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Winter News 2005
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July 2 - Raymond Wins Birke Classic
July 10 - More Racing From Falls Creek
July 15 - Catching Up North of the Border
July 17 - Victorian Junior Championships
July 22 - Entry Forms
(Plus Cooma Open)
July 26 - Assorted Results
July 27 - Victorian Citizen Race Update
July 31 - Aus 15/30 and Vic Sprints
August 3 - Sundeck Cup
August 8 - Racing Action at Perisher Valley
August 13 - AUS/NZ Cup
August 14 - AUS/NZ Cup Part 2
August 16 - Calder Out For Australian Season
August 22 - Australian Championship Wrap-Up
August 27 - Sim and Brumley win Kangaroo Hoppet
September 15 - 2005 National Rankings

Summer News 2005-2006


Ben Derrick and Tim Retchford practise head-to-head cornering
National Team Training Camp, Falls Creek, July 2005
Photo by David De Gama

2005 Race Calendar
2005 Race Results
Race Licences
National Selection
International Selection

Australian Team
2004/2005 Teams
2004 Distance Rankings
2004 Sprint Rankings

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Falls Creek
Lake Mountain
Mt Hotham

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Winter 2005 Updates

September 15 - 2005 National Rankings

Provisional National Rankings for Sprint and Distance have now been calculated and posted on this website. If anyone thinks they have found an error please report it to the editor via the link at the bottom of this page. Provisional National Teams for 2005-2006 have also been posted - please note that these teams include athletes who have qualified for the team via FIS points and National Rankings, and also some discretionary selections have also been included. The final teams are also subject to each athlete accepting the invitation and the requirements of team membership.

2005 Distance Rankings
2005 Sprint Rankings
2005/2006 Provisional National Team

August 27 - Sim and Brumley Win Kangaroo Hoppet

Today Ben Sim became the first ever junior skier to win the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet, ahead of Raul Olle from Estonia and Francois Soulie from France. Clare-Louise Brumley made it an Australian double, claiming back to back wins in the women's 42km race. More than 1000 competitors from 22 countries took part in the three race distances of 42km, 21km and 7km. Conditions for the event were near perfect, with a good freeze overnight keeping the tracks hard and fast, and brilliant sunshine seeing many competitors and spectators sporting T-shirts. The main event was started by Victorian Deputy Premier John Thwaites, who also competed in the 7km Joey Hoppet event.

The international field in the men's event was tougher this year, with Olle one of the world's leading cross country marathon skiers and a former winner of the Vasaloppet in Sweden. At the 15km mark the leading group was down to four athletes - Olle, Soulie and four-time Hoppet winner Ben Derrick from Falls Creek - when Sim made his decisive move with a sprint after the "Paralyser", the longest hill on the course. Soulie was caught taking a drink and Derrick tried to bridge the gap with Olle on his tail, however after the initial gap Sim put in a big effort to consolidate his lead. Soulie rejoined Derrick and Olle at the start of the second 21km loop, but by the time they started to work together Sim was gone. Soulie turned up the screws slowly the second time up the Paralyser, taking Olle with him and dropping Derrick. Sim went on to win by nearly a minute and a half in the time of 1:38:33, with Olle overtaking Soulie on the last downhill one kilometre from the finish to get up for second place by 13 seconds.

Brumley escaped from the other female competitors right from the start, and went on to win in the time of 1:56:57 over 6 minutes ahead of second place. The battle for second place see-sawed on the first lap, with Melvey hauled in by Phillips and Bottomley over the top of the course at about the 18km mark. Bottomley's better downhill skills gave her a good gap over Phillips as they came through for the second lap, and the other women were unable to bring back the gap. Melvey caught Phillips again early in the second lap, and went to take third place just over a minute behind Bottomley.

Full results will be posted on the Kangaroo Hoppet website.

The 42km event was also the final race in the 2005 FIS Australia / New Zealand Cup, the only Continental Cup series in the southern hemisphere. With her second place today Esther Bottomley has managed to clinch victory in the series by just 20 points, with 320 points ahead of Clare-Louise Brumley's 300. Ben Sim won the men's series easily, with 380 points ahead well clear from Mark Raymond with 215 points.

August 22 - Australian Championship Wrap-Up

The final events of the 2005 Australian Championship and Australian Junior Championship were on last weekend at Perisher Valley in NSW. With rain and storm winds forecast competitors and officials were lucky to get away with some light rain before the start of the races on Saturday and snow easing up during the races on Sunday.

