Summit Nordic skiers have breakthrough performances at Tour de Sun Valley
Though the Summit Nordic Ski Club struggled in the skate sprint, local cross-country skiers performed well in classic and skate distance races at last weekend’s Tour de Sun Valley in Idaho.
Tour de Sun Valley is the final International Ski Federation and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Nordic competition of the season in the lower 48 states. The tour consists of three back-to-back-to-back race days, starting with a skate sprint followed by a classic distance race and a skate distance race to round out the weekend.
The club had six athletes compete among a field of many of the strongest youth, college and senior skiers from the western United States, including newly crowned NCAA champion University of Utah. Summit Nordic skiers included Nina Schamberger, Sloan Phillips, Gray Wasson, Sam Thebeau, Zach Footer and Sam Haynes.
Summit Nordic head coach Olof Hedberg said the club struggled in the March 19 skate sprint with no noteworthy results. In the March 20 classic distance, the club bounced back in “super tricky,” wet, slushy conditions led by Schamberger’s 11th overall finish, which was fourth among juniors. Wasson was 38th overall and 15th among juniors, and Thebeau was 48th overall and 24th among juniors.
“The wax bench was working overload the full day, and it turned out to be the best one for us as a club,” Hedberg said.
If the classic day’s conditions were hard, the March 21 skate distance was the opposite with very icy, fast conditions atop straightforward snow, the coach said. It was in the classic distance that Summit Nordic saw its best results, with Schamberger finishing in seventh place as the third junior girl — behind only two college skiers who were top three at the NCAA championships the weekend prior and also went one-two at each Tour de Sun Valley race.
Hedberg said the standout performance of the weekend came in the men’s skate distance March 21 from Thebeau, whose finish of 59th overall and 48th among juniors will drastically improve his national ranking.
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