Nordic ski club dominates in Colorado

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By The Staff

Despite generally low snow this winter, Southwest Nordic Ski Club was lucky to have two different events within reasonable driving distance on the same day and fielded 27 racers between the two venues.

The larger group headed to Crested Butte, Colorado, for their famous and colorful Alley Loop races now in its 32nd year.

The distances for Alley Loop range from 1.5K all the way to marathon distance of 42K. Typically all courses start and finish on Main Street and snake through town’s quaint alleys giving the event it’s name.  

This year, due to lower snow, the race started at the Nordic Center but longer courses were still able to ski through alleys in town. Racers, as well as spectators, dress up in costumes and celebrate the event all day along the course making for colorful and fun photos of the event.

In the 1.5K race, SWNSC girls swept the podium with Anna Simakov (age 8) in first, Harper Reid (age 7) in second and Samantha Baily (age 6) in third. Liv Niklasson (age 8) raced as well but forgot to put on her timing chip. Her finish would’ve also placed her on the podium had she been counted in the timing.

In the 3K kids freestyle race, SWNSC had a large group ranging from experienced racers to kids who were on skate skis as young as 5 years old. SWNSC’s most experienced racers, Axel Niklasson (age 10) and Mila Moseley (age 9) lead SWNSC results in the 3K race. Axel Niklasson skated in a competitive field that included the Gunnison ski team boys for a top five finish, while Moseley had an exciting sprint finish with a Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club racer, missing first place by one-tenth of a second in a lunge for the finish line.  

Phoebe Reid (age 10) skated to third place, while Aida Saleh (age 9) and Madalyn Baily (age 9) skied to fourth and fifth, respectively, all in the girls ages 8-11 category.  Quanah Moseley (age 5) skated to second place in boys ages 7 and under.

One racer chose to compete in the 5K adult event: Alexandra (Sasha) Simakov (age 11) did the 5K with her mom as her first skate race, finishing third in her category, and was 10th female overall across the finish line.

Adult members of the SWNSC also raced.

In the 42K classic (traditional technique) marathon, both Sanna Sevanto and Clay Moseley took third overall in the men’s and women’s categories.

In the 42K freestyle (skate technique) race, Tarik Saleh posted an 11th place finish in the men’s 40-49 category.  

Kevin Reid represented SWNSC in the 21K classic race and finished second in men ages 40-49. In the 21K freestyle race Scott Baily was eighth, Siobhan Niklasson was fifth, Paul Graham was 13th and Jeri Graham was 10th in their respective categories. Jean Dewart participated in her first Alley Loop racing the 10K freestyle race and finished seventh in her category.

In the 5K race, Anders Niklasson was first in his category,  and Evgenya Simakov, who raced alongside her 11-year-old daughter, was third in her category.

Some SWN Ski Kids chose to attend the closer-to-home Pagosa Nordic Club’s BB Gun Biathlon race in Pagosa Springs.

Biathlon is the well-known Olympic sport with roots from Scandinavian and Russian military training.  It blends cross-country skiing with shooting, putting a premium on efficient ski and shooting technique that demands a high level of breath control during the shooting segments. Brothers, Zach, Levi and Luke Gibson (ages 8, 7 and 5), swept the podium in the kids event there.

Next up for Southwest Nordic Ski Club skiers is the famous Leadville Loppet race on Feb. 17.