Connecting you with Alaska athletes.

NORDIC SKIING

Ski Report: Paralympics, Tour of Anchorage, World Cup and NCAAs

by | Mar 11, 2022 | Nordic Skiing, Paralympics, Snowboarding

Grace Miller

Grace Miller of Palmer has one arm and Katy Maddry of Wasilla has one leg — but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching the pinnacle of their sports.

Miller and Maddry are thrilled to be competing at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing along with Andrew Kurka of Palmer.

Miller, 22, in her second Paralympics as a Nordic skier, placed ninth in long distance standing and 14th in sprint standing with one event to go.

Miller born without a left forearm and began skiing at age 4. She trained with the University of Alaska Fairbanks ski team before graduating in 2021 with an English degree.

Katy Maddry

Maddry, 20, placed 12th in snowboardcross and will still compete in dual banked slalom.

“I wanna thank everyone who watched my race today!!!,” Maddry posted on Facebook March 6. “This course definitely scared the bajeezus out of me but super happy I was able to even compete! … Banked Slalom is this week and I literally can’t wait!!!”

According to her Team USA bio, Maddry was born in Guangzhou, China, with fibular hemimelia. This resulted in scoliosis and her right leg was amputated at age 8.

She only recently began competing and qualified for the Olympics after placing fourth in a World Cup event in banked slalom.

Andrew Kurka of Palmer, the 2018 gold medalist in the alpine skiing downhill sitting event, placed fourth in that event in Beijing. Unfortunately, that was his only race at these games due to a broken thumb and humerus (upper arm bone) suffered after being blown into a fence just an hour before the downhill competition. Kurka vows to return for the 2026 Paralympics in Italy.

All three athletes have trained with Challenge Alaska, a 40-year organization with programs in Anchorage, Girdwood, the Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su Valley.

Tour of Anchorage Ski and Bike recap

The “power couple” of Jessica Yeaton and David Norris showed off their strength at the Tour of Anchorage on Sunday.

Jessica Yeaton

Yeaton, a South High graduate, and Norris, a Lathrop High graduate, claimed the 50-kilometer Nordic skiing freestyle races by nearly identical margins — but their victories played out very differently in their journeys from the Anchorage Hillside to Kincaid Park.

Yeaton, fresh off the Beijing Olympics where she represented Australia, skied with two-time Olympian Sadie Bjornsen Maubet before finally shaking her while climbing up the Sisson Trail in the final kilometers. Yeaton prevailed in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 43 seconds, which was 19 seconds faster than Bjorsen Maubet, who was racing only her second 50K ever.

As for Norris, he broke away in the early kilometers on the toughest trail, the Spencer Loop, and was never seriously challenged. Although his final margin shrunk to 20 seconds, Thomas O’Harra never spotted him until the finish was near and the outcome determined.

More than 1,000 skiers and bikers raced distances from 25 to 50 kilometers on a spectacularly sunny day amid a Winter Wonderland after a blizzard on Saturday deposited about a foot of snow.

Chief of course Chris Seaman called the storm a “TOA miracle” because the trail otherwise would have been problematic due to extremely firm and icy conditions.

David Norris

Soft snow on parts of the trail made for slower than normal conditions, though spirits remained high at the Kincaid Stadium finish.

While skiers started in the morning and bikers in the afternoon, the race between them was a close one, as Norris (2:09:05) edged 50K fat biker Will Ross (2:10:19).

Ross finally shook Eric Flanders (2:10:42) by surging on the steepest hill of the Sisson Loop about two kilometers from the finish.

Kinsey Loan won the women’s 50K bike in 2:55:17, although Ana Jager edged Loan by 44 seconds in the Tour Double that included the 50K ski and 50K bike races. Adam Looney won the men’s double in a combined 5:49:23.

Other winners (women and men):
40K freestyle — Anna Dalton 2:18:48; Oliver Wright 2:06:11
25K Freestyle — Annie Gonzales 1:17:48; Henry Cole (Juneau), 1:17:08
25K Classic — Darcy Dugan 1:54:03; Gary Snyder 1:28:02
40K Classic — Claire Kaufman (Hope) 3:05:21; Max Romey 2:37:47
50K Classic — Colleen McGovern 3:54:37; Eric Auten (Valdez) 3:10:41
25K Fat Bike — Morgan Noad 1:36:30; Ben Goltz 1:34:50
40K Fat Bike — Kristen Sommers 2:07:45; Thomas Tabinor, 1:50:07

World Cup – Holmenkollen and Falun conclude season

With the cancellation of World Cup Finals originally scheduled March 18-20 in Tyumen, Russia, the World Cup Nordic skiing season will instead wrap up this weekend in Falun, Sweden, with a classic sprint on Friday, distance freestyle races on Sunday and a new mixed team relay on Sunday.

Last weekend saw the return of the Holmenkollen races in Olso, Norway, that were first contested since 1884. Amid sunny skies and a party atmosphere, Rosie Brennan of Alaska Pacific Universty placed seventh to lead the U.S. in the 30K women’s classic.

Rosie Brennan

“Today was huge for me. I have struggled here my entire career,” Brennan said in an email to media members. “I wasn’t feeling in a place to shoot for the moon so I tried to start a bit a conservative the first 5k and then reevaluate. … It felt great to finish strong and to put together a really solid race today.”

Other Alaskans included Hailey Swirbul of APU in 26th, South High graduate Caitlin Patterson in 30th and Rosie Frankowski of APU in 30th.

In the men’s 50K, Scott Patterson, coming off a strong Olympics, placed 31st.

NCAA Ski Championships underway

Three Top 15 performances by the UAF men highlighted Alaskan racing at the NCAA Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow in Utah on Thursday.

For the Nanooks in the 10K classic, Christopher Kalev (Estonia) placed fourth 43 seconds behind 2022 Olympian Ben Ogden of the University of Vermont. Mike Ophoff (Czech Republic) was fifth and Joe Davies (Canada) took 15th as the Nanooks tied Denver University for the leading men’s team score on the day.

Espen Persen paced UAA in ninth while JC Schoonmaker, a sprinter at the 2022 Olympics, placed 11th. Anchorage’s Luke Jager, also an Olympic sprinter representing the University of Utah, placed 12th.

Luke Jager

Unfortunately for Jager and Schoonmaker, the NCAA Championships do not offer a sprint race.

In the women’s 5K classic, Mariel Pulles of UAF (who skied for Estonia at the Olympics) led the way in 11th, followed by teammate Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks in 18th. Pascale Paradis led UAA in 15th.

The championships wrap up Saturday with mass-start distance freestyle races.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Sports Categories