Ida leading her quarterfinal heat up the second hill. In the next shot, she turns around to check on the size of her lead...
Did you hear? We had our first race on Sunday, a classic sprint here in Muonio! It was a pretty interesting experience. We’re used to having bizarre sprints to start the season off after last year’s 6-minute, point-to-point extravaganza in West Yellowstone, but Muonio took things in the opposite direction. The races were only 780 meters long for women and 1110 meters for men, and indeed started and ended in different places. They also included some sharp corners (in the men’s race, I think they skied around a branch in the snow at the far point on the course) and a sharp downhill turn leading into the finishing stretch.
Personally, I think I forgot how to race, because I really didn’t go fast in the sprint! I also put my pole between my skis going around one of the sharp corners and struggled not to fall down… always a good feeling when the course is lined with European coaches watching you. I didn’t make a good name for America, I’m afraid.
Ollie cheering for Ida.
Luckily, not everyone was as silly or clumsy as me. Ida killed it in the qualifier, finishing second, and Hannah and Pat would have been in the heats too if they had run a full schedule. But because of the cold and the narrowness of the course, the organizers opted to do 4 heats of 4 instead of 5 heats of 6, so Hannah and Pat got to sit the afternoon out after all.
Which meant we all got to cheer for Ida as she cruised through the heats. Yay Ida!
Ida outsprinting a Kazakh girl in her semifinal heat.
It was fun to watch all the heats – there were some really good skiers, and the women’s final came down to a toe-slide. But it was cold. Really cold. I decided to take portraits of my teammates defending themselves against the cold. Here’s the series.