Freestyle Races - Saturday August 20
In the women's 5km Clare-Louise Brumley from Templestowe kept her unbeaten run of the season intact, winning by over a minute ahead of Esther Bottomley. Camille Melvey was only 6 seconds behind Bottomley in 3rd place, with Belinda Phillips in 4th and Jane Scheer in 5th. There was a close race between the top junior girls, with Jaffa Withers taking 6th place overall just 10 seconds ahead of d'Arcy Baxter, who was also the first in the U16 class. There were some good close results further down the list as well, with Sally Cunningham 5 seconds ahead of Aimee Watson, and 3just seconds separating Juliette Booth, Clare Bradbury and Sarah Slattery. In the younger classes Elizabeth Pilat was the first in the U14 2.5km freestyle and Siobhan Jones the winner of the U12.

In the men's 10km freestyle NSW Institute of Sport skier Ben Sim added another Open and Junior Australian title to his collection, winning by 57 seconds ahead of Mark Raymond from Team Lake Mountain. James Rickard finished strongly to take 3rd place 20 seconds behind Raymond, with Chris Darlington 4th for the second time this season by just 4 seconds. Slovenian Gaber Lah, wax technician for the Austrian nordic combined team, took 5th. Mark van der Ploeg was the second junior in 6th place, 1.5 seconds ahead of Leon Spiller. Simon Flower was the first junior skier still eligible for the 2005/2006 junior team in 10th place overall, but he had a tough fight on his hands to hold off a very fast finishing Alex Almoukov (son of NSWIS coach Nick Almoukov) by 11 seconds after holding a 30 second lead on the first lap. In the younger junior classes Callum Watson won the U16 5km, Giles Richardson won the U14 2.5km in a close race with Matt Rostron (4 seconds back) and Brendan Jones (17 seconds back), and Alasdair Tutt won the U12 2.5km.

Classic Races - Sunday August 21
It was one of those tricky waxing days with variable conditions changing throughout the events and nothing really working that well everywhere. Some of the combinations used include "hairies", red stick, Rex orange klister, covered universal klister, and the new waxless bases (zeros, zetas, whatever you want to call them). Clare-Louise Brumley cleaned up the women's field again in the 5km classic, with Camille Melvey thriving in the difficult conditions to get up over Esther Bottomley for second place. Belinds Phillips was 4th once again. This time it was Sally Cunningham's turn to be the first junior, making a 25 second turnaround on Aimee Watson in the last 1.5km to take 5th place. Julietee Booth was the first U16 skier in 7th overall, 11 seconds ahead of d'Arcy Baxter who was in turn 4 seconds ahead of Jaffa Withers. In the shorter distances there were no surprises, Elizabeth Pilat and Siobhan Jones winning again in the U14 and U12.

At about the 3.5km mark in the men's 10km classic Ben Sim held a 10 second lead over NSWIS team-mate Chris Darlington, with Mark Raymond 6 second back in third. A lap later Darlington had dropped out of contention but Raymond had closed the gap to Sim down to just 4 seconds. Receiving this time split Sim buried himself over the closing 1.5km and extended his lead to 19 seconds. Mark van der Ploeg produced one of his best races of the season to finish 4th, with Nick Almoukov similarly finding good form to take 5th. This time the first eligible junior was Ewan Watson in 8th overall, 25 seconds ahead of Neil van der Ploeg. Callum Watson , Giles Richardson, and Alasdair Tutt again won the U16, U14, and U12 races.

Open Results - Freestyle - Classic

Junior Results - Freestyle - Classic

FIS Australia / New Zealand Continental Cup
With only one race to go in the 2005 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Ben Sim has a near unassailable lead in the men's category with 280 points ahead of Chris Darlington on 183 points. Hopes of the other Australian contenders Paul Murray and Ben Derrick were dashed when they missed the last weekend of competitions due to illness. In women's overall standings Esther Bottomley leads with 240 points, however will have a tough task to hold off Clare-Louise Brumley who shares second place withCamille Melvey on 200 points. With another hundred points up for grabs in the Hoppet next weekend and Brumley the favourite to win, Bottomley would need to finish in at least 3rd place to retain a share of the lead.
Overall Standings

August 16 - Calder Out For Australian Season

Australian Cross Country Ski Team member KT Calder will miss the entire Australian racing season due to a shoulder injury. Many readers will already have noticed her conspicuous absence from results lists this winter. Calder fell heavily from her mountain bike while training with Swiss Team members Serainer Mischol and Doris Trachsel in Davos in mid-July. As well as collecting her fair share of bruises she tore several ligaments in her shoulder and spent a couple of days in the Davos hospital due to concussion. Originally she was to return to Australia in August to race in the Australian Championships and Kangaroo Hoppet, however now her arm is to remain in a sling for another month While this is a major setback for her 2006 Winter Olympic aspirations, Calder has already begun limited modified training for her upper body, and has been chalking up hours for her legs. She is expected to resume normal training mid-September, which still leaves her with two months before the opening distance World Cup races in Norway and Finland.

