From Norway to Nationals: Telemark’s March Madness
by Maggie Doherty
In sports, the month of March means championships and for the US Telemark team, this was doubly true. Athletes claimed podium spots on both the international and national level and scored history making victories. Norway played host to the World Cup Finals, the World Junior Championships and the World Championships. Twelve members of the US Telemark National and Regional teams competed in the events in Hafjell and Rjukan. The US team not only had a strong showing in numbers but also on the race course. Hafjell hosted the World Cup Finals and World Junior Championships, Madi McKinstry placed third in the GS and her solid racing in the Sprint and Classic elevated her to the podium as the bronze medal winner for the women’s World Junior Championship title. At the 1994 Olympic village of Hafjell, members of the US team tallied many strong top-twenty and top-ten finishes.
From Hafjell, the team travelled to Rjukan for the World Championships, an event held every second year. Despite limited snow, members of the US squad laid down solid runs. For Shane Anderson, who spent the entire winter in Europe competing in all of the World Cup races, the final days in Rjukan demonstrated his strength as a seasoned veteran. With plans to retire after this winter, Shane ended his World Cup career with two top ten finishes: 9th in both the GS and the Sprint Classic. His successful World Cup season left him with seven top-ten finishes. Cory Snyder posted his best finish of the year, 10th in the GS. Madi McKinstry had the top finish for the American women with 12th in the Classic. In the exhibition of the Parallel Sprint, Charlie Dresen found himself atop the podium as the victor. All events were televised and were available for viewing via the Internet for those fans back home in the States who were willing to watch the competition at 3 a.m.
With the World Championships ending on March 19th and the 2011 US Nationals Championships beginning on the 24th in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, those athletes who competed in Europe had little time to rest and recover from jet lag between the two major events. The four day racing competition proved that the tides have changed for US telemark racing. Youth ruled the top spots and Madi McKinstry continued her strong skiing streak and made history as the youngest women to win the National Title. McKinstry made a clean sweep of Nationals by winning all four races. Shane Anderson continued his second year reign as the men’s National Champion. Yet youth and newcomers alike found themselves on the podium. Also, in the youth divisions in both the girl’s and boy’s divisions showed off the promise of future telemark racers. In the women’s Elite category, D-team member Zoe Taylor swept the silver in all events and ended her year as 2nd Overall. In a tight race for third place, Regional team member Maggie Doherty used her combined bronze placing in the GS and the Sprint Classic to finish for 3rd Overall. For the men, the A-team swept the podium. Cory Snyder, making his first appearance on home soil since January took 2nd Overall followed by Jeff Gay in 3rd. There were 39 total competitors at Nationals.
US Nationals capped off an exciting and successful season for many of the US athletes. There were five regional USTSA sanctioned races held in the US and many members of the National, Development and Regional teams competed in World Cup races in Europe. Congratulations to all of the racers, new and old, first-timers and seasoned veterans. It truly is an exciting time for telemark racing in the US!