Bohart Ranch hosts Nordic SuperTour Olympic Qualifier
The Countdown begins, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia kickoff in just 63 days. Some athletes around the U.S. are still hoping to qualify for the U.S. Ski team. This weekend some of those athletes can keep those dreams alive as Bohart Ranch in Bozeman as they host the Nordic SuperTour.
The SuperTour is an Olympic qualifier and Bridger Ski Foundation, or BSF for short, has high hopes that a few of it's own may be able to qualify on Saturday.
"I think there are several skiers who have a chance with good racing here tomorrow," said BSF Nordic Program Director Dragan Danevski. "They are pretty hard courses that we designed with the recommendations and support of the USSA, the governing body of skiing in the country. The course is tough but we expect athletes to prove their preparation for competing in the Olympics."
One of BSF athletes is Jennie Bender. Originally from Vermont, Jennie moved here in June to join BSF. Last weekend, she competed in the Women's Sprint race in West Yellowstone and finished 2nd. Many expect her to medal this weekend.
"Well I joined BSF in June and it's been awesome," said Jennie. "I love it in Montana. Last year I won my first national championship and that was awesome. Being a contender for the Olympics is really exciting. You never really know what's going to happen so hoping for good things here!"
The temperatures however, have not been ideal, dropping well below zero everyday this week. If that happens on Saturday it could halt the race all together.
"We have a limit for the cold weather of -4 degrees Fahrenheit," Dragan said. "If temperatures get above that we'll be able to host the race. If not we'll try to fit the races in in the warmest part of the day."
The first race tomorrow was set to begin at 9 a.m. but because of the temperatures it has been pushed back until noon. The length of the course for the Sprint is just under 1.5 kilometers. On Sunday they will hold the Mass Start races, the Women's race being a 10k at 9 a.m. followed by the Men's 15k at 10 a.m.
You may think because they are winter athletes they enjoy the extreme cold but even they would like Jack Frost to 'chill out' with these freezing temperatures.
"It's a bit colder than I'd prefer, I think than most of us would prefer," Jennie laughed. "But because we're winter athletes we're like 'Oh, we're supposed to like this.' But I'd prefer it if it was 20 degrees maybe, that's like perfect!"