August 14 - AUS/NZ Cup Part 2

Today was the Sprint competition in the FIS Australia / New Zealand Cup, and after the time trial it looked to be a better day for Australia with Paul Murray qualifying 3rd behind the top two USA sprinters Torin Koos and Andy Newell. Unfortunately as the day went on Murray's endurance was not quite up to the task, and he was knocked out in the semi-final by Koos and Norwegian Eirik Bransdal. Chis Darlington qualified 12th and was knocked out in the 1/4 final by the 4th and 5th ranked skiers, Carl Swenson and Zack Simons from the USA. Simons finished first in his semi-final, with Newell scraping into the A-final by just a couple of inches ahead of Swenson. Koos won the A-final ahead of Newell, with Bransdal taking third place. Murray finished second in the B-Final behind Swenson. No FIS women's sprint was held, the unofficial women's sprint was won by Lauren Jacobs from the USA.
Full results (FIS race only).

Snowy Mountains Classic
Ben Sim won the 2005 Snowy Mountains Classic at Perisher Valley in the time of 1hour and 33 minutes - 11 minutes ahead of second placed Mark van der Ploeg , with Nick Almoukov in third. First woman was Camille Melvey, with Alina McMaster second and Jane Scheer third.

August 13 - AUS/NZ Cup

The US Ski Team made a clean sweep of the FIS Australia / New Zealand Cup 15km Classic race held at the Snowfarm in New Zealand today. US men claimed the top 7 places, with Kris Freeman walloping the field to win by 1:42 ahead of Carl Swenson. Toorin Koos, better known for his sprinting ability took 3rd place 16 seconds further back. The two Australians in the race, Paul Murray and Chris Darlington, finished 9th and 12th in the 20 skier field. There were only two starters in the women's 10km Classic, however the standard was fairly high - the winner was Olympic gold medalist Claudia Kuenzel, well clear from Morgan Arritola from the USA. Seven nations took part in the competitions. Tomorrow the AUS /NZ Cup continues at the Snowfarm with Sprint competitions in freestyle technique.
Full results

NSW Institute of Sport skier Ben Sim from Cooma won the 2005 KAC Cross Country Classic from Perisher Valley to Charlotte's Pass on Wednesday August 10. Look for the full results on the KAC website. More details on the NSW SA site.

Sundeck Cup
The inaugural Sundeck Cup was held at Perisher Valley on Thursday August 11. Initiated by Cliff Wallis, manager of the Sundeck Hotel at Perisher, the handicup event raised $2,000 towards the Towards 2010 development fund, which supports Australia's skiers competing in international competitions. Handicaps were calculated from results in the 2004 KAC. The winner of the race was Karen Civil, in the time of 45:40. The biggest mover in the race was Alex Almoukov, who moved from 27th place up to third. The fastest race time was from the back-marker Ben Sim (winner of the 2004 KAC), who skied up to 21st place with the time of 22:06.

August 8 - Racing Action from Perisher Valley

OK there was racing at Mt Hotham as well but there was a stack of events at Perisher this weekend gone. Here's a brief summary of the events, possible more details will come later on, though there are plenty more events on in the coming week so don't hold your breath. But results will be posted or linked before too long.

Australian Sprint Championship
At Perisher on Saturday August 6. Esther Bottomley and Paul Murray smoked the fields in the qualifying. Bottomley won the women's A-final ahead of Chloe McConville and Camille Melvey, with Sally Cunningham taking 4th. In the men's final Murray took the early lead and left the other three finalists behind to fight an exciting battle for the other podium places. Ben Sim moved up on the second lap of the 500m course and held on in the finish straight to take second place, with Ben Derrick out-lunging Andrew Mock for third.

The U16 junior finals were won by local NSW Ski Team skiers d'Arcy Baxter and Alex Almoukov, both from Berridale. Results

Australian 10/15km Championship
At Perisher on Sunday August 7. In the women's 10km Clare-Louise Brumley started second last in the interval start format and skied through almost the entire field on her way to adding the 10km title to the 15km title that she won two weeks ago. The only skier who could match her pace for even a short distance was Australian Sprint Champion Esther Bottomley, who skied one of her best ever distance events to take second place. Third place went to Belinda Phillips from Falls Creek.

The men's 15km was one of the most exciting in recent years, featuring many mini-battles for the top places. Ben Sim took the early lead from Ben Derrick, but lost it after dropping his pole towards the end of the first 5km lap. The lead swapped back and forth several times until the endurance and experience of 32-year-old Derrick came to the fore in the closing stages, and he reclaimed the lead and extended it out to 12 seconds at the finish. Mark Raymond from Team Lake Mountain and Chris Darlington from Jindabyne were also neck and neck mid way through the race, with Raymond finishing the stronger to take third place just 6 seconds ahead of Darlington. Places 5-8 were separated by just 8 seconds. Results

Boonoona Open
At Perisher on Sunday August 7, after the 10/15. In the 5km Freestyle Ben Sim won ahead of Chris Darlington, Camille Melvey was the first woman ahead of Alina McMaster. Nick Almoukov was the fastest man in the 5km Classic ahead of Tom Landon-Smith, with Natalie Hayson the first woman.

