Casey Ward wins pair of nordic races |

Casey Ward wins pair of nordic races

Aspen resident Casey Ward won back-to-back races at the USSA nordic event at the Snow Mountain Ranch nordic center in Middle Park over the weekend.

Ward, who races for Team Alpina and the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club (AVSC), scorched a top-flight field Saturday in the 10K classic, winning in 24 minutes, 50 seconds. Norwegian star Henrik Hoye, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, was second in 25:02.

In Sunday’s 10K skate race, Ward won in 23:06. Team Suburu’s Nathan Schultz was second (23:29).

Shifted to Snow Mountain Ranch due to lack of snow in Summit County, the state’s opening nordic event was held on the tough Blue Ridge trail system, situated at approximately 9,000 feet.

The Ward family picked up its third podium of the weekend when Natalie, Casey’s older sister, also with Team Alpina and AVSC, finished second in the women’s skate race on Sunday, sandwiched between two CU Buffaloes. Jana Rehemaa of Norway won the race in 14:19, followed by Ward (14:49.0) and Karen Camenisch of Switzerland (14:49.4).

In the junior ranks, AVSC’s Brandon Cooper picked up an impressive victory Sunday in the boys J-1 skate race. With a time of 25:26, Cooper edged Boulder’s Colin Struthers (25:37), also good enough for 14th overall against the elite men’s field.

Aspen’s other top J-1 racer, Simi Hamilton, was sick and did not race.

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