This past Saturday, the 12th of December, the Western Mountain Sports Nordic Ski Team put on a promising performance for the first race of their season. With a majority of the team being new this year, it was a great sampler of what the 2015/16 season has in stock. Fresh snowfall made for tough conditions during the 10 km classic race. Athletes were forced to stay on top of their technique as they ascended the two grueling climbs and many smaller hills that presented themselves over the length of each 5 km lap on course.

On the women’s side, the 10 km race was won by Hannah Smith of Crested Butte, CO in a time of 40:30. Junior Bob Maddox posted the top result for the Western women in a time of 44:42, which was good for a third place in the women’s overall. Maddox started strong and was able to prove her endurance as she was able to keep her pace through the second lap. Following Bob for the Western women was freshman Cami Sjoquist coming in fifth, and third year athlete Shelbie Ralston who grabbed seventh.

On the men’s side Western had a dominant performance by freshman Cameron Moore, who took the overall win in a time of 35:55. Just edging out his old high school rival and the brother of teammate Bob Maddox, Moore was able to out ski Colorado Mesa University skier Nate Maddox and ultimately lunge across the line for the win. Having gone out hard, grad student Isaiah St. Pierre fell off the pace of the leading pack in the second 5 km, still to come in a solid fifth overall. Finishing his first ever nordic ski race, freshman Ryan Trimble dancing across the line at just over 51 minutes and putting up in a solid effort. Also on course was Justin Barr, a Western Nordic Ski Team coach who couldn’t help but get a piece of the action himself.

Athletes Cameron Smith and Kevin Geisen chose to sit out the first race, but will be a strong addition to the team as the collegiate race weekends start. Both Geisen and Moore will be in Crested Butte again this weekend, racing the Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifying races. The first collegiate races will be held the last weekend in January at the Grand Mesa. Meanwhile, the entire team will be training hard and enjoying the holidays. -Kevin Geisen