Anchorage hosting Olympic hopefuls at U.S. Cross Country Nationals

Anchorage skiers from Alaska Pacific University will be among those competing at the U.S. Cross Country Championships. (Emily Russell, Alaska Public Media)

Athletes from around the nation are in Anchorage this week competing for a spot on the Olympic cross country ski team. The U.S. Cross Country National races begin Wednesday morning at Kincaid Park. There are four races in all– two freestyle and two classic-style events for men and women.

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While most of the athletes that will represent the US in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February are skiing in Europe right now, if an athlete in Anchorage does well enough at the U.S. Nationals, it could lead to a nomination for the Olympic team.

Anchorage skier Holly Brooks did just that in 2010. That’s the last time the U.S. Nationals were held in Anchorage and her results here earned her a spot on the team that skied in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The official Olympic team nominations will be announced later this month.

U.S. Cross Country Nationals kicks off at Kincaid Park Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. with a freestyle distance race. The races, which take place in Anchorage through Monday, are free and open to the public.

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Emily Russell is the voice of Alaska morning news as Alaska Public Media’s Morning News Host and Producer. Originally from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Emily moved to Alaska in 2012. She skied her way through three winters in Fairbanks, earning her Master’s degree in Northern Studies from UAF. Emily’s career in radio started in Nome in 2015, reporting for KNOM on everything from subsistence whale harvests to housing shortages in Native villages. She then worked for KCAW in Sitka, finally seeing what all the fuss with Southeast, Alaska was all about. Back on the road system, Emily is looking forward to driving her Subaru around the region to hike, hunt, fish and pick as many berries as possible. When she’s not talking into the mic in the morning, Emily can be found reporting from the peaks above Anchorage to the rivers around Southcentral.