At Perisher on Sunday August 7. There was only a small field for this event, possibly due to some confusion over the race date. However a fantastic course was prepared by the Perisher Blue staff, complete with rollers, berms, and a couple of table-tops. Duane Butcher won the final ahead of Finn Marsland, Ben Sim, and Nick Almoukov. Special mention for Brendon Jones, winner of the junior final, for popping the most air off the table-tops. Thanks to Wilderness Sports and Perisher Blue for organising and supporting this event, hopefully there will be more.

Hotham to Dinner Plain
On Saturday August 6. No prizes for guessing where. The first man was Cameron Morton, the first woman Kerryn Rim. More details on the website: www.dbstrategies.com.au/pubtopub

Winter Triathlon
At Dinner Plain / Mt Hotham on Sunday August 7. Claimed as the inaugural Winter Triathlon event in Australia. Cameron Morton was the first man and Jaffa Withers the first woman. Results on the Super Sprint website

August 3 - Sundeck Cup

Organisers of the NSW Race Week are introducing a new event this year, the Sundeck Cup at Perisher Valley on Thursday August 11. This will be a handicap event, with the handicap worked out from KAC Cross Country Classic times on Wednesday. The race will be held on the 7.5km course, with both classic and freestyle technique. All proceeds from the event go to the Towards 2010 development fund,l which raises money for international competition for the National Cross Country Ski Team. The entry fee of $40 also covers lunch and a post-race drink at the Sundeck Hotel.

The field will be limited to a maximum of 100 starters. Entries close when the field is full or 6pm Tuesday August 9. Entry forms are available by emailing the hotel : sundeck@acr.net.au or telephone 02 64575222.

July 31 - Australian 15/30km and Victorian Sprints

Victorian Sprint Championship
The 2005 Victorian Sprint Championship at Falls Creek on Saturday July 30 was the first ever classic sprint to be held in Victoria. Australia's leading international sprinters Paul Murray and Esther Bottomley from the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club were runaway winners in their respective A-finals, with NSW Ski Team juniors d'Arcy Baxter and Callum Watson winning the U16 classes. Special guest for the event was Kaye Darveniza MLC, Victorian parlimentary member for Melbourne West, who officially opened the new Jack Heberle Race Hut. The extension of the hut was jointly funded by Victorian Sport and Recreation, the Falls Creek Resort, and Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club.

All races were in classic technique, with an 850m course used for the time trial and an extra 50m tacked onto the finish straight for the finals. Early morning fog cleared up to provide good conditions for racing, and apart from softness on the first hill thanks to the tracks was in great shape.

Bottomley posted the fastest women's qualifying time and cruised through to the A-final. Junior skiers took up the rest of the final places, with Jaffa Withers (BNSC) and Chloe McConville (Telemark Nordic Ski Club) progressing without too much difficulty and Alice Bellingham (BNSC) overtaking Clare Bradbury (NSW Ski Team) in the straight of the second semi-final to take the final position. In the women's A-final Withers was the first out of the start, but Bottomley quickly regained the lead and left Withers to fight it out with McConville for both second place and the Victorian Junior title. Over the top of the hill McConville made a small break and Withers was unable to bridge the gap on the run down the finish and the final straight.

In the men's time trial Murray showed the form that scored him Australia's first World Cup points in February this year, finishing 6 seconds clear from the rest of the field. The contest for the minor places was already on from the start of the finals, with four National Team members knocked out in the quarter final. Ben Sim (who narrowly missed out on the classic sprint finals at the World Junior Championships in March 0.02 of a second!) celebrated his 20th birthday by missing his time-trial start, tripping up on the first hill, then breaking his pole in the quarter final. The semi-finals were even tighter, with the 3 of the top 5 seeds ousted and 2nd ranked Ben Derrick (Wangaratta Ski Club) coming from last place at the top of the course to 1st in the finish straight. In the A-final Leon Spiller (WSC) lead up the first hill, but Murray soon overtook and made a break, leaving Spiller clear in second place with a gap back to Duane Butcher (BNSC)and Derrick. While Murray went on to win comfortably, Derrick overtook Butcher at the top of the course and slowly closed the gap on Spiller. As they hit the finish straight it looked as if Spiller would hold on for second, but Derrick drew level with just 10m to go and outlunged his club team-mate on the line.

d'Arcy Baxter from Berridale was the clear winner in the Under 16 Women's final, ahead of Juliette Booth (MLC)and Georgia Merritt (Ivanhoe). In the Under 16 Men's final the lead swapped back and forth between Callum Watson from Cooma and Chris Cook (BNSC) from Mt Eliza, with Watson holding on the finish straight to take the win. Alex Almoukov (NSW Ski Team) finished 3rd. Full Results

The women's A-final: From L-R Alice Bellingham, Chloe McConville, Esther Bottomley, and Jaffa Withers.
Victorian Sprint Championship, Falls Creek, July 2005

Australian 15/30km Championship
The long distance races of the 2005 Australian Cross Country Ski Championships were held today July 31at Falls Creek. The surprise packet in the men's 30km Classic was 26-year-old Mark Raymond (Team Lake Mountain), who skied away from a stacked men's field to decisively win his first Australian Championship title. In the women's 15km Classic 27-year-old Clare Louise Brumley from Templestowe skied a solo race to win comfortably. Both athletes have their sights set on the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino; Raymond one of two athletes in contention for selection in the sport of Biathlon, and Brumley aiming to qualify in the cross country 10km Classic event.

