Hundreds of cross-country skiers virtually had West Yellowstone, Mont. to themselves over Thanksgiving week.
That included 26 Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation active skiers or alumni who competed in their first races of the 2010-11 winter season.
They were the USSA SuperTour Series races consisting of the first-ever SuperTour Double Sprint Showdown on Thanksgiving morning, followed by freestyle races Friday, Nov. 26 and classic Nov. 27.
SVSEF Olympic Development Team coach Travis Jones said, "We arrived at West Yellowstone Nov. 19 just beating one of the biggest fall storms in memory in the West.
"Snow continued to fall through early part of the week, closing every road into West Yellowstone and stranding scores of skiers in Ashton, Idaho for several days.
"The skiing was great! Lots of new snow, and high temperatures in the low single digits. Everyone got bundled up and did some great training. We have fine tuning to do, but we're off to a great start!"
Although the athletes didn't get a rest day—the storm finally broke Tuesday, Nov. 23 and the sprints started two days later—the top skiers have a month to rest before Minneapolis races Jan. 22-23.
Highlights for SVSEF at West Yellowstone included:
Mike Sinnott, 25, and Colin Rodgers, 29, placing 3-4 in Thursday's Sprint Showdown 1.45-kilometer free sprint and 6-7 overall in the combined;
Annie Pokorny, 18, the top Older Junior and seventh overall in the women's 1.5k classic sprint;
Sinnott's fifth-place finish (3rd Senior) out of 116 finishers in Friday's 15k freestyle Super Tour race; Pokorny's OJ bronze medal in 10k skate;
And a J2 victory for 15-year-old Maggie Williams in Saturday's women's 5k classic event. Sinnott had another solid finish, ending up in 10th place of 123 skiers in the 10k classic.
Results and placings by event:
Nov. 25, Sprint Showdown combined: 5—Reid Pletcher (Univ. of Colorado). 6—Mike Sinnott. 7—Colin Rodgers. 36—Max Christman. 48—Will Spiller. 56—Scotty Phelan.
Nov. 26, women's 10k classic: 1—Kate Fitzgerald, 23, APU Nordic 27:56. 15—Alexa Turzian, 22, Univ. of Colorado 30:14 (3rd U-23). 24—Annie Pokorny, 18, 31:25 (3rd OJ). 38—Sloan Storey, 16, 32:41 (4th J1). 42—Mali Noyes, 21, Univ. of Utah 33:20 (12th U-23). 46—Kelsey Dickinson, 17, 33:41 (7th J1). 47—Carrie Heagney, 19, 33:47 (12th OJ). 50—Morgan Atkinson, 17, 33:54 (8th J1). DNF—Emily Williams (68 skiers).
Nov. 26, men's 15k classic: 1—Tad Elliott, 22, CXC 35:49. 5—Mike Sinnott, 25, 36:10 (3rd Senior). 25—Colin Rodgers, 29, 38:30 (18th Senior). 27—Matt Gelso, 22, 38:55 (7th U-23). 65—Scotty Phelan, 19, 42:32 (8th OJ). 71—Torin Tucker, 17, 42:53 (5th J1). 94—Andrew Pfeiffer, 17, 45:32 (11th J1). 99—Jackson Long, 16, 46:07 (15th J1). 104—Gray Riedinger, 17, 47:36 (18th J1)—116 skiers.
Nov. 27, junior men's 5k classic: 1—Evan Weinman (Steamboat Springs) 15:29. 15—Jake Adicoff, 15, 18:07 (14th J2)—22 skiers. Junior women's 5k classic: 1—Madison Keeffe (Steamboat Springs) 17:51. 10—Elana King-Nakaoka, 15, 20:09 (9th J2). 12—Katie Feldman, 14, 20:35 (11th J2)—18 skiers.
Nov. 27, men's 10k classic: 1—Leif Zimmermann, 27, Bridger Ski Foundation 26:39. 10—Sinnott, 25, 27:13. 18—Reid Pletcher, 22, 27:39 (5th U-23). 27—Rodgers, 29, 28:09. 31—Gelso, 22, 28:26. 68—Max Christman, 18, 30:56 (9th OJ). 75—Tucker, 17, 31:15 (6th J1). 84—Spiller, 18, 31:54 (16th OJ). 88—Pfeiffer, 17, 32:09 (9th J1). 96—Brandon Wade, 17, 32:43 (13th J1). 102—Ketchum Wilt, 16, 33:20 (15th J1). 111—Zach Lindahl, 16, 35:07 (22nd J1)—123 skiers.
Nov. 27, women's 5k classic: 1—Kristina Strandberg, 35, XC Oregon 16:13. 28—Maggie Williams, 15, 18:14 (1st J2). 30—Alexa Turzian, 22, 18:17 (11th U-23). 43—Morgan Atkinson, 17, 18:49 (5th J1). 53—Maranda Stopol, 16, 19:16 (7th J1). 59—Carrie Heagney, 19, 19:27 (16th OJ). 64—Emily Williams, 17, 19:56 (11th J1). 80—Kaitlyn Landis, 16, 22:22 (19th J1)—84 skiers.