High altitude racing and challenging courses suited Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross-country ski racers during the opening Nordic SuperTour races of the 2011-12 season Nov. 23-26 at West Yellowstone, Montana.
Thanksgiving weekend was a successful holiday for Sun Valley racers Morgan Arritola, 25, and Mike Sinnott, 26. Arritola won Friday's women's 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) freestyle race and Sinnott made it four-for-four in podium appearances, including a classic sprint victory Wednesday.
In her first time racing the SuperTour opener in several years, 2010 U.S. Olympian Arritola prevailed by 14.7 seconds over runner-up Jessie Diggins in the two-lap, individual start event. Sun Valley Nordic enthusiasts remember Minnesota's Diggins as last winter's U.S. breakout star who nipped Arritola for a podium spot at the U.S. national 30k classic technique race in Sun Valley.
Meanwhile, last winter's SuperTour men's sprint king and overall runner-up Sinnott left West Yellowstone with the overall SuperTour leader bib. His results included a third place in Friday's 15k skate race and sixth place in Saturday's 10k classic event.
The Elite field from West Yellowstone is now headed to the next Super Tour round Dec. 2-4 at Bozeman, Mt. Snow conditions permitting, the events are a freestyle sprint qualifier, next Saturday's 10k/5k skate distance race and Sunday's 15k/10k classic distance event.
Some will continue from there to the opening Nor-Am races at SilverStar in Canada, while others will return to their home bases and prepare for U.S. Nationals in January.
In the field of 220 finishers from colleges and ski clubs around the country, the SVSEF entered 20 current racers and eight other alumni at West Yellowstone. Race winners collected $750. Other SVSEF highlights were:
Nicole DeYong, 29, coming away with four Senior Women's podiums including fourth- and fifth-place overall finishes in Saturday's 5k classic and Friday's 10k skate; University of Colorado racer Reid Pletcher, 23, winning Wednesday's skate sprint; and Matthew Gelso, 23, placing third in the skate sprint and fourth overall in the men's 15k skate;
Also, Wood River High School senior Sloan Storey, 17, taking the J1 bronze with a 24th overall finish in women's 5k classic; Middlebury College's Annie Pokorny, 19, winning OJ women in 10k skate; University of Colorado's Alexa Turzian, 23, taking fourth overall in 10k skate, one minute behind Arritola;
Cole Morgan, 17, grabbing the J1 victory in skate sprint; Jack Steele, 18, placing fourth OJ in 10k classic; and Kelsey Dickinson, 18, capturing the second OJ position in women's classic sprint.
Here are results from West Yellowstone. Sinnott leads the SuperTour standings 91-76 over Vail's Sylvan Ellefson, with Gelso third at 62. Diggins tops the women with 110 points, and Arritola is fourth with 72:
Saturday's classic racing
Men's 10 kilometer (130 finishers); 1—Graeme Killick, 22, Alberta (Canada) World Cup Academy 25:24. 4—Matthew Gelso, 23, SVSEF 25:44 (2nd Senior Men). 6—Mike Sinnott, 26, SVSEF 25:57 (3rd Senior Men). 22—Reid Pletcher, 23, Univ. of Colorado 26:52 (11th Senior Men). 44—Jack Steele, 18, SVSEF 28:01 (4th OJ). 53—Max Christman, 19, Bend Nordic 28:34 (8th OJ). 62—Scott Phelan, 20, 29:04 (23rd U-23). 66—William Spiller, 19, 29:20 (11th OJ).
79—Evan Martell, 19, SVSEF 30:02 (16th OJ). 86—Ketchum Wilt, 17, SVSEF 30:41 (10th J1). 87—Gray Riedinger, 18, SVSEF 30:45 (19th OJ). 88—Stephen Pfeiffer, 16, SVSEF 30:46 (11th J1). 105—Jake Adicoff, 16, SVSEF 32:03 (18th J1). 110—Andrew Graves, 16, SVSEF 32:30 (20th J1). 127—Gunnar Ohlson, 18, SVSEF 36:09 (26th OJ).
Women's 5 kilometer (90 finishers): 1—Jessie Diggins, 20, CXC Team 14:58. 4—Nicole DeYong, 29, SVSEF 15:14 (3rd Senior Women). 7—Morgan Arritola, 25, SVSEF 15:29 (4th Senior Women). 15—Alexa Turzian, 23, Univ. of Colorado 16:09 (10th Senior Women).
24—Sloan Storey, 17, SVSEF 16:35 (3rd J1). 42—Carrie Heagney, 20, Montana State Univ. 17:17 (16th U-23). 45—Kelsey Dickinson, 18, SVSEF 17:26 (7th OJ). 46—Margaret Pope, 17, SVSEF 17:31 (7th J1). 49—Maranda Stopol, 17, SVSEF 17:34 (9th J1). 57—Morgan Atkinson, 18, SVSEF 17:52 (10th OJ).
Friday's freestyle racing
Women's 10 kilometer (71 finishers): 1—Morgan Arritola, 25, SVSEF 26:56. 4—Alexa Turzian, 23, Univ. of Colorado 27:56 (2nd Senior Women). 5—Nicole DeYong, 29, SVSEF 28:03 (3rd Senior Women). 21—Annie Pokorny, 19, Middlebury College 30:01 (1st OJ). 25—Carrie Heagney, 20, Montana State Univ. 30:26 (9th U-23). 33—Kristen Monahan, 24, SVSEF 31:07 (13th Senior Women).
Men's 15 kilometer (104 finishers): 1—Leif Zimmermann, 28, Bridger Ski Foundation 37:13. 3—Mike Sinnott, 26, SVSEF 37:40.2 (3rd Senior Men). 4—Matthew Gelso, 23, SVSEF 37:40.4 (4th Senior Men). 42—Cole Morgan, 17, SVSEF 41:36 (4th J1). 47—Jack Steele, 18, SVSEF 41:52 (7th OJ). 51—Daniel Sundali, 19, Middlebury College 42:09 (8th OJ). 61—Scott Phelan, 20, 42:49 (21st U-23). 65—Kevin Bogler, 18, SVSEF 43:02 (10th OJ). 71—Evan Martell, 19, SVSEF 43:39 (12th OJ). 78—William Spiller, 19, 44:13 (15th OJ).
Wednesday's sprint racing
Men's skate sprint (92 finishers): 1—Reid Pletcher, 23, Univ. of Colorado 3:22.95 (1st Senior Men). 2—Mike Sinnott, 26, SVSEF 3:23.20 (2nd Senior Men). 3—Matthew Gelso, 23, SVSEF (3rd Senior Men) 3:24.77. 21—Cole Morgan, 17, SVSEF 3:35.34 (1st J1). 31—Scott Phelan, 20, 3:40.05 (11th U-23).
Women's skate sprint (60 finishers): 1—Caitlin Gregg, 31, CXC 3:51.12. 5—Nicole DeYong, 29, SVSEFth 4:06.30 (3rd Senior Women). 7—Morgan Arritola, 25, SVSEF 4:09.01 (4th Senior Women).
Men's classic sprint (69 finishers): 1—Mike Sinnott, 26, SVSEF 3:47.26 (1st Senior Men). 16—Matthew Gelso, 23, SVSEF 3:57.22 (7th Senior Men).
Women's classic sprint (47 finishers): 1—Jessie Diggins, 20, CXC 4:36.94. 3—Nicole DeYong, 29, SVSEF 4:38.17 (2nd Senior Women). 7—Morgan Arritola, 25, SVSEF 4:47.42 (4th Senior Women). 15—Kelsey Dickinson, 18, SVSEF 4:58.98 (2nd OJ).