Alaskans love Iditarod, cross country skiers

AVSC staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Chris Moore/Special to The Aspen TimesAVSC skiers at the National Cross Country Championships in Alaska are, from left, Hailey Swirbul, Hudson McNamee, Nick Sweeney and Keenan Swirbul.

ASPEN – In Fairbanks, Alaska, this week, Aspen Valley Ski Club skiers Keegan Swirbul, Hailey Swirbul, Nick Sweeney and Hudson McNamee are competing in the 2013 USSA Marriott Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships, presented by ConocoPhillips.

The first competitions for J2 racers kicked off with 5K and 10K freestyle races. According to AVSC Nordic Program Director Toby Morse, the field is made up of the best juniors in the country.

Sweeney finished 52nd in his race, and Hailey Swirbul finished sixth among J2 Girls.

The J1 boys races were dominated by a trio of Norwegians , who won’t keep the top medals as those are reserved for American skiers. Their addition lends an international-caliber experience on

United States soil.

Keegan Swirbul was 11th, and Hudson McNamee was 96th in this field that was deep with talent.

As the Iditarod wraps up its final week, ski-crazy Alaskans are enjoying major sports on their home turf, especially as the days have grown longer and clear, blue skies have returned, momentarily.

A great resource for results can be found at:

On the freestyle side, seven athletes from AVSC competed at the USSA Junior Nationals in Park City last week.

Strong results were seen everywhere, capped by Joey Lang being named the J3 Junior National Pipe champion. Lang was 12th overall in this incredibly competitive field. Keenan McIntyre’s 14th overall finish also was notable.

Moguls finishes by Andra Sakson (23rd overall) and Colby Lee (ninth overall) and top-15 results in Big Air by Andrew Tierney and Karsyn Everett stood out. Tierney and Everett also finished in the top-15 in the junior nationals aerials event.

Alpine teams also had strong results in regional and national championships last week.

Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club finished second overall in the Rocky Mountain Division U10/U12 Championships at Powderhorn Re-sort, outside of Grand Junction. AVSC fielded 29 competitors at Powderhorn.

At the Marriott U16 Nationals in Beaver Creek, podium and top-10 finishes were plentiful by Tristan Lane, Sky Kelsey, Luke Prosence and Galena Wardle.

The Marriott U18 Nationals continue at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., with a final super G. (Results next week).

For additional AVSC results, tune into “Weekly with Walt,” which airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday on GrassRoots Television, Channel 12 upvalley, Channel 82 below Catherine’s Store. The program will be replayed periodically throughout the week.