Crested Butte Nordic ski team opens race season in Frisco

CB hosting Junior National Qualifier in January

by Than Acuff

Low snow has done nothing to slow down the Crested Butte Nordic Team’s (CBNT) training regimen as they’ve managed to squeeze in plenty of on-snow workouts the past couple of weeks despite the lack of snow.

“We’ve been skiing on the bench on Ruthie’s Run and haven’t made any changes to our training schedule,” says coach Molly Susla. “We’ve been able to ski, which is awesome, because I know other teams like Boulder are still running and on roller skis.”

Their training was put to the test last weekend as they headed to Frisco for the first Junior National Qualifier races of the season on Saturday and Sunday, December 16-17.

Susla took four athletes to Frisco for the weekend of races, led by u20 age class racer Woody Martineau. Martineau is on track to ski for Williams College next year and got a taste of his future competition over the weekend as several college racers also toed the line in Frisco.

Martineau matched wits, strength and speed with his peers on Saturday in the 4.2-kilometer freestyle (skate) race, placing seventh overall. U18 CBNT age class racer Robby Oberling had an impressive result as well, finishing top 30 overall. Oberling missed all of last year with a collarbone injury and is in his first year at the u18 level.

“We’re just really stoked for him,” says Susla. “He’s got it kind of tough, being at the lower end of the age class, and I think he did a really good job.”

The CBNT young guns, u14 racer Oliver White and u12 skier Finn Veit, then took to the course racing a 2.2-kilometer distance. White finished his race in 15th overall and Veit cracked the top 10 to place sixth.

“It was a good skate day for us,” says Susla.

The team then returned to the course on Sunday for a series of mass start classic races. Both Martineau and Oberling had a bit of a rougher go in the classic races as the course proved to be more suitable for a double-poling technique than anything else.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work on classic but the course only had one climb so there was a lot of double-poling,” explains Susla. “We haven’t really worked on double-poling. It was tough.”

Martineau finished the 8.2-kilometer course in 14th place overall with Oberling finishing in 51st overall, 30th place among his u18 competition.

White and Veit made the most of the 2.2-kilometer distance to move through the mass of racers in the mass start format. White started out in 15th place but moved up three spaces to finish the race in 12th while Veit recorded another sixth-place finish.

“I’m very impressed with our two younger boys,” says Susla.

The team will continue training through the holiday season while Martineau heads out to compete at Senior Nationals in Alaska the first week of January. Crested Butte Nordic will then roll out the white carpet in January as they host a Junior National Qualifier Sunday and Monday, January 14-15.

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