This week at AVSC: A nordic extravaganza | AspenTimes.com

This week at AVSC: A nordic extravaganza

AVSC staff report
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

John WilkinsonAspen's Hailey Swirbul cruised to victory in Saturday's girls 5-kilometer race in Minturn.

ASPEN – No matter the level, Nordic racers with Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club ties are enjoying strong results in early competitions this season.

Last weekend in Canmore, Alberta, U.S. Ski Team member Noah Hoffman finished a career-best eighth place in the 30-kilometer World Cup skiathlon. Hoffman stayed with the leaders most of the way and was even in second place late in the race that was won by Frenchman Maurice Manificat.

“I felt good all day. Finishing with those guys is really a challenge,” Hoffman said. “I was right up there. Eighth is sweet. Hopefully, there’s more to come in the future, but I’m psyched right now.”

Ski preparation definitely helped, he said, noting that his skis “might have been the fastest of the field. So I was just gliding up to the front without being able to help it.”

Also last weekend, in the first FIS Continental Cup Nordic Combined (essentially the “proving ground” for aspiring World Cup athletes) of the season, AVSC’s Michael Ward finished on the podium, just behind four-time Olympian Todd Lodwick. In the morning, the athletes took to the 90-meter hill at Utah’s Olympic Park, where Ward finished a respectable 14th.

In the afternoon, the action shifted to Soldier Hollow, where racers completed seven laps of the hilly, 1.5-kilometer Olympic course. At the finish, 19-year-old Ward passed everyone but the veteran Lodwick, 36, who held on for the win.

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“Being able to ski with Todd was an honor,” Ward said after the race. “He pushed me to my limit. I’m just so fortunate to have such a great team, great teammates, to push me to be the best.”

Though he earned a ninth place last season in the Junior World Championships in Turkey, last weekend’s finish was Ward’s best on the international stage.

Aspen’s nordic athltes were well-

represented in Minturn at this past weekend’s CHSAA races. Sibling teammates Hailey and Keegan Swirbul each won the

5-kilometer skate. Aspen High School women finished third overall, with the men’s team taking second.

The top 32 girls in the race and the top 41 boys qualified for the state championships by virtue of their finishes.

5-kilometer skate, girls

1. Hailey Swirbul, ASP, 16:07.0

2. H. Hardenbergh, VMS, 16:22.0

3. Taeler McCrerey, SHS, 16.22.0

8. Hannah Dodge, ASP, 18:06.0

11. Nina Beidleman, ASP, 18:18.0

15. Sophie Stuber, ASP, 18:38.0

18. Logan McNamee, ASP, 18:44.0

26. Else Dodge, ASP, 19:24.0

28. Dominique Wojcik, ASP, 19:28.0

Vail 5-kilometer skate, boys

1. Keegan Swirbul, ASP, 13:08.9

2. Cameron Bobb, SHS, 14:18.9

3. Hudson McNamee, ASP, 14:20.8

11. Nick Sweeney, ASP, 15:53.0

14. Christian Lewis, ASP, 16:09.1

15. Ben Belinski, ASP, 16:12.1

16. Max Marolt, ASP, 16.14.4

28. Davin Wilkinson, ASP, 16:57.3

31. Kevin Callahan, ASP, 17:19.0

Middle school races

Vail 2.5-kilometer skate, girls

1. Maddie Donovan, VMS, 08:59.0

2. Emma Blakslee, VMS, 09:14.0

3. Chelsea Moore, ASP, 09:25.0

Vail 2.5-kilometer skate, boys

1. Nolan Herzog, St. Clares, 07:43.0

2. Patrick Scuggs, VMS, 07:56.0

3. Christian Wilson, ECCA, 08:37.0

12. Everett Olson, ASP, 09:56.0