|Ted Ligety lost a ski and took a long slide after crashing in his World Cup super-G race. (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)|
Race is for the long haul
Durability key to X-C event
Cross-country skiers looking for a challenge might want to try the Great Glen Nordic 300 Sunday, a five-hour race at the base of Mount Washington where competitors attempt to complete as many laps as possible around the 5-kilometer course.
"We certainly expect that the Nordic 300 will draw high-caliber ski racers looking to challenge themselves in what can be considered a nontraditional ski marathon," said Great Glen Trails spokesman Ryan Triffitt. "In a traditional ski marathon, competitors would ski either loops or point-to-point for 50k. In the Nordic 300, skiers race against the clock, and the top skiers will race more than 50k."
In addition to the individual races, there is a new four-person relay this year.
Organized by Sunday River and Sugarloaf, 32 competitors (16 skiers, 16 snowboarders) from academies such as Gould and Carrabassett Valley, and industry teams will compete for cash prizes.
"The staircase itself is almost 100 pieces," said Sunday River terrain park manager Nick Roma. "We'll put it together up here first, disassemble it, truck it to Portland, and assemble it again."
Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin said several thousand spectators are expected.
"This will be the largest freestyle rail event we've ever had in the state of Maine," he said.
Roma, who went to high school in Portland, said this is something he's wanted to do for years.
"To me, it'll be neat to bring out a mountain setting to the city so people who may have never been to a ski area can see what we are doing up here," he said.
After a solid run down the top half of the course, fourth-place starter Ted Ligety hit a bump that knocked off one of his skis. Ligety slid a few hundred meters down the hill into a snow fence.
The race was won by Switzerland's Didier Cuche in 1 minute 19.41 seconds, followed by Italy's Peter Fill (1:20.40) and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal (1:20.43).
Ligety said he was not hurt. "It was a little bumpy and it burned a little bit going down because I was going pretty fast," he said. "I just went a little straight and got dragged off balance. I hit one of the bumps and the ski came off and twisted me up."
Tomorrow's racing features the women's super-combined, followed on Saturday by the men's downhill and Sunday with the women's downhill.
Sophomores Courtney Hammond and Rosie Brennan were double winners for Dartmouth. Hammond won Friday's giant slalom and Saturday's slalom at Attitash, and Brennan won Friday's classic sprint race and Saturday's 10k freestyle at the Jackson XC Center.
Dartmouth, which won the 2007 NCAA title, is 2-0 in ESIA carnivals this season. The circuit moves to Stowe this weekend for the University of Vermont Winter Carnival.
Holland led a US sweep of the men's competition, with Graham Watanabe second and Nick Baumgartner third.
Jacobellis got out to an early lead and increased her margin in each heat, eventually finishing ahead of teammates Joanie Anderson and Kim Krahulec on the podium.
"I was really happy with the way I was riding," said Jacobellis, a silver medalist at the Turin Olympics. "I felt totally comfortable with the course and had a great time accelerating down the course and going really fast."
Holland said riding in front of his home crowd put on the pressure. "I was claiming [an] encore performance from X Games all week," he said. "I knew everyone would expect a lot from me and I was stoked and very proud."
Globe correspondent Tony Chamberlain contributed to this report.