Fresh snow greets skiers at Chugiak Stampede

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 10:29
Racers rave about winter's return in first race of 2017
  • Chugiak's Claire Mahoney skis through a snowstorm on her way to a 42nd place finish in the girls' race at the Chugiak Stampede Saturday, January 14, 2017. Photo for the Star by Michael Dinneen

A blanket of fresh snow Friday may have made for challenging driving and added shoveling, but it couldn’t have been more welcome at the Beach Lake Trails in Chugiak, where the snow fell just in time for Chugiak Stampede, the first high school Nordic ski race of 2017.

Indeed, it felt like real winter again at the trails off Birchwood Loop as a brisk wind blew the fresh snow off the trees. The wind was powerful enough to flip Chugiak’s wax tent, making that particular chore a bit more complicated for the day.

For athletes competing in the classic technique race, however, the weather was bliss.

“It was great finally getting snow,” said Chugiak’s Adrianna Proffitt, who led the Chugiak girls with an eighth place overall finish among the 127 girls who skied the 7.5-kilometer course.

Proffitt finished in 29 minutes, 28.4 seconds, about two minutes behind winner Annika Hannestad of Colony in the interval-start race, which sent skiers out on the course in pairs every 20 seconds.

Proffitt’s teammate Emma Sees said the six inches of light, fresh powder on the trails did slow things down a bit.

“It was pretty soft and a little bit slow with the new snow, and you kind of had to grind through the whole course,” said Sees, who placed 10th overall in 29:43.4.

The Chugiak girls led all local teams with a third-place finish behind first-place Service and second-place West. Following Sees and Proffitt to the finish were Carly Dennis in 24th, Olivia Mueller in 32nd, Claire Mahoney in 42nd and Reilly Hall in 46th.
Eagle River’s girls team was led by Myah Smith in 43rd and Madeline Taylor in 59th.

Chugiak’s Brian Wing led all local skiers with a fourth-place finish in the boys’ 10-kilometer race, leading his team to a fourth-place showing behind Dimond, West and South. Max Beiergrohslein was 10th for the Mustangs, followed by Dennis Miles in 11th out of 151 racers.

Classic technique races are all about glide, which puts waxing at a premium. Eagle River’s Torsten Renner, who paced his team with a 14th place individual finish, said he and his coaches tried five wax combinations before settling on one that worked prior to the race. Mild temperatures added to the waxing puzzle.

“It was really warm, really nice," Renner said. "It was a great day to be out."

The next high school Nordic ski races are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 18, a freestyle sprint relay at Bartlett beginning at 3 p.m.

For complete race results and a schedule of upcoming races, visit anchoragenordicski.com

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