Steamboat Springs Former Steamboat Springs resident Bill Demong, who earned a silver medal at the Nordic Combined World Championships last week, added his first World Cup win since 2002 on Friday.
Demong took the lead at the 8-kilometer mark in the Lahti Ski Games in Finland, and eventually out-sprinted Germany's Sebastien Haseney to the finish line, winning by 6.6 seconds.
"I'm psyched to put another result back to back, just for my own confidence, that I didn't get lucky (in the sprint at Worlds), that this really is the shape I'm in," Demong said. "It's nice to put together two in a row like this."
Demong was in 10th place after the first round of jumping on the 130-meter hill, and started 1 minute, 25 seconds behind jump leader Espen Rian of Norway. But Demong started fast and made up most of the time halfway through the 15-kilometer race. Haseney, who was a minute behind Demong to start the race finished second. World Cup champion Hannu Manninen of Finland finished third. Steamboat's Johnny Spillane finished 30th.
For Demong, the win was especially pleasing because he just missed the podium twice, finishing fourth in two earlier World Cup events this year.
The Lahti Ski Games, at the end of every World Cup season, are among the most prestigious in Nordic skiing. The last American combined win in Lahti came in 1983 when Steamboat's Kerry Lynch won what turned out to be the next-to-last unofficial World Cup meet. The combined World Cup officially began in 1984.
The combiners have a sprint event Saturday before heading to Norway next week for the traditional season-ending competitions at Holmenkollen in Oslo.
Demong and Spillane are expected to return to Steamboat March 23 to 25 for the U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships at Howelsen Hill.
NCAA championships continue
Former Steamboat Springs resident and University of Utah skier Sarah MacCarthy finished 22nd in the women's 15-kilometer classic race at the 54th annual NCAA Skiing Championships on Friday in Jackson, N.H.
Her time of 52 minutes, 4.1 seconds left her more than four minutes behind eventual winner Lindsey Weier of Northern Michigan University. Fellow Northern Michigan University skiers Lindsey Williams and Morgan Smyth finished second and third respectively.
On the men's side, Utah's Snorri Einarsson finished the 20K race in first with a time of 55:06. Rene Reisshauer of the University of Denver finished second, and University of Alaska-Fairbanks skier Marius Korthauer finished third.
Dartmouth College remained in first with 511 points. The University of Denver (473), University of Colorado (429) and the University of Utah (426) are all within striking distance heading into today's slalom events.
The first slalom runs begin at 7 a.m. (men) and 8:15 a.m. (women). Second runs follow at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30, respectively.