Utah hosts SuperTour, nordic combined events


PARK CITY, Utah — High-level competitions within the nordic ski world will converge on Utah as the USSA Cross Country SuperTour and the nordic combined World Cup-B open at the 2002 Olympic cross country and ski jump venues starting Friday.
PARK CITY, Utah — High-level competitions within the nordic ski world will converge on Utah as the USSA Cross Country SuperTour and the nordic combined World Cup-B open at the 2002 Olympic cross country and ski jump venues starting Friday.
    As coaches and athletes began arriving in the Park City area, Olympians Johnny Spillane and Bill Demong were headed back to Europe for World Cup combined events this weekend in Ramsau, Austria. They had returned home from Norway because of poor snow conditions and the uncertainty of upcoming events, but recent snows have improved conditions in Ramsau, scene of the 1999 FIS Nordic World Championships.
    Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday, the nordic combined World Cup-B, comprised of athletes trying to make their way onto the World Cup tour, will be competing on the large hill at Utah Olympic Park and on the trails at Soldier Hollow. Saturday and Sunday, the $130,000 USSA Cross Country SuperTour will offer distance and sprint races at Soldier Hollow; the overall champions from the SuperTour earn places on the World Cup to start the 2008 season.
    "The snow's good," World Cup nordic combined coach Dave Jarrett said Tuesday. "The guys are ready to go, and we're looking at what should be a couple of good competitions."
    The World Cup-B Tour stopped in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, over the weekend for the Mountain Resorts World Cup-B events; Olympian Brett Camerota reached the podium Saturday and was just 11 seconds away from a victory in the season opener.
    The World Cup-B schedule has opened in the United States in recent seasons because of the reliability of snow in the American West. After this week's two meets, the tour heads to Lake Placid, New York, for the annual Lamb Lumber Classic with competitions Dec. 20-21 before the Europeans head home.
    Some new snow this week further spruces up the track conditions at Soldier Hollow, which is offering more than 20 kilometers of skiing. There are short distance freestyle (skating) races — women's 10K and men's 15K — Saturday and classic technique sprints Sunday. In the sprints, everyone skis the course in a qualifying time trial and the field is cut to 32 for finals heats.
    Olympians James Southam and Caitlin Compton are the SuperTour leaders after the first seven races. (Click here for more on last weekend's races in Sun Valley, Idaho). The SuperTour champions will compete on the World Cup next season but of more pressing urgency is the opportunity to earn a place at the World Championships in Japan in February.

Weekend race schedule
(all times Mountain)

Friday
9 a.m. – Nordic combined: Large Hill (134 meter) jumping at Utah Olympic Park
3 p.m. – Nordic combined: 15 km race at Soldier Hollow

Saturday
9 a.m. – Nordic combined: Large hill jumping at Utah Olympic Park
9:30 a.m. – SuperTour: Women's 10 km freestyle technique at Soldier Hollow
10:30 a.m. – SuperTour: Men's 15 km freestyle technique
2 p.m. – Nordic combined: 7.5 km race at Soldier Hollow

Sunday
10 a.m. – Sprint (classic technique) qualifying for women at Soldier Hollow
10:30 a.m. – Sprint qualifying for men
Noon – Finals heats begin

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