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Junior National Qualifier Race (JNQ #2) at Mt. Spokane

January 20, 2020

Junior National Qualifier Race (JNQ #2) at Mt. Spokane

Junior National Qualifier Race (JNQ #2) at Mt. Spokane - by Sophie Corkran

The second JNQ, hosted at Mt. Spokane, was home to the first ever Skier Cross race format in a PNSA event. The course was 1.26k and had organ pump rollers, uphill and downhill slalom gates, a jump, a scary banked turn, and alternating rollers. Skiers raced in a King's Court format. Racers start by skiing the course individually to determine their place in heats based on time. There were 4 skiers per heat; the 1st place skier moves up a heat, the 2nd and 3rd stay put, and the 4th place skier moves down. The challenges presented in the skier cross led to many unpredictable falls and mishaps all across the field of athletes. None the less, it was widely popular and lots of fun for both the racers and spectators. The race organizers in Spokane planned entirely new 3k and 5k courses this year, inspired by the Olympic course at Soldier Hollow, UT. Most of the course went uphill, with constant grade changes. The technical downhill section offered little recovery before the final stair-step climb to the finish. Coach Karl nailed the grip wax and the skis were very fast!

 

Anneka - U12

Anneka liked the downhill section in the 3k classic and did well on the sharp turns. In the skier cross, she stayed loose and quick through all the obstacles. Anneka said she had fun in the skier cross and it was her favorite race. She placed 7th in the skier cross and 7th in the classic.

Kailua - U14

Kailua took the sharp turn on the skier cross course smoothly, allowing her to quickly V1 up the hill that followed. In the 3k classic, Kailua started with a fast double pole and kept up her speed throughout the race. She placed 8th in the skier cross and 5th in the classic.

Catcher - U16

Catcher loves uphills! The new 5k course with massive hills suited him well. He says that next time, he can push himself even harder. Unlike most racers in the skier cross, Catcher managed to stay upright in every heat. He placed 17th in the skier cross and 13th in the classic.

Benjamin - U16

In the final heat of the skier cross, Beni went up against the U18 and U20 boys. While battling it out among the much bigger racers, he ran into one of them who unexpectedly slowed down before the high banked turn; therefore, he had to make up time on the hill climb. Despite some bad luck, he says, “It was fun; I had a metal time!” In the classic race the next day, Beni had a great finish placing 5th, but felt that he could have given more on the uphills. He placed 6th in the skier cross.

Sophie C. - U16

Sophie C. took flight over the rollers and crashed, within ten seconds of starting her first race, but made a quick recovery! Her favorite part was skidding around the banked turn, barely staying upright. In her 5k classic, she got her first podium finish in a JNQ, placing 3rd. She kept up a fast tempo throughout the race and had a great kick on the final climb to the finish. In the skier cross, she placed 10th.

Sophie K. - U18

Sophie K. said that the first heat of the skier cross sprints was her best of the day. She enjoyed picking up speed on the alternating rollers and her V2 was super strong. Sophie had to endure the brutal hills of the 5k course twice in her 10k, the longest JNQ race she’s done! She tackled the uphill finish with everything she had, crossing the line exhausted but in good spirits. She placed 11th in the skier cross and 12th in the classic.

Justin - U18

Justin skied the rollers in the skier cross flawlessly, setting him up well for the rest of the course. He fell near the jump before the sharp turn, but recovered quickly, catching back up by the finish. In his 15k classic, despite trouble in the feed zone, preventing him from refueling, Justin put down consistent lap times and passed at least five other skiers who started ahead of him! He placed 15th in the skier cross and 12th in the classic.

The next JNQ is in the Methow Valley, on February 1st and 2nd.