Cowbells not clipboards for USA families at Canada’s Nordic Jr. Worlds

WHISTLER, Canada — All week at Canada’s Whistler Olympic Park, United States parents who usually volunteer to manage everything at every event in the states, got to simply sit back and enjoy supporting their athletes compete in the U23/Jr. FIS Nordic World Championships. Of the families from the USA who made the trip, some arrived via wings, some via wheels. Instead of writing with clipboards, they were ringing with cowbells. 

Many of the families, instead of the usual sun-up-to-sun-down operations roles, actually found time to alpine ski at Whistler Blackcomb and cross country ski at the venue. 

Competitions were held for cross country skiing, for ski jumping, and for the discipline which combined the two, nordic combined. Athletes ages 16 – 23 from 38 different countries participated.

Opening and closing ceremonies were held, and First Nation students on a field trip from local indigenous schools came out to spectate the sports.

USA Nordic board member Rex Bell traveled from Maine to lend his support, and recently retired ski jumper from Lake Placid, Nina Lussi, a Jr. Olympics titles holder, was a P.A. Announcer, while Lake Placid/Park City’s Olympic double medalist Billy Demong commentated a live streaming broadcast. International Ski Federation (FIS) representatives from Europe were there too, as well as XC coaches from Dartmouth College, just to name one of multiple schools with US Ski Team  athletes.

Three-time Olympian ski jumper Anders Johnson from Park City was coaching the Americans. He told TownLift, “It went pretty well. There was a little bit of disappointment on both the mens and the womens side where they could have easily placed higher in the top ten. They had really great jumps, just weren’t so lucky with the conditions, but that’s the way it goes. So, overall, I’m satisfied though that they performed at a high level and that’s all you can ask for.”

Cross Country Results:

  • U23 Mixed 4x5km Classic/Free Relay, France 1st, USA 7th. Jr.’s Norway 1st, USA 7th.
  • U23, 10km Individual Start Free Men, Norway swept, USA Gus Schumacher, Alaska, 14th; Zanden McMullen, Alaska, 15th; John Steel Hagenbuch, Idaho, 19th; James Clinton Schoonmaker, 29th. Same event U23 Women, Germany 1st, Sophia Laukli, Maine, 5th; Novie McCabe, Washington, 7th; Sidney Palmer Leger, Park City, 9th; same event Jr.s Men, Finland 1st, Jack Lang, USA, 11th; Adrik Craftson, USA, 30th. Same event, Jr.s, Women, Norway 1st; Samantha Smith, Idaho, 6th, Haley Brewster, USA, 10th; Hattie Barker, USA, 14th.
  • U23, 20k Mass Start Classic Men, Norway 1st; Gus Schomaker, Alaska, 7th; Zanden Mcmullen, USA, 18th; John Steel Hagenbugh, USA, 23rd. Same event, U23 Women, Norway, 1st; Sidney Palmer Leger, Park City, 8th; Novie McCabe, USA, 14th. Same event, Jr.s Men, Norway 1st, no USA Men in top 30. Same event, Jr.s, Women, Norway 1st; Samantha Smith, Idaho, 9th; Ava Thurston, USA, 28th.
  • U23, 1.2Km Sprint Final Classic Men, Norway 1st; Luke Jager, Alaska, 12th; Gus Schomaker, Alaska, 16th. Same event, u23 Women, Finland 1st, Novie Mcabe, USA, 24th;  Sidney Palmer Leger, Park City, 30th. Same event, Jr.s, Men, Sweden 1st, no usa in top 30. Same event, Jr.s, Women, Finland 1st, Samantha Smith, Idaho, 8th; Nina Schamberger, USA, 19th; Ava Thurston, USA, 25th. 

Watch the video below to see the electric atmosphere created by the international participants.

Watch this video below to see the top ten finishing country’s mixed cross country teams cross the finish line to the waiting arms of their country mates.

Ski Jumping Results:

  • Mens HS104, Finland 1st, Erik Belshaw, Colorado, 11th.
  • Womens HS104, Canada 1st, Josie Johnson, Utah, 17th.
  • Womens Team 104, Japan 1st, USA 7th, Estella Hasrick, Wisconsin; Adeline Swanson, Minnesota; Sandra Sprock, Illinois; Josie Johnson, Utah.
  • Mens Team HS104, Austria 1st, USA 10th, Erik Belshaw Colorado, Jason Colby, Colorado; Tate Frantz, Lake Placid; Maxim Glyvka, Illinois.
  • Mixed Team HS104, Slovenia 1st, USA 10th, Josie Johnson, Utah; Erik Belshaw, Colorado; Sandra Sprock, Illinois; Tate Frantz, New York.

Nordic Combined Results:

  • Mens Gundersen Normal Hill HS104/10Km PR, Slovakia 1st, Niklas Malacinski, Colorado, 5th; Caleb Zuckermann, Vermont, 23rd; Evan Nