The Owl Creek Chase runs between Snowmass Village and the Aspen Cross Country Center. Hoffman, who now trains with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, led three former Olympians in the point-to-point race as he finished in 1:05.21.5.
Tad Elliott (Durango, CO) was second in 1:06.17.4 with Zack Simons (Park City, UT) completing the podium with a time of 1:06.03.4. The next two places were filled by a pair of two-time Olympians, Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT) and then Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK); 2006 Olympic skier James Southam (Anchorage, AK) sixth among the 36 racers.
Nordic combined Olympian Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) was ninth with three teammates - Alex Glueck, Alex Miller and Davis Miller (all also Steamboat) - in the top 20, too.
Dong won the women's Chase by more than a minute. Her time was 1:17.29.9 with Kristina Strandberg of Sweden, second at 1:18.38.0. Abi Larson (Salt Lake City), another '06 Olympian, finished third in 1:19.02.3.
Thursday, Strandberg won a SuperTour 5K freestyle which helped open the Aspen Nordic Festival, in conjunction with the Aspen Ski & Snowboard Club. Her time was 16:49.5 with Nicole DeYong, another Sun Valley racer, second (17:37.1) Czech Martina Stursova was third.
Kazakh Andrey Golovko won the men's 10K in 29:09.8. Zach Violett (Brownsville, CA) was second, 16.5 seconds out, and Hoffman took third place in 29:33.5.
Three SuperTour races are left - the American Birkebeiner next Saturday in Cable, WI, and two distance races March 28-30 in Fairbanks, AK, which will double as the long-distance U.S. championships. At nationals, racers receive double SuperTour points (60 for first, 50 for second, 42 for third, etc.), so the overall and distance titles are very much undecided. Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) and Karin Camenisch of Switzerland have won the sprint titles.
Kuzzy also has a commanding lead in the overall points but hasn't clinched the title. He has 276 points to 232 for Flora and 223 for Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT). Strandberg leads the women's overall with 365 to 334 for Camenisch. Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), currently racing on the World Cup tour in Europe, has 278 and Stursova is fourth overall at 272.
In the distance standings, Ivan Babikov of Canada leads the men with 150 points to 137 for Kuzzy. Strandberg has 197 to lead the women with Camenisch runner-up at 138.