Fending off frostbite for Junior Nordic Nationals qualifiers at Gold Run Nordic (photos and video) | SummitDaily.com

Fending off frostbite for Junior Nordic Nationals qualifiers at Gold Run Nordic (photos and video)

Funny how an entire landscape can change in just three weeks.

In early December, organizers with Summit Nordic Ski Club and Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge weren't sure if they'd have enough snow for the Junior Nordic Nationals qualifier races scheduled for this weekend. And then a snowstorm came two weeks ago, followed by another, followed by the latest on the eve of the races, bringing nearly two feet of fresh to the Nordic tracks just north of Breck.

Officials and athletes were blessed with more than enough snow to ski a 10K freestyle race on Saturday and a 5K classic mass-start race on Sunday, leaving that other December foe to battle: sub-freezing temperatures.

When racing started on Saturday, the thermometer hovered right around 8 degrees Fahrenheit, and it didn't get much warmer. But that didn't stop the local club from posting impressive performances, led by Summit High sophomore superstar Ezra Smith. She won the women's U-18 division with a time of 15:29.6, nearly 25 seconds faster than former SNSC member and NCAA ski champion Taeler McCrerey with the University of Denver. Smith also beat 74 collegiate athletes from University of Utah, University of New Mexico, Dartmouth and University of Colorado-Boulder — not bad for the first race of the season.

Also topping to podium for SNSC at the Saturday 10K (5K for U-14s and 1K for U-10s) were Tai-Lee Smith, Ezra Smith's younger sister, in the U-14 division and young Nina Schamberger for the U-12 division.

For the men's 10K, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail skier Cal Deline won the U-18 division with a time of 28:39.5 ahead of Wyatt Gebhardt of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Mads Stroem with the CU ski team.

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10K freestyle, U-18 women (75 total)

1. Ezra Smith, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 15:29.6

2. Taeler McCrerey, University of Denver — 15:53.8

3. Kathleen O'Connell, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — 16:02.2

4. Madeline Donovan, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — 16:05.2

5. Natalia Mueller, University of Utah — 16:06.5

10K freestyle, U-18 men (63 total)

1. Cal Delin, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — 28:39.5

2. Wyatt Gebhardt, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — 28:57.2

3. Mads Stroem, University of Colorado — 29:08.1

4. Oscar Friedman, Boulder Nordic Junior Racing — 29:27.2

5. Arnaud Guyon, University of New Mexico — 29:46.2

10K freestyle, U-16 boys (33 total)

1. Colt Whitley, Aspen Valley Ski Club — 15:05.0

2. Garrett Butts, Golden Nordic — 15:29.5

3. Peter Haynes, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 15:35.2

5K freestyle, U-14 girls (31 total)

1. Tai-Lee Smith, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 11:56.5

2. Haley Brewster, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — 12:09.4

3. Bettina Burgess, Boulder Nordic Junior Racing — 12:35.1

5K freestyle, U-14 boys (28 total)

1. Cotton Sumner, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — 10:29.4

2. Wally Magill, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — 11:09.2

3. Wiley Corra, Durango Nordic Ski Club — 11:15.7

5. Lasse Konecny, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 12:13.9

6. Alex Morano, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 12:18.3

7. Sam Haynes, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 12:22.1

5K freestyle, U-12 girls (12 total)

1. Nina Schamberger, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 12:28.4

2. Aisley Grohusky, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 13:08.9

3. Isabel Glackin, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — 14:06.7

5K freestyle, U-12 boys

1. Benjamin Barbier, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — 12:16.6

2. Conner Wilson, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — 12:43.2

3. Nico Konecny, Summit Nordic Ski Club — 12:49.5