Day 1 was a great day of racing for BSF. Snow globe conditions made for an idyllic winter scene at the Rendezvous trails. Skiers completed a 1.5-km sprint loop qualifier in the morning followed by quarter, semi and final backers of six person heats where the top two skiers advanced to the next round. In the qualifier, BSF pro skiers Lauren Jortberg and Erika Flowers took the top two spots with Hannah Rudd in 5th. In the finals, Jortberg and Rudd ended the day in second and third respectively.
On the men's side, BSF skiers occupied the top six spots of the morning qualifier and the entire final heat. Reid Goble won a tight sprint over Fin O'Connell and Graham Houtsma.
Day Two of the Intermountain Opener presented the kind of conditions Nordic skiers dream about. A frosty, clear morning and fresh, firm classic tracks set to the best line, laid ready for some of the fastest Nordic skiers in the American west.
The Open and U18 men raced 10km while the rest of the field raced 5km. In the first race of the day, BSF Pro skier Erika Flowers skied to an impressive win over Sun Valley's young phenom, Samatha Smith. Mariah Bredal, also BSF Pro Team, was just two seconds back in third.
Senior Comp Team skier, Clara Wyatt led the BSF U18 girls in 12th place, followed by Annalise Pessl in 20th. In the U16 girls race, BSF skier Natalie Nicholas was 3rd with teammate Necia Nicholas coming in 9th.
On the men's side, BSF Pro skier Finn O'Connell beat Scott Patterson of APU, who just returned from Period 1 of the World Cup in Europe. Reid Goble, also on the BSF Pro Team, rounded out the podium.
On the U18 boy's side, Max Kluck of BSF took the win while teammate, Phin Fischer finished 5th. Landon Wyatt of BSF won the U16 race and teammate, Aldo Mcwethy finished 5th. Next up for BSF Nordic is Senior National's in Soldier Hollow, Utah, the first week in January.
A huge thanks to the organizing committee for the IMD Opener races, made up of local Bozeman volunteers, who ended up organizing two events when it looked like Bozeman wouldn't have enough snow to reliably host the races and they made the move to West Yellowstone. Seventy-plus volunteers signed up to help out--many of them making the trek from Bozeman to spend the weekend in West Yellowstone. What a feat!
Thank you to everyone who made this work, including our friends in West Yellowstone at WYSEF, who graciously stepped up to make this event happen. Everyone pulled together to bring a fantastic event, with a great community vibe, to these athletes. We're incredibly grateful to be on the receiving end of all your hard work and enthusiasm. THANK YOU!!
DAY 1 PHOTOS: by Arlin Ladue
DAY 2 PHOTOS: by Arlin Ladue