Four CXC Team athletes competed in the 42k freestyle and classic marathons at the SISU Ski Fest, January 9 in Ironwood, Michigan. Chris Pappathopoulos and Andy Brown skied in the classic event, while Nick Power and Cory Ellertson raced in the freestyle event. With low snow, organizers and volunteers worked hard to put on a very successful race.
In the men’s classic race, Chris Pappathopoulos knew when to conserve his energy and when to charge to the finish throughout the 42k course. Despite freshly fallen snow on the classic tracks causing them to be slower for the leading pack, Pappathopoulos skied to a convincing first place finish with a 9:11 minute lead over teammate Andy Brown who finished second.
“Race morning found a light snow falling which can result in a bit of a stressful situation for racers. Said Pappathopoulos. Should you ski in a pack to conserve energy or blaze a trail through the fresh snow? Having skis that are fast in a variety of conditions is critical in these situations. I was able to break away toward the end of the first lap and maintain the lead into Ironwood. Every year the race is a little better than the previous year. I can’t wait until next year.”
“After taking a wrong turn in last years SISU Classic Marathon which added 10k to the race, I was eager to get some redemption. Said Andy Brown. Conditions were great with new snow in the low teens. Chris hammered off the front at around 15k, and I pleasantly skied solo into second place.”
In the men’s 42k freestyle race, the finish was not as convincing. CXC Team alumni Matt Liebsch grabbed first place just 18 seconds ahead of Alex Vanias of Traverse City, MI. CXC Team athletes Nick Power and Cory Ellertson finished third and seventh overall, respectively.
“This was an awesome race and a great first skate marathon for me. Said Nick Power. The Sisu Marathon was a great experience and a race I was able to learn from.”
“I did not get the result I was hoping for in this race, but I had really fast skis which I was happy about.” Said Cory Ellertson.
Teton Ridge Classic – Bozeman, Montana
Top classic podium spots for CXC Team members not only happened in Ironwood, Michigan, they also took place in Bozeman, Montana during the 26k Teton Ridge Classic Race, where Duncan Douglas skied to a first place finish. This is a one of a kind mass start classic race set in a remote area with a picturesque backdrop, which draws people from all over to compete. The course consists of a 14k loop with 900 ft of climbing throughout the Teton Ridge.
Snow falling throughout the race, forced the lead pack to take turns breaking in the tracks. Douglas stayed in the top ten until 11k, where he put in a strong surge to break away from the pack. Douglas narrowly secured first place just five seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
“This was my first time racing the Teton Ridge Classic race which has a strong master field. Said Douglas. In the last couple kilometers I ended up splitting into a two man lead group and gapped second place 3km from the finish on a short steep hill. Overall, Teton Ridge Classic is a must do experience. It was well worth the trip with a fun Crowd in a beautiful Setting.”