BOZEMAN, MT - For the first time ever, Bozeman will be the site of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Sit Ski Nationals, a Para Nordic NorAm and Nordic Festival on Saturday, January 7, and Sunday, January 8, at the Bridger Creek Golf Course. Some of the top Para Nordic skiers in the world will compete.
The Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) is the local organizing committee for the event and has begun a partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to provide coaching both on the trails and in the gym for some of the top U.S. Nordic Para athletes, who have begun training out of Bozeman this year. Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply is the local title sponsor of the Para Nordic Skiing NorAm event. BSF has assembled a large crew of volunteers for the races, while the BSF grooming team is putting extra hours into preparing the race venue at the Bridger Creek Golf Course.
The event is the single largest collection of Para Nordic athletes in the U.S. each winter. Those who do well this weekend will be invited to race in the World Cup competitions, set to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, March 6-16, 2017. With the 2018 Paralympic Games just a year away, the Bozeman event is also key for those hoping to make the U.S. Paralympic team.
Location: Bridger Creek Golf Course, 2710 McIlhattan Rd, Bozeman
Saturday, January 7
9:30 a.m. Sprint qualifications
10:30 - 11:30 Sprint Heats and finals
11:30-1: Sit-ski demonstration and clinic for the public
2:00 p.m. Distance Race
Sunday, January 8
9:30 a.m. Distance race
*Race times may be delayed due to extreme weather conditions.
Para Nordic Skiers Focus on Bozeman Training Grounds
The U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing program has proven its strength in recent years and is intent on increasing the numbers of participants who consider themselves Para Nordic skiers. Frequent Nordic skiers may have seen athletes training locally throughout the winter.
John Farra, Director of High Performance, Paralympic Nordic Skiing for the United States Olympic Committee, says, “We have started to make Bozeman one of our primary winter training facilities. Some of our top skiers and head coach have moved to the area, and we are excited to invite the larger group of athletes and coaches to this great Nordic ski community, and we hope Para Nordic events like this will be back more often in years to come.”
Farra adds, “We are always looking for locations with strong clubs to host the event in different areas of the country where there are some Para Nordic clubs and we can get some local engagement with new Para Nordic athletes.”
New Bozeman resident Oksana Masters returns as both the 2015 and 2016 IPC World Cup Cross Country Overall Winner, and Andy Soule, a two-time Paralympian won five medals at the 2015 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships. The most experienced sit-skier on the course this weekend will be three-time Paralympian Sean Halsted.
Swithin McGrath, Executive Director of the Bridger Ski Foundation, says, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the USOC and these exceptional athletes and excited to be the organizing committee for this race. The Nordic trails in Bozeman and the surrounding area are world class, as is the community of Nordic skiers and coaches, and we’re excited to see more Para Nordic skiers take advantage of these venues and for our young skiers to share the same training grounds. Organizing any race is a lot of work, but we feel it’s important to support Para Nordic skiing—both for local athletes who may want to explore the sport and for U.S. skiers who are looking to compete at the highest levels.”
Farra notes that the Bozeman event is as much a ski festival as it is a national championship. New Para skiers will find lots of learning opportunities. Head Coach Eileen Carey, who now lives in the Bozeman area, will offer a sit-ski demonstration and clinic at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, between races.
Bridger Ski Foundation grooms cross country ski trails at six venues in Bozeman, ensuring easy and free access to Nordic skiing for the whole community, in addition to providing educational and competitive programs in Nordic, Freeskiing, Freestyle, and Alpine skiing.
The event is sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). As a World Para Nordic Skiing NorAm event, athletes from any nation are invited to participate, and those with an international competition license can score important IPC points, which are used to determine the number of slots each country gets to the Paralympic Winter Games, as well as an athlete’s standing internationally.
Athletes to watch:
Sean Halsted: An air force veteran, is the most experienced sit skier with three Paralympic Winter Games under his belt. Bio: http://www.teamusa.org/para-nordic-skiing/athletes/sean-halsted
Andy Soule: An army veteran, 2015 IPC World Cup Cross Country Overall Winner, and 2010 Vancouver bronze medalist. Bio: http://www.teamusa.org/para-nordic-skiing/athletes/Andy-Soule
Oksana Masters: A BSF member and Bozeman resident was the 2015 & 2016 IPC World Cup Cross Country Overall Winner. Also competes in other Paralympic sports, and has multiple Paralympic medals, including for Nordic skiing. Bio: https://www.paralympic.org/oksana-masters
Bridger Ski Foundation is a nonprofit ski club offering educational and competitive programs in Nordic, Freestyle, Freeskiing, and Alpine skiing. They also groom an incredible network of Community Nordic Trails in Bozeman. www.bridgerskifoundation.org
Notice anything different? After more than a year working with coaches, athletes, board members, and staff, we're proud to announce that BSF has a new visual look. You will begin to see our new logos everywhere.
