US Nationals Women's 30K Classic
This was no waltz through the park, however. The course is brutal. The women skied four loops, and the men seven. Each lap had two monster hills climbs up South Tower and Black Funk with total elevation gain of (3,300 ft) total for the women and 6,000 ft climbing for the men. This is a as tough as it gets.
Stephen and Arritola tuck down Competition Loop on the final lap
In the women's event, Liz Stephen, undefeated in USA standings this week, lurked in the second pack for half of the race, but only 5 to 10 seconds behind the leaders. Morgan Arritola set the early pace along with Kikkan Randall and Swedish skier Kristina Strandberg. Stephen hung back before moving up to take command on the penultimate lap.
Podium preview: Stephen, Arritola, and Randall make their way up Black Funk.
Arritola kept close and finished 14 few seconds back, followed 30 seconds by Kikkan Randall, a sprint specialist. Local product Becca Rorabaugh, 19, put on a fine race as a junior to take 7th overall. Youth is on the move, as Stephen and Arritola are only 21 or 22 years old.
Fast women climb big, Stephen and and Randall emerge from Black Funk.