The skies cleared up early morning to provide excellent conditions for spectators, however the snow softened as the day went on and became very slow particularly for the 30km event. The race was organised by the local Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club and sponsored by Rocky Valley Bike and Ski Centre.

Brumley broke away from the rest of the 15km field on the opening lap, leaving 3-time Kangaroo Hoppet winner Belinda Phillips driving a small pack containing sprint specialist Esther Bottomley, former Australian champion Robyn Rodd, and NSW junior Darcy Baxter. Phillips however had been sick leading into the race, and soon dropped back and withdrew from the race, leaving Bottomley in second ahead of Rodd. From there the time gaps spread out, Brumley winning her fifth Australian Championship title in three years in the time of 51:02 - over eight minutes clear of the rest of the field. Bottomley was second, Rodd third, and Baxter fourth.

Raymond's original race plan was to sit in the pack and try and score a good percentage result behind the winner. Then 500m into the race he changed his mind and decided he wanted to win. His early pace broke up the field, and only Ben Derrick (WSC) was able to follow. After 10km it looked as though Raymond was working hard and Derrick had his measure, but the perception was deceiving. Suddenly mid-way round the third lap Raymond had a 5 second gap that stretched to 15 seconds at 15km and kept getting larger. Raymond said after the race that he didn't expect to get away from Derrick, but when he did he had to take the most of the opportunity - there are not many Australian skiers who have managed to ski away from Ben Derrick in a mass start race! He dug deep and put everything into extending the gap, and his tactics paid off. The elastic band broke and Raymond went on to win by 1:47 ahead of Derrick, with Paul Murray (BNSC) in third 2:36 off the pace. Ben Sim (NSWIS/NSW Ski Team) finished 4th, in his first distance race using two poles since he broke his thumb back in June. A three way sprint for 5th place was won by Leon Spiller (WSC) ahead of Chris Darlington (NSWIS/NSW Ski Team) and Tim Retchford (Team Lake Mountain).

In the Falls Creek Junior Classic competitions the winners were Callum Watson from Cooma and Jaffa Withers from Bright. The next races of the 2005 Australian Championships take place at Perisher Valley in NSW, with the Sprint and 10/15km Freestyle titles on the line.

Full Results

July 27 - Victorian Citizen Race Update

Hotham to Dinner Plain Pub to Pub
Information from Mick Sinclair:

Greetings all. Hope the winter is treating you well. Once again things are up and running later than planned ... oh well. Haven't managed to get to Hotham yet this winter, but it would seem we've got a pretty good cover all the way to DP at present and Greg has the new groomer up and running, so lets hope it lasts for the next 2 weeks! A look at the race calendar will show you that there are also National Championship events in NSW on the same weekend, so this may be your chance to get higher up the results with some of the gun skiers missing!

The race website is now up and running again at www.dbstrategies.com.au/pubtopub. Once again we encourage you to pre-register online - it makes it so much easier for us to run on time on the day. There are 2 entry forms for registration - one for single competitors and another for up to 5 people who are registering for the same school / club / workplace. Please take the time to pre-register and help us keep on time. And remember - there's always a few spot prizes specifically for the pre-registered! If you pre-register then on the day, you just need to sign your pre-filled entry form, pay and pick up your race bib - simple!

Ajays Website - Long time sponsor Ajays Snow Country Sports are back on board for another year and will once again be providing a great range of spot pizes which ALL entrants are in the running for. Ajays and their sister store EMC have finally got their website up and running at www.snow-ski.com.au. Along with Ajays our other 2 major partners, the General Store and the Dinner Plain Hotel are once again helping us out at the start and end of the event. Supporters like these are essential to the running of an event such as this, so please support those that support us. Of course we would also not be able to run the event without heaps of assistance from the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort

Revamped Interclub Series Scoring - After several years of major intrigue amonst clubs plotting which division they should enter skiers in to maximise points, and race organisers going somewhat crazy trying to add up the scores before the sun went down, the interclub series scoring has been greatly simplified. In keeping with its original aim of trying to encourage mass participation in events such as ours, the scoring will now be based on participation levels only - the club with the most entrants wins! Will this affect Wang ski club's traditional hold on the event - only time will tell. Please note that only clubs affiliated with Ski Cross Country Victoria are eligible for the Interclub Series.

We are also expanding the Victorian Cross Country Challenge Series, of which the Interclub Series is just a part. Rather than just restricting competition to between clubs, we've expanded it to include schools, workplaces and a broader view of ski clubs. Have a race within a race - get a group of you registering for a particular school, workplace or club and you can get your own series of results and a pennant for the occasion. As this involves additional complications in getting results out on the day, the only way we can guarantee recognition for your group is if you take the opportunity to pre-register for the event (see below).

Stirling Silver – 2 Weeks Before the Hoppet
Information from Simon Hemingway

Mt Stirling is once again hosting the Stirling Silver – on Saturday August 13th, exactly halfway between the Hotham Pub to Pub and the Hoppet. With three events – 5,10 and 15 km and with the excellent grooming of the Mt Stirling staff (skating and diagonal tracks set) this is the perfect warm up event for the Hoppet (or Birkie or Joey).

This year’s event (the same as last year) will be set over a fairly flat course suited to the citizen skier as well as the racer. Set amongst the majestic Mt Stirling alpine ash forests less than 3 hours from Melbourne, come for the event or come to ski Mt Stirling if you have been away too long.

The post race presentation includes a BBQ and there is a dinner on Saturday night if you decide to make a weekend of it.

Ring Simon Hemingway 03 9857 9547 for more details.

Rocky Valley Rush
Information from Ken Farrow:

If you plan to ski in the Rocky Valley Rush or the Sun Valley Ramble or the Rocky Valley Junior Classic (on August 21, the Sunday before the Hoppet) this year could you please email me your details prior to the race. As Race Secretary it helps me greatly if I am able to enter all your details into the database prior to race day.

All three entry forms are on the Telemark Nordic Ski Club Web Site. You will still need to either bring a signed copy of the entry form with you to the race office or fill one out when you come to pay your entry fee.

TNSC Web Site Address http://users.bigpond.net.au/TNSC

TNSC contact email address kcfarrow @bigpond.net.au (H)

Many thanks in anticipation, Ken.

July 26 - Assorted Results

NSW and ACT Championships
The first championship events at Perisher Valley were on last weekend July 23/24, with NSW Championships on the Saturday and the ACT Championships on the Sunday. Another good report from Warren McCourt is posted on the NSWSA site. NSW Results - ACT Results

Rialto Tower Run
A short side-track from the ski events, National Team members Andrew Mock, Andrew Wynd, and Tim Retchford contested the Rialto Tower Run on Friday July 22. The boys finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the elite men's field, with Mocky getting away away from Wyndy (the winner of the event in 2004) on the last few flights. Results can be seen on the Super Sprint website, which also previews the Winter Triathlon event coming up in a week or so.

A wooly-headed Mocky crossing the line at the top of the Rialto.

Paddy Pallin Junior Classic
A report from the Paddy Pallin Junior Classic held at Perisher Valley on July 3: A fine day for the race, with a little snow falling, and plenty of good snow to ski on which brought out a field of thirteen eager skiers and of course the jolly support group of parents and other cheerers. After a short wait for the groomer to finish smoothing the track and a race briefing from Tim Greville, they were off. First the older groups - the over elevens - then, after a 30 second gap, the younger groups - the seven to ten year olds - and lastly the youngest group, Tom and Jemima, who battled it out as well as the older ones. The track as usual took the skiers up the road from the Canberra Alpine Lodge and around and up behind the Cronulla Lodge and back to the start and up again past Cooma Hut and Snow Revellers then down to the road and back up to the start. On the day of the race the oldest skiers skied six laps of the course and the younger ones skied less laps - according to their age. After the race everyone hurried inside the Canberra Alpine Lodge for the steaming hot dogs and tomato sauce and poppers - and certificates were presented to all the competitors. Spot prizes, courtesy of Paddy Pallin, were drawn and every one got something - then there was the jelly snake hunt outside in the snow! Thanks to the sponsors, Paddy Pallin, Buttercup Bakery in Cooma and Perisher Blue/NPWS (for the grooming) and of course the Canberra Alpine Club and all the helpers and the skiers for another wonderful day. Results

July 22 - Race Entry Forms

For those of you who have been seeking entry forms for the championship events coming up many are now posted on the 2005 Calendar page. Entry forms for the following events are now up (all in Word format):

Victorian Sprint Championship - July 30
Victorian Junior Sprint Championship - July 30
Victorian Sprint Relay - July 30
Australian 15/30km Classic Championship - July 31
Falls Creek Junior Classic - July 31
Australian Sprint Championships - August 6
Australian Interstate Sprint Relays - August 6
Australian 10/15km Freestyle Championships - August 7
Australian 5/10km Classic Championships - August 20
Australian 5/10km Freestyle Championships - August 21

Cooma Open
Chris Darlington and Alina McMaster were the male and female winners of the Cooma Open last weekend at Perisher Valley. Most details are available in a report from Warren McCourt on the NSW XC Site.

July 17 - Victorian Junior Championships

The 2005 Victorian Junior Championships were held this weekend July 16-17 at Falls Creek. The quality of the field was boosted by the presence of the NSW Ski Team, who had traveled south to vie for selection to the Australian Junior Team. In the open junior classes reigning Australian Junior Champion Aimee Watson from Cooma in NSW won both women's 5km events, while local 17-year-old Simon Flower from Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club was the surprise winner of both men's 10km events.All events were held using a mass start format on a 2.5km loop, with freestyle technique used on Saturday and classic technique on Sunday. The races were organised by the Telemark Nordic Ski Club on behalf of the Victorian Snowsports Association, with assistance from the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club.

A scholarship holder with the NSW Institute of Sport, Aimee Watson was too strong for the other competitors on both days, breaking away from the rest of the field early to ski solo races to victory. Jaffa Withers (BNSC) finished second to Watson in the 5km U18km class on both days, however faced stiff competition from the fastest U16 girls who competed over the same distance with a separate mass start. Withers' time was just 2.5 seconds faster than d'Arcy Baxter (NSW Ski Team) in the Freestyle race, however in the Classic race both Baxter and Juliette Booth (MLC) were faster than all U18 competitors except for Watson. Georgia Merrit (Ivanhoe) was on Baxter's heels in the Freestyle race, and both Melbourne girls Merrit and Booth are strong new contenders for selection to the Australian Junior Team.

The men's 10km events were the most hotly contested over the weekend, with a large pack in the 10km Freestyle slowly whittling down to a sprint finish. Simon Flower competing in the 10km class for the first time proved too strong in the last 500m, taking victory by just 2 seconds ahead of Ewan Watson (NSW Ski Team) and Mark van der Ploeg (BNSC), with second and third place only separated by a photo finish. In the 10km Classic on Sunday Flower broke away after 5km together with Ben Sim (NSWIS/NSW Ski Team), who was competing with only one ski pole due to a broken thumb. Sim's performance with one arm showed why he is one of Australia's leading senior skiers in contention for the 2006 Winter Olympics, however Flower was too strong over the last hill and he held on to win by 4 seconds.

Callum Watson (NSW Ski Team) won both the U16 5km boy's events, ahead of team-mate Alex Almoukov on Saturday and Chris Cook (BNSC) on Sunday. It was a close battle between Almoukov and Cook, with Almoukov 5 seconds ahead in the Freestyle but Cook outsprinting Almoukov by just 1 second in the Classic.

In the U14 classes the winners were split over each technique, with Aislinn Kildea (Wangaratta Ski Club) winning the girl's 2.5km Freestyle ahead of Siobhan Jones (NSW Ski Team) and Samantha Carberry (MLC). However Carberry turned the tables in the 2.5km Classic the next day, winning ahead of Maddie Hoare (MLC) and Isabell Sparrow (BNSC), with Kildea managing only 4th. Mark Pollock (Wangaratta) won the boy's 2.5km Freestyle ahead of Giles Richardson and Brendan Jones (NSW Ski Team), but the Classic race belonged to Phillip Bellingham (BNSC), who won by 53 seconds ahead of Pollock with Richardson in third.

Full Results for each day are up.

July 15 - Catching Up North of the Border

Apologies for the late posting of news from the races at Perisher Valley last weekend. Here's a summary of the ACT Sprint Championships and Cooma Clean Out The Waxbox thanks to Chris Darlington and a report from Warren McCourt on the NSW Ski Association website.

First the ACT Sprint Championships on July 9. Chris Darlington lead from the start to the finish to win the open men's final. Ben Sim moved up to second place on the second lap (skiing with one pole due to a broken thumb), however Ewan Watson was too strong on the last hill and overtook Sim to take second place, Nick Almoukov rounding out the final. In the open women's final Aimee Watson went to the front from the gun and held off the field to win ahead of Sally Cunningham and d'Arcy Baxter, Sarah Slattery taking 4th place. In the U16 classes Alex Watson upset Callum Watson after Watson posted the fastest qualifying time, and Siobhan Jones won ahead of Bridgette Cunnigham. Full results are up.

Next, the Clean Out the Wax Box, organised by the Cooma Ski Club. Tough waxing conditions apparently made it an interesting race. Chris Darlington took the lead but Ben Sim skiing again with only one pole skied surprisingly well ,and wasn't letting Darlo get too much of a huge lead until the flatter sections of the course. Nick Almoukov was third and Warren McCourt fourth. Further details and official results are not yet available, partly due to the massive crowds at the Sverre Kaaten Nordic Shelter due to the NSW Interschool competition. Varying reports of 800 to 1000 participants and spectators were on site for the inteschool cross country.

This weekend the racing action is at Falls Creek with the Victorian Junior Championships. Blizzards are forecast so it could be an interesting couple of days.

July 10 - More Racing From Falls Creek

Snowgum Wodonga High Plains Tour
On Saturday July 9 the Snowgum Wodonga High Plains Tour took place at Falls Creek in dumping snow. Last weekend's Birke Classic winner Mark Raymond from Team Lake Mountain took the early lead at the front of a bunch of 6-7 skiers, however on the first big climb Ben Derrick from the Wangaratta Ski Club put his foot down and split the field up. The 30-year-old who lives and works at Howmans Gap went on to win by about 40 seconds ahead of Raymond, both skiers skiing the last two laps solo. Mark van der Ploeg (BNSC) finished a comfortable third place skiing also by himself. Back behind there was a bit more moving and shaking going on, with BNSC sprinters Paul Murray and Nick Grimmer working their way back through the field while James Rickard and Linsday Bridgeford were working their way up. Clare Louise Brumley put in another impressive performance to be the first woman in the 10km event, not so far behind Murray and Grimmer.

Snowgum Wodonga Victorian Interclub Relays
This year a new point system is used for scoring in the Victorian Interclub series, and the traditional battle between Wangaratta Ski Club and Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in the Inteclub Relays ended in a dead heat on 18 points apiece. The most fiercely contested class was the Open Men's 3x5km , with four teams still in contention on the last lap of the last leg. The standout performer on the first leg was Lindsay Bridgford, who put about 25 seconds into the leading BNSC and Wangaratta teams and an international Team Lake Mountain team. On the second leg Mark van der Ploeg put BNSC #1 into a commanding lead, with twin Evan VDP moving BNSC #2 past Wangaratta and Team LM (with Alan Eason from Great Britain) into second place. But the action was always going to come on the last leg with Ben Derrick and Mark Raymond skiing the anchor legs for these two teams against Duane Butcher (B1) and Simon Flower (B2). With 2.5km to go Butcher's lead was cut down to 30 seconds over Raymond who had just caught Flower, with Derrick another 15 second back and smoking. Over the top of the last big hill Butcher was suffering and was caught by all three skiers on the downhill with about 1km to go. BBD went to the front, with Raymond and Flower (amazingly still in contact) not quite able to hang on. BBD went on to win for Wangaratta by just 10 seconds, with Flower outsprinting Raymond to take second place for BNSC #2. Only 26 seconds separated the top four teams. The first open women's team was BNSC with Robyn Rodd, Jaffa Withers and Esther Bottomley, 2:51 ahead of the make-up team of Robyn McLennan, Felice Beitzel, and Belinda Phillips.

Results for both events run by the Howmans Gap Allstars coming soon. High Plains Tour - Interclub Relays

July 2 - Raymond Wins Birke Classic

Mark Raymond from Team Lake Mountain walloped the field in the opening race of the season at Falls Creek today. The 26 year old from Alexandra broke away after only 500m in the 10km Birkebeiner Classic and never looked back, going on to win by over a minute and a half. Second place went to Paul Murray (Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club), who had been widely tipped as the race favourite but struggled with poor grip and glide and just couldn't match Raymond's pace. Nick Grimmer (BNSC) was in third place for most of the race, but was knocked down to fourth on the last lap by former National Junior Team member James Rickard, who steadily climbed through the field after a slow start. The first woman in the 10km was Clare-Louise Brumley from Templestowe, who finished in 8th place overall, well clear from Falls Creek local Belinda Phillips.

"My race plan was to get the wax right and then try and lead the field for the first 2-3km", said Raymond after the race. "Then I found myself alone and feeling good so I kept going." Also a member of the Australian Biathlon Team, Raymond has relocated to Mt Beauty/Falls Creek for a month to train with other Australian XC Team members based at the National Team Training Centre for the winter. Brumley is another team member who has made the move to Mt Beauty/ Falls Creek (that is, living in Mt Beauty, training at Falls Creek) this winter

Despite heavy rain late this week there is still plenty of snow at Falls Creek and the cross country tracks are in very good shape. Full results from the Birkebeiner Classic are up in the 2005 Results section.

Late editions... (written earlier but posted only on July 10)

Ski De Femme
The annual Ski di Femme event was also held at Falls Creek on Sunday July 3. 54 women and girls took part in the Ski de Femme race, with more involved in the free ski clinics organised by the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in the morning. The fastest skier in the 5km event was National Team member Esther Bottomley, 45 seconds ahead of Belinda Phillips, with Georgia Merrit winning the 2.5km event and Katerina Paul (daughter of Winter Olympians Andrew and Sandra Paul) winning the 1km race. Full results are up.

Clean Out the Cobwebs
Chris Darlington and Aimee Watson cleaned up in the Clean Out The Cobwebs event at Perisher Valley on July 3. More details and a link to the results are available via the NSW Ski Association website.