Inside Edge: Longanecker, Waters lead the way for SNC at Mt. Spokane

by SHEP SNOW
| January 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Snow is no longer an issue at Schweitzer. Thirty-eight inches last week and another huge cycle dumping as I write this leaves the mountain in great shape entering the heart of the season.

World Cup Update — Mikaela Shiffrin won the Flachau, Austria, night slalom on Tuesday, shattering records at the same time. It was her 44th career slalom win, giving her the most wins for a woman in a single discipline.

It was also her 68th World Cup win, moving her to third place on the all-time list. At 25 years old, she celebrated her 100th podium.

Tommy Ford scored another top 10 giant slalom finish at Adelboden, Switzerland. Ryan Cochran-Siegle was close behind in 12th and River Radamus posted his best result in 18th.

On the second day of giant slalom, Cochran-Siegle finished 19th, followed by Radamus in 20th. Ford crashed hard near the finish, resulting in minor head and neck injuries, and a knee injury that is still being assessed.

Breezy Johnson posted her third consecutive downhill podium finish with a bronze medal at St. Anton, Austria. Isabella Wright scored her first World Cup points finishing 27th in the race.

Wright followed up that performance by notching her first career Super-G points the next day with a 24th place finish. AJ Hurt captured 26th.

In cross country news, Jessie Diggins became the first American to win the overall FIS Tour de Ski title this week in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Her previous best finish was third in 2018.

Sandpoint Nordic Races — Coming up with opportunities for head-to-head competitions and venues is definitely a challenge during a pandemic like we are in this ski season. A snowstorm that dropped 18 inches in 24 hours at Mt. Spokane didn’t help either.

The Sandpoint Nordic and Mt. Spokane Nordic race teams planned a double intersquad race on Dec. 31 at Mt. Spokane. Racers were set to race a 5K course of classic and skate. The trails were covered that morning with a heavy blanket of snow, great if you are an alpine skier, but not so great for Nordic racing.

Mt. Spokane volunteers, coaches and groomers to the rescue! Starting at 5 a.m., groomers were out packing down a course the teams could ski on. It was still challenging to ski on soft, wet snow, let alone get out of the driveway that morning and drive 80 miles to the start. But we pulled it off with 17 skiers racing and used a COVID-19 safe individual start for each racer.

Skiers’ ages ranged from 12 to 18 years old, but all skied the same course and competed for top spots. The Sandpoint racers skied well, with Jett Longanecker (15) and Callahan Waters (13) leading the way. The pair finished second and third respectively in both races. The Sandpoint Nordic race team finished second, third, fifth and 16th in the classic race, and second, third, eighth, ninth and 12th in the skate race.

What’s next? Jett and Callahan are headed to Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon for races next weekend while the rest of the team heads to Whitefish for the Glacier Glide, the first race in the 2021 Montana Nordic Cup race series.

Independence Junior Race Series — The series kicked off last Friday with our best showing in years — 52 racers. Although there were timing issues, the coaches moved the kids through the course several times for practice and had to help kids improve their skills.

There will be no races this Friday due to Schweitzer suspending twilight skiing. However, we are hopeful to resume the series on Jan. 22. Management is also open to adding another day of racing the first Friday in February. We’ll keep you posted.

Potpourri — For more information on the Sandpoint Nordic race team and other programs visit www.sandpointnordic.com. Any comments, recommendations or contributions to this column may be sent to Shep Snow by email at shep@thesnowschool.com. Negative feedback should be sent to someone else.