Diggins, Bjornsen Win SuperTour Freestyle Races
Stratton Mountain School’s Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) picked up her second straight win, taking the women’s 10k freestyle mass start Saturday at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Common, Vt. Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center skier Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) took the men’s 15k win.
Bjornsen battled Stratton Mountain School’s Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.) in a close race, winning by just 1.5 seconds.
Diggins also had a close race with Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), winning by just over a second with APU’s Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) third.
The SuperTour Finals have served as a welcome home for the highly successful U.S. Cross Country Ski Team with big crowds showing up to cheer on their heroes.
“It is really, really cool to be here in Craftsbury and get to race against everyone in the U.S.,” said the Olympic champion Diggins. “The fans are amazing - they are cheering and then they send it off a jump and then they are cheering again.”
“It was a super fun day, great to be here at Craftsbury with all the American racers and spectators,” said Erik Bjornsen. “It was really fun to ski in a group of the nation’s best skiers, feel like skiing with a group of your buddies while pushing yourself super hard.”
“Everyone is psyched about the seasons we have had,” said Hamilton. “The skiing is amazing here, they have done an unbelievable job getting everything ready.”
While the national team athletes race all season long on the World Cup tour for the U.S. Ski Team and Team USA at the Olympics, the Finals is a time to put on their club colors.
“It so nice to come to a race and let the pressure down and enjoy racing for racing,” said Sadie Bjornsen. “I’m out here with all my teammates and we are competing against each other in our club teams, a super fun vibe. It’s so cool to see such a big crowd here at Craftsbury, all these kids that know what you have done this winter is awesome.”
Olympic champion Randall, who is skiing in her final event, echoed those sentiments. “I am really excited to be back here in Craftsbury and see everyone in the ski community. The conditions are beautiful and I am hoping to find the gas to put a down a few more events here.”
SuperTour distance and overall titles are still on the line with long distance events coming up Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation skier Kevin Bolger (Minocqua, Wisc.) leads the men’s overall with 336 points with APU’s David Norris (Anchorage, Alaska) close behind with 315. Norris has a clear lead in the distance standings.
For the women, APU’s Kaitlynn Miller (Anchorage, Alaska) has a strong lead over Craftsbury’s Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska) with 408.5 points to Patterson’s 373. APU’s Rosie Frankowski (Minneapolis) leads the distance standings.
Sunday action shifts from SuperTour to the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships with the relay event. Live streaming broadcast starts at 8:45 a.m. EDT.