Cross-country news - 16/12/8
2008 is turning out to be another notable year in British Cross-Country Skiing, as for the first time in 14 years, GB is represented on the FIS World Cup stage.
That representation comes in the shape of Aberdeenshire skier Andrew Musgrave, at 19 the youngest competitor at the opening World Cup races in Kuusamo, Finland last month. He was joined at the Davos World Cup races in Switzerland last weekend by an even younger racer, Andrew Young, 16, a fellow member of the Huntly Nordic Ski Club.
So far, the results of Andrew Musgrave, who is on his Gap Year, have been as follows -
14/12 Davos 15k classic - 68/80 (Andrew Young, 77/80)
It is interesting that in the 15k classic in Davos, nobody in the top 50 was under 23 years of age, and it says a lot of Musgrave's potential that he has risen from 82nd in the 15k classic in Kuusamo to 68th in the Davos race a fortnight later.
This will be a year of gaining experience for the GB team, in all aspects of racing at this level - waxing, technique, admin, etc. Cross-country skiing requires a level of knowledge that is far above most athletic sports, but this year the athletes have a level of expertise and support not enjoyed for a long time by British cross-country skiers.
Most of the team's training is on rollerskis - they have various camps through the summer, and regularly attend rollerski races across the UK. The year Andrew Musgrave and Andrew Young fought it out, with Andrew Young winning at the Scottish Rollerski Championships and the British Series race at Lancaster.
It will be interesting to see whether Musgrave wil have the support to continue in years to come, or whether this will just be the ultimate Nordic 'Gap Year' experience!
For more information, there is an interesting article on Andrew at The Winning Zone
There is more information about getting involved with the British Nordic team on the British Nordic Ski Team website