Hoffman, Swirbul strong on Day 1 of U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships
Noah Hoffman, a 2014 Olympian and Aspen-raised skier, finished second in the men’s 15-kilometer freestyle cross-country ski race on Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska. The race was the first at the 2018 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships.
Hoffman, who has been competing on the World Cup circuit this season, finished the course in 37 minutes, 29 seconds. He was 55.2 seconds back of race winner Scott Patterson, who skis for Alaska Pacific University. Patterson also competed in a few World Cup races earlier this winter.
“Scott was world-class today,” Hoffman, a three-time national champion, said in a news release. “I hope he can bring that back to Europe and I hope to be there with him.”
The race was held on a 2.5-kilometer, manmade snow loop as Alaska, much like most of the Western U.S., has been relatively dry this winter.
Patterson’s sister, Caitlin Patterson, won the women’s 10K race with a time of 27:09.1. The brother-sister duo also won the classic races at the 2016 U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Michigan.
Hailey Swirbul, a sophomore at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a Basalt High School graduate who skied for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, placed eighth in the women’s race with a time of 28:39.4, making her the top-placing junior female skier. Swirbul also made headlines last winter at Junior Worlds.
For complete results, click here.
Racing continues Friday with the men’s and women’s freestyle sprints. There will be men’s and women’s classic mass start races on Sunday and classic sprints on Monday.
On top of crowning national champions, this week’s races are used as part of the selection process for the U.S. Olympic team and will determine roster spots for the FIS Junior World Championships.
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The last time Ayumu Hirano competed in a sanctioned FIS event was at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where he narrowly finished second behind Shaun White for his second silver medal in two Olympic appearances.