Last Friday, the Lake County Nordic team competed in a unique race. It was more akin to an adventure course than the typical groomed ski trails that they normally race on.
The race started at the base of the Loveland Valley Ski Area just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel. It followed a bike path that paralleled Interstate 70 on a descent to the townsite of Bakerville. The 7.5 kilometer course had been partially groomed, but it was full of fresh snow and the grooming was very narrow. One misstep to the side meant sinking into a mix of powder and facets. Skiers could skate some sections but had to double pole in others.
“This is going to be the hardest race of the season,” remarked Lake County High School U.S. History teacher Cody Jump before the skiers departed.
The boys were the first to descend, and this meant that the first racers had to plow through fresh snow. There was a disadvantage to being the first skiers off the line in this individual start race. Despite being one of the first starters, Jace Peters worked every part of the descent and placed second. He was only two tenths of a second out of first.
Josiah Horning was the next Lake County finisher in 12th. Elijah Wilcox recovered from some falls in the middle of the course and placed 17th. Desmond Sandoval was 25th and Izayah Baxter 27th to round out the Panthers. As a team, the Lake County boys were third, only one point behind Evergreen High School in second.
“The boys were really impressive,” Coach Karl Remsen said. “Just descending that course and staying on your feet was challenging; to do it as fast as they did was impressive.”
The girls had a slightly easier time, as they were able to follow the tracks of the boys. Rose Horning won by a few seconds, and Elona Greene was close behind in third. Brynna Lenhard placed seventh, and Avery Milne was ninth. Violet Hill recovered from a tough fall to place 11th, and Keira King was 13th. The Lake County girls won the race, besting Summit High School by two points.
“The girls have been working on their V-2 alternate a lot recently, and it showed,” said Athletic Director Mike Vagher. “I was watching them come across the last flat and they all were skiing well.”
The Nordic team will compete at home this weekend in a classic race hosted at Colorado Mountain College on Saturday, February 20. Unfortunately, there are no spectators allowed per orders of the Lake County School District and Lake County Public Health.