Junior Nordic team ends its season of races in Durango

Hannah Smith qualifies for Junior National Championships

The Crested Butte and Gunnison Junior Nordic Team traveled to Durango this past weekend for the final races of the season and the last qualifier for the Junior National Team.




The weekend of racing consisted of a classic technique race and a skate technique relay race. Traveling with the team this race included two high school skiers, Dawson Stucki and Hannah Smith, as well as younger skiers Ian Boucher, Forrest Smith, Pharwit Durgan, Kyle Boyle, Elisabeth Desmarais and Madeline Pulley.
Saturday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny blue-sky day with highs in the 40s, which gave the race a great relaxed and fun atmosphere. The team finished off the day of racing with some good snowball throwing with the other teams.
The race was in the classic technique with distances of three kilometers for the younger skiers, five kilometers for Smith and 10 kilometers for Stucki. The team gave all they had for this last race of the season and showed off all their hard work by scoring a number of top ten finishes.
In the three kilometer race divisions, Boucher notched sixth place in the J3 category, while Durgan and Forrest Smith finished a close fourth and fifth respectively, knocking on the door of the top three in the J4 category!
Also in the J4 category was Boyle finished in 11th place in his third race of the season only a few seconds out of the top ten.  Boyle has come on strong in the final stretch of this season in the classic races and will no doubt prove a force to be reckoned with next season.
In the girls J3/J4 three-kilometer category Desmarais skied to a strong seventh-place finish and Pulley, skiing in her first Nordic race, finished in 12th place.
In the older classifications, Stucki and Hannah Smith held their own in their final races of the regular season. In the 10-kilometer race, Stucki skied a steady two-lap race demonstrating his great classic ski technique to finish up in 13th place. Stucki also participated in the relay race on Sunday where he showed some style nearly landing a 360 off a jump during the race on his skinny skis. In the five-kilometer race, Smith skied to a strong third-place finish, sealing her place on the Junior National Team this year.
The Junior National Championships will be taking place in Anchorage, Alaska March 9-15 this year with racers from across the country competing. Smith will be traveling there with the Rocky Mountain Nordic Team consisting of more than 40 skiers from Colorado.
The team will continue skiing through the next few weeks in the beautiful spring weather. The season will culminate with our Kid’s Fest ski day and the annual Bonfire Dinner on March 22.
If you haven’t participated in the Bonfire Dinner before, this year is your chance to experience the fun of skiing from bonfire to bonfire eating and drinking under the stars! Keep an eye out for this event in the coming weeks.

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