Steamboat Springs Technically, it didn’t count for a whole lot. No one’s season was won or lost Saturday as more than two dozen Nordic combined athletes from across the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic competed at Howelsen Hill and the Steamboat Ski Touring Center in Steamboat Springs.
But this wasn’t training, and slap the word “competition” on something and these skiers are going to come across the finish line panting and exhausted.
Saturday’s Nordic combined competition in Steamboat Springs meant something different to nearly all the athletes who competed, but to all, it also meant a return to action, and above all else, that was sweet.
“That was a hard race,” Steamboat’s Aleck Gantick said. “We’re just trying to get into things still.”
The event attracted everyone, from Steamboat Springs royalty to big-stage rookies. Brett Denney, as a member of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team and closer to the royalty end of the scale, shined above all others, blasting his way through the field with a blazing cross-country ski time to win the J1/seniors event, the day’s premier race.
Ranked 12th after the morning’s jumping session, Denney recorded the day’s fastest cross-country ski time, covering the 10-kilometer Ski Touring Center course in 26 minutes, 29 seconds.
He passed a heap of competitors from the Czech Republic B team, a few racers from the National Training Group squad based in Steamboat Springs and even Todd Lodwick.
“That felt good. It’s to get a race out of the way before we start the Continental Cup season,” Denney said. “I was into that zone.”
In Lodwick’s defense, he was clearly more invested in logging the training experience than he was striving for results. He had the best jump and a 40-second lead, but he clipped into his skis only a moment before the race started and drew grins from the crowd as he asked about the course’s layout as he pulled away.
He ended up in second with a time of 28:49. Adam Loomis was third overall with the second-best cross-country time, at 27:34.
For many — including those who made the podium — the day wasn’t about times or places. It was about getting a competition in before the season really takes hold. Most of the J1 and senior competitors are headed next weekend to Park City, Utah, for the season’s first Continental Cup, and there, the stakes become much greater.
“That really decides where the season’s going to go,” Denney said. “If I do well there, I’ll probably be going up to the World Cup, or I’ll be going to more Continental Cups in Europe. It’s the start of the season and decides what’s going to happen the rest of the year.”
Czech Republic skier Lukas Havranek actually landed the day’s longest jump, riding a wind gust 4 meters past Lodwick’s best, but he started the race second and finished eighth.
His teammate Petr Kutal started the race third and finished 14th, which was fine with Czech coach Marek Sablatura, who said his team took it easy in the race in anticipation of next week’s Park City competitions.
Steamboat’s Erik Lynch was sixth in the jumping and fourth overall, Michael Ward was fifth overall and U.S. Team member Nick Hendrickson came in sixth.
The principles were the same in the J2 boys race. Jasper Good won there after entering the skiing section in a tie with Ben Loomis. Good was more than a minute better on the 5-kilometer course, however, and won in 14:25. Loomis was second at 15:45, and Koby Vargas was third at 15:32.
“The winter has started,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic director Todd Wilson said. “This is the first benchmark for where they stand. There was some really great stuff out there.”
Emilee Anderson was tops in a girls special jumping competition. Elyse Hoffman was second, and Kamber Kissel was third.
“The first time some of the more inexperienced kids put on a bib, they usually they try too hard,” Wilson said. “It was interesting to see how they handled the competition, their maturity. I was very happily surprised.”
NORDIC COMBINED COMPETITION
Hill Size 100 Nordic Combined Results
Class J1 M
Name, club, jump, XC time
1 Brett Denney USA 935 26:29.0
2 Todd Lodwick USA 122.5 28:49.0
3 Adam Loomis SSWSC 98.5 27:34.0
4 Erik Lynch SSWSC 105.0 28:22.0
5 Michael Ward SSWSC 102.0 28:13.0
6 Nick Hendrickson USA 91.5 27:35.0
7 Wes Savill CAN 96.0 28:24.0
8 Lukas Havranek CZE 112.5 30:15.0
9 Aleck Gantick SSWSC 105.5 30:20.0
10 Tyler Smith SSWSC 99.0 30:06.0
11 Nathaniel Mah CAN 105.5 30:34.0
12 Cliff Field SSWSC 86.5 29:42.0
13 Lukas Rypl CZE 98.5 30:49.0
14 Petr Kutal CZE 106.0 32:13.0
15 Spen Knickerbocker SSWSC 77.5 30:28.0
16 Ben Berend SSWSC 81.0 30:52.0
17 Sabastie Dandurand CAN 43.0 28:53.0
18 Jake Barker SSWSC 75.0 32:53.0
19 Colton Kissel NSF 69.5 32:40.0
Hill size 27 Nordic Combined results
Class J2 M
Name, club, jump, XC time
1 Jasper Good SSWSC 224.1 14.25.0
2 Ben Loomis CEN 224.1 15:45.0
3 Koby Vargas SSWSC 212.3 15:32.0
4 Nicholas Madden SSWSC 177.1 14:25.0
5 Finn O’Connell SSWSC 180.0 14:35.0
6 Somer Schrock CEN 195.1 16:18.0
7 Spencer Petersen SSWSC 182.9 16:07.0
8 Grant Andrews SSWSC 129.2 15:21.0
9 Kavanagh-Bellman CEN 164.7 17:11.0
10 Finn Gessner CEN 152.8 20:00.0
Hill Size 100 Special Jump Results
Class J1 W
Name, club, total points
1 Emilee Anderson CEN 184.0
2 Elyse Hoffman CEN 145.0
3 Kamber Kissel NSF 78.5
Class J1 M
Name, club, total points
1 Todd Lodwick USA 247.0
2 Christian Friberg CEN 243.0
3 Lukas Havranek CZE 236.0
4 Nathaniel Mah CAN 231.0
5 Tyler Smith SSWSC 229.0
6 Petr Kutal CZE 226.5
7 Lukas Jancik CZE 221.0
8 Lukas Rypl CZE 217.5
9 Nick Hendrickson USA 217.0
10 Erik Lynch SSWSC 214.5
11 Adam Loomis SSWSC 202.5
12 Aleck Ganlick SSWSC 200.0
13 Brett Denney USA 198.0
14 Brian Wallace CEN 196.0
15 Wes Savill CAN 193.5
16 Ben Loomis CEN 193.0
17 Hyrum Bailey NSF 191.0
18 Michael Ward SSWSC 190.0
19 Ben Berend SSWSC 189.5
20 Robert Kartik CZE 189.0
21 Tyler Hutchins CEN 186.5
22 Cliff Field SSWSC 185.5
23 AJ Brown CEN 180.0
24 Spen Knickerbocker SSWSC 177.5
25 Jake Barker SSWSC 169.5
26 Dillon Maurer NSF 169.0
27 Jasper Good SSWSC 168.5
28 Andre Denney CEN 162.5
29 Nick Mattoon CEN 162.0
30 Koby Vargas SSWSC 160.5
31 Colton Kissel NSF 159.0
32 Spencer Petersen SSWSC 111.0
33 Nicholas Madden SSWSC 103.0
34 Somer Schrock CEN 102.5
35 Finn O’Connell SSWSC 99.0
36 Sabastie Dandurand CAN 43.0
37 Grant Andrews SSWSC 33.5
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com