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NORDIC SKIING

Nordic Skiing: Thomas O’Harra and Rosie Frankowski continue their Tour of Anchorage reign

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Cover Story, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Nordic Skiing

Photo courtesy of Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage

You didn’t have to be an Olympian to make the top five in the Tour of Anchorage women’s race Sunday, but it helped.

Three of the top five finishers in the 50-kilometer freestyle race were Olympic cross-country skiers, including four-time Tour champion Rosie Frankowski.

Frankowski, 32, and Thomas O’Harra, 27, repeated as champions in the showcase event for Alaska cross-country skiing.

Frankowski, a member of the 2018 Olympic team, won for the second year in a row and the third time in four years. This time she took a 50-second win over Hailey Swirbul, 25, a member of the 2022 Olympic team.

Frankowski triumphed in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 22.7 seconds, adding to previous wins in 2017, 2021 and last year.

Placing fifth, four minutes later, was two-time Olympian Holly Brooks, 41, who skied in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

While that’s some impressive firepower for a community race, it’s typical when the community is Anchorage.

Photo courtesy of Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage

Put a thousand Alaskans in a ski race and you’re bound to encounter a few Olympians. Tenth-place in the women’s 50K freestyle went to Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, a 2014 and 2018 Olympian. Victory in the women’s 40K classic went to 62-year-old Sue Forbes, a member of the 1992 Olympic team.

In all, Sunday’s Tour of Anchorage boasted 1,028 finishers in point-to-point ski races in both techniques at three distances. The 50K freestyle, the Tour’s premier event, took 270 skiers 31 miles from the Hillside to Kincaid Park.

Leading the way was O’Harra, a three-time champion who — like Frankowski, Swirbul and Brooks — is a veteran of Alaska Pacific University’s vaunted nordic ski club. His previous Tour wins came last year and in 2017.

O’Harra finished in 2:06:55.9, about 80 seconds ahead of 19-year-old UAA skier Matt Seline. Hunter Wonders, who also trained with O’Harra at APU, was nine seconds behind Seline in third place.

O’Harra, 27, and Wonders, 25, both were coming off top-20 efforts in last week’s 50-kilometer American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin — Wonders was 11th and O’Harra was 16th.

Also doing back-to-back 50Ks was Annika Landis, 26, who finished third in the women’s 50K Sunday behind Frankowski and Swirbul. An assistant ski coach at Harvard University, Landis placed 13th in the Birkie.

Will Ross topped the 50K bike in 1:55:46.9, nearly three minutes ahead of runnerup Jason Lamoreaux and more than 10 minutes faster than O’Harra on skis. O’Harra’s time ranked fifth among the times of 39 bikers.

Winners in each of Sunday’s races:

Tour of Anchorage
Skiing

Men’s 50K freestyle — Thomas O’Harra, 2:06:55.9
Women’s 50K freestyle — Rosie Frankowski, 2:25:22.7
Men’s 40K freestyle — Elias Watson 1:49.11.8
Women’s 40K freestyle — Anna Engel 1:58:12.1
Men’s 25K freestyle — Derek Richardson 1:05:27.0
Women’s 25K freestyle — Marit Flora 1:15:44.8
Men’s 50K classic — Eric Auten 2:59.16.7
Women’s 50K classic — Alexandra Otto 2:56.43.1
Men’s 40K classic — Jim Falconer 2:10.02.7
Women’s 40K classic — Susan Forbes 2:48:10.0
Men’s 25K classic — Rory Stark 1:33:45.6
Women’s 25K classic — Beatrix Brogan 1:42:24.6
Fat biking
Men’s 50K — Will Ross 1:55:46.9
Women’s 50K — Melanie Beale 2:36:22.3
Men’s 40K — Bruce Giffen 2:00:32.7
Women’s 40K — Rose Garner 1:56:10.9
Men’s 25K — Fred Stewart 1:11:46.0
Women’s 25K — Bri Keifer 1:27:33.5

Photo courtesy of Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage

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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

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