Over the years, through changes and merging of the clubs, BSF had acquired a hodge-podge of logos from various eras. We wanted to bring the BSF family together in a more visually coherent way, with a look that better represents who we are.
A huge thanks to Jamie Hurd, a BSF parent and marketing expert who put us on this path, created the final logos, AND donated all her time. Special thanks to the marketing committee, especially Bruce Swann, for their help.
A NOTE ON TEAM APPAREL
We'll begin using the new logos this fall, including on team apparel. However, we recognize that for many athletes, cost is a factor. We're hoping to make new logo patches available, and we expect that the older logo apparel will naturally phase out over time. (Similarly, you may continue to see the old BSF logo on some of our equipment due to replacement costs. We'll make updates where possible, but in some cases, we'll wait until the equipment/item needs to be replaced.)
On another exciting note: we're working on a new and improved BSF website. Stay tuned!
The BSF Alpine Team was awarded the coveted Little Hollow Team Cup Championship in 2016. It's a great honor to receive this season-long award that emphasizes quality, club spirit, and unity.
Great job BSF Alpine! Everyone from U8 to U21 helped to make this possible. Thank you, coaches and parents! We are all very proud of the great results and, most importantly, the great individuals that make up the BSF Alpine Team!
Bridger Ski Foundation’s Scott McLaughlin repeated as the age-group Jr. National Champion in Big Air during the 2016 U.S. Junior National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho. Vay O’Brien, the youngest female competing in freeskiing, also took gold as the F11 Slopestyle National Champion.
Top athletes from around the country converged in Sun Valley to compete head to head, with multiple events. Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) had nine athletes qualify for Freeskiing (slopestyle and big air) and Freestyle (moguls) events.
In 2015, McLaughlin was both the age group and overall Big Air champion. This year, he won his age group and was runner-up overall, among all ages.
In the mogul events, BSF’s Phillip Kirk had a great day and finished 6th overall in Dual Moguls.
Logan Diekmann & Max LaChance win individual national titles; Sofia Shomento wins relay national title.
CABLE, WI – The Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) Nordic Team returned from the USSA Junior National Championships with two individual national champions, a relay champion, and with BSF ranked as one of the top Nordic ski clubs in the country.
Logan Diekmann won a national title in the Sprint competition and placed second in the Classic Distance race for U20 men. Max LaChance won the national title in the Freestyle Distance race for U20 men. And Sofia Shomento was a member of the National Championship Relay Team for U18 women.
The Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) had an impressive 20 athletes on its Alpine Team qualify for regional championships. Skiers qualify based on world cup points earned at races throughout the regular season, with the top skiers being named to represent the Northern Division at championship races.
Teams from the Northern, Intermountain, and Alaska Divisions will compete at the Tri-Divisional Championships. At the Western Region Championships, the field will be deep, with teams from Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah.
U14/U16 Tri-Divisional Championships, Snowbird, UT, March 17-20:
Dustin Hansen (1st alternate)
Western Region FIS Junior Championships at Schweitzer, ID, March 5-10:
Jacob Drake (1st alternate)
Western Region U14 Junior Championships, Jackson Hole, WY, March 10-13:
Rylie Thompson (1st alternate)
Gracie Carisch (2nd alternate)
Western Region U16 Junior Championships, Mammoth Mountain, CA, March 16-20:
Jessica King (2nd alternate)
BSF skiers on the Freestyle and Freeskiing team have qualified for several upcoming national and international events in March.
Scott McLaughlin and Luke Price earned a start at the rest of this season's Rev tour events. They will ski in their first Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) event in Winter Park February 29 - March 3.
On the Mogul side of skiing, BSF athlete Rian Zetzer earned her first start in a Nor-Am event. A Nor-Am event is the stepping stone for advancing to the World Cup stage. Rian will compete in the Nor Am event in Killington, Vermont, March 2-7.
Junior National Championships:
This season the U.S. Junior National Championships are in Sun Valley, Idaho, March 7-14, 2016. This event takes the top athletes in the country for Freestyle and Freeskiing events and puts them head to head for a week of competitions. The following BSF athletes qualified:
U.S. National Championships:
On March 4, we will find out which Freestyle athletes earned a start at the U.S. National Championship in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This is the second opportunity for regional-level athletes to earn a spot on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team!
Congratulations to everyone and good luck!