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On Saturday, January 27th the Nordic athletes of Middle Park High School (MPHS) and East Grand Middle School (EGMS) will host their home race at Snow Mountain Ranch. Racers will travel from all over the Colorado Rockies to toe the line in a mass start skate race. High school competitors will face a tough 5km course while middle school athletes tackle a shorter but still challenging 3km circuit. Start times: high school girls-9:45am, high school boys-10:30am, middle school girls-11:15am, and middle school boys-11:45am.
Both teams will have 2 races under their belts by the time the gun goes off; a classic race in Steamboat Springs and a skate race in Vail. According to MPHS head coach Mike Lohman the team has focused on both technique and racing fitness. “I can’t wait to watch each of our athletes compete and I expect to see some stellar performances”, said Lohman. “I’ve been very impressed with the time and hard effort they’ve put in at practice.”
The high school team has been training 5-6 days a week since early November, which was quite a challenge early on given the dry conditions this year. Coaches designed a variety of dryland sessions to prepare the team for the season to include striding and bounding with poles, bootcamp-style strength and agility training in the gym, running and fun relays in the soccer dome. They’ve been training on snow since early December. Not only are these 29 athletes tough competitors but they face challenging conditions even at practice, to include darkness, blizzards and even the occasional moose encounter. Nothing that a headlamp and warm layers can’t overcome!
The middle school team has 45 skiers on the roster, and has been practicing 4 days a week since early November. They also spent their first few weeks of practice doing dryland training focused on strength, agility, and aerobic fitness. The recent snow storms have created great skiing conditions, so the middle school team will continue to train hard to prepare for the home race. Both the girl’s and boy’s teams took 2nd place in their first race in Steamboat against strong competition and they’ll seek to improve that overall placing on the 27th, according to coach Jon Kuhns.
Race directors Laura Cleveland and Karen Fletcher would love to see lots of local support for the teams. “Wear your Panther purple and bring your cow bells! Spectators will have great views of both start and finish lines and it makes such a difference to racers to have their communities cheering them on” shared Fletcher. They encourage spectators to stop by the Skinny Ski Cafe (in the Nordic Center) for a warm beverage, homemade cookies and chili then hit the corduroy for a ski after the race.
When: Saturday, January 27, 2018. First race starts at 9:45 am.
Where: Nordic Center, Snow Mountain Ranch, 1101 County Road 53, Granby, Colorado 80446
Admission: Free for spectators. See Nordic Center website for info on trail passes and ski rental.