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Autumn News 2008
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April 1 - 2008 Race Calendar
May 5 - Nail Can Hill Assorted
May 8 - Technical Delegate Training
May 23 - National Calendar Review
May 30 - China Summer Ski Tour
June 4 - China #2 With Pics
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The Australian Team goes for a new travel image
China Summer Ski Tour, May 2008

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Autumn 2008 Updates

June 4 - China #2 With Pics

The Australian Team from the China Summer Ski Tour has returned home after mixed results in the second sprint at Changbai Mountain. Esther Bottomley finished her tour with 8th place after the final rounds, while the van der Ploeg brothers unfortunately missed out on the finals. For all three it was a great experience with at least some finals action against some of the world's best sprinters.

Bottomley qualified 9th, and easily made it through the first round of heats. In the next round she was unlucky to be in a slow semi-final that saw only two athletes qualify for the final compared to four from the other semi. In the B-final Bottomley won the start and lead for most of the race before being taken in the final straight by Norwegian Ida G Pedersen (one of the twins) to end up 2nd and 8th overall. The A-final was won by Hilde G Pedersen.

"In our semi the lowest ranked skier - a Chinese girl - jumped the gun but no false start was called," said Bottomley. "She took the lead then slowed the pace right down. It took a while to overtake her, and by then it was too late. I was just outlunged for 3rd place, but it didn't matter anyway because we both went into the B-final on times."

After a fine 18th and 23rd place in the first race against a tough men's field Mark and Neil van der Ploeg managed just 35th and 36th in the qualification time trial for the second sprint. Conditions were considerably different for the second event, as new sucky snow had fallen overnight and the track was intially a lot slower. The A-final was won by Anders Hogberg from Sweden ahead of Bjorn Lind.

Results and reports are available on the Nordic Ways website.

Some images of the Australian athletes in China:

Mark and Neil VDP on the Great Wall

Esther Bottomley leads the B-final in race 2

Mark VDP in the quarter final in race 1

Neil VDP in the quarter-final in race 1

Esther Bottomley on the way to the start-line for the B-final

May 30 - China Summer Ski Tour

Australian Team members Esther Bottomley, Neil van der Ploeg and Mark van der Ploeg travelled to China a week ago for the China Summer Ski Tour. Originally there was supposed to be three sprint events in the tour, including one in Inner Mongolia, however the series was reduced to two sprints at Changbai Mountain. Approximately 50 European athletes were flown in for the events to compete against a similar number of Chinese athletes (and the Australians of course!)

In the first event at Changbai Mountain today Bottomley had the best result of the Australians, making it through to the semi-finals after qualifying in 20th place out of 40 starters. Finishing 5th in the B-final she was 11th overall. Mark VDP and Neil VDP qualified for the finals in 21st and 23rd place out of 55 starters, and then ended up in 18th and 23rd after being knocked out in the quarter-finals. 2006 Olympic gold medalist Bjorn Lind from Sweden won the men's A-final, while Hanna Falk from Sweden won the women's final. More details from the finals are available on the NordicWays website. The next sprint is tomorrow.

The Australians in China - Mark, Esther, and Neil

Mt Beauty 1/2 Marathon Weekend
On Saturday May 24 the annual Mt Beauty 1/2 Marathon, 10km, and 3km running events were held in north-east Victoria, organised by Kangaroo Hoppet Inc and the Mt Beauty Chamber of Commerce. With a combined Victorian/NSW Junior Team training camp and many National Team members around as well there was a large percentage of cross country skiers in Mt Beauty for the weekend. The full results from the competitions are available on the Mt Beauty website.

As the 21km run is the first leg of the Great Alpine Challenge it is interesting to note the places of the top cross country skiers. Cameron Morton was second overall in the race in the time of 1:18:10, however in the next two and half minutes there were another three skiers - Ian Franzke in 3rd, Andy Kromar in 4th, and Ben Sim in 6th place. Belinda Phillips was the first of the recognised female skiers in the time of 1:44:06, which put her in 5th place amongst the women.

In th 10km event Andrew Mock won the 10km event in a PB time of 33:46, with NSW junior Callum Watson having a great run to be 3rd overall just ahead of Paul Murray and Chris Darlington. Chloe McConville was the first woman in 39:42 - not too bad for someone spending most of their time on the road bike or on rollerskis. In the 3km event Victorian junior Jaxon Merritt was first, with Siobhan Jones from NSW the first female and second overall.

May 23 - National Calendar Review

Ski Australia Cross Country (SAXC) has established a committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the cross country race calendar. The review will be conducted during the 2008 winter and the Review Committee led by Brian Keeble will report back to the SAXC in October. SAXC has identified seven areas of issues that it would like the Review Committee to examine. However, the review is not limited to these seven issues and additional issues may be added.

  • FIS Points Races
  • Combined Senior and Junior National Distance Championship Races
  • Combined Senior and Junior National Sprint Championship Races
  • National Sprint Championship Races
  • Senior Distance National Championship Races.
  • National Junior Champions (Male and Female)
  • Weekday Championship Races

The calendar review discussion paper and questionaire are available here to download:

2008 Calendar Review Discussion Paper
2008 Calendar Review Questionnaire

The questionnaire can be submitted to the Review Committee by post or email to the following addresses:

Brian Keeble
PO Box 9
Mt Beauty, 3699

brian_keeble @ bigpond.com

May 8 - Technical Delegate Training

The Cross Country Committee of Ski and Snowboard Australia (SAXC) is planning to run the following Technical Delegate (TD) courses this year:

Sunday 15th June, 2008 - Level 3 National Technical Delegate Course - Jindabyne
Monday 25th August - Wednesday 27th August, 2008 - Level 4 International Technical Delegate Course - Falls Creek

The Level 4 course is open only to existing Level 3 TD's. Some Level 3 TD's "in training" may be fast tracked into the Level 4 course at the discretion of Australian TD Coordinator Rob Barrow. More details of the Level 4 course will be available soon. Details for the Level 3 course are available below.

Level 3 Technical Delegate Course
The National TD Course has been developed in Australia over several years and is sanctioned by FIS. The course has three components - a theory component (off snow), an open book exam component (at home) and a practical component (on snow).

The "off snow" theory component will be conducted by Brian Keeble on Sunday 15th June (9.30 am to 6.00 pm.) at Jindabyne at a venue to be decided. Candidates will be asked to provide their own transport, accommodation (if needed) and lunch. The organisers will provide the venue, course material and morning and afternoon tea. A course fee of $50 will be charged to cover course costs.

A minimum number of 4 candidates will be required to make the course viable. The course will be open to candidates from Victoria, NSW and the ACT. This will be the only National TD course conducted in Australia this year.

At the end of the theory component candidates will be handed an open book exam which they will take away, work on at home and return to Brian Keeble by Friday 4th July.

The "on snow" practical component will be completed sometime during this winter. The candidates will be required to "shadow" an experienced Level 4 TD at a designated XC race, complete a "shadow" TD Report, participate in all Jury meetings and take part in all course inspections. Candidates will be asked to provide their own transport, accommodation and lunch. There will be no course fee for this component.

Candidates who wish to attend a National TD course should be able to satisfy a majority of the following criteria.

  • Experience as a volunteer at XC ski races,
  • Experience at being a Race Organiser (Chief of Race, Chief of Course, Race Secretary etc),
  • Have a reasonable understanding of the rules of XC ski racing,
  • Be able to ski all types of courses in both techniques (classic and skating),
  • A XC ski racing background as a competitor,
  • Decision making skills,
  • Experience at chairing meetings.

XC skiing desperately needs to develop a larger pool of National TD's so that a qualified TD's can be appointed to all Club, State and National XC ski races in Australia.

If you are interested in participating in this course please contact Brian Keeble as soon as possible - but no later than 30th May.

Brian Keeble
PO Box 9, Mt Beauty, Vic, 3699
Phone :(03) 57544910
Email: brian_keeble @ bigpond.com

May 5 - Nail Can Hill Assorted

Nail Can Hill Ride/Run - May 3/4
Last weekend a pile of Australian XC Ski Team athletes competed in the Nail Can Hill events in Albury. In the Nail Can Hill Ride on Saturday it was a van der Ploeg double, with Neil VDP setting a new course record about 3 minutes ahead of Mark VDP. Simon Flower was up in contention for the podium also until he flatted about 2/3 of the way through the race. The next day in the Nail Can Hill Run Ben Sim was the highest placed of the cross country skiers in 10th place, with Simon Flower close behind in 11th. Results of other regular cross country ski racers are listed below, all are National Team unless otherwise indicated. A record 1549 athletes finished the 11.3km race.

1 - 38:24 - Jeremy Horne (7-time Nail Can Hill winner)
10 - 42:10 - Ben Sim
11 - 42:54 - Simon Flower
12 - 43:00 - Ian Franzke (former National XC Development Team)
15 - 43:34 - Chris Darlington
24 - 44:57 - Mark van der Ploeg
32 - 45:59 - Leon Spiller
37 - 46:35 - Paul Murray
43 - 47:11 - Mark Pollock (Victorian Junior Squad + Wangaratta Ski Club)
82 - 49:55 - Cameron Dickinson (Wangaratta Ski Club)
96 - 50:31 - Daniel van der Ploeg (former National Team)
103 - 50:51 - Alex Almoukov
106 - 50:56 - Ben Derrick (former National Team, winner of Nail Can Hill run in 2000, mutliple Kangaroo Hoppet winner, etc etc)
112 - 51:08 - Nick Almoukov (NSW Team Coach)
147 - 52:35 - Michele Forrer (BNSC Ski Club, 11th 2007 Kangaroo Hoppet)
245 - 56:37 - Esther Bottomley
248 - 56:42 - Finn Marsland (National Team Coach)

Mark van der Ploeg also won the Iron Man title, for the best combined time for the Nail Can Hill Run and Ride.

New Zealand Races Moved to August
The Australia - New Zealand Cup races orginally scheduled for September have been moved back into August. The new dates are now August 14, 16 and 17. The ammended Race Calendar has been posted on this site.

Hoppet Registration Open
On-line registration for the 2008 Kangaroo Hoppet has been open for several weeks now. Go to www.hoppet.com.au and follow the link to 2008 Registration.

April 1 - 2008 Race Calendar

No it's not an April Fools joke, the 2008 Race Calendar is up. It has been finalised for over a month now, but we just hadn't gotten around to posting it. Sorry about the delay, and you can stop sending your abusive emails now.

The highlight of the season will undoubtedly be the inaugural southern hemisphere World Cup event at Falls Creek in the middle of August. The top 30 male and female World Cup athletes are being flown out courtesy of our good friends FIS. Earthworks are currently underway to create Australia's first full size cross country ski stadium adjacent to Rocky Valley Dam. With prize money of CHF100,000 up for grabs and the increased Australian World Cup quota for the host nation, this certainly looks to be an event to remember. The Australian government is kicking in with full-time athlete scholarships for the top 10 Australian men and women, so look out for our athletes to be in great form and to give the internationals a run for their money on home snow. Yeeharrrr!

Yes, that was the April Fools part. Undoubtedly no-one fell for it. Unlike the editor here listening to JJJ this morning.

XC is the official website of the Skiing Australia Cross Country Committee. It is produced with the assistance of the Australian Sports Commission and the Kangaroo Hoppet. The editor can be contacted via info@hoppet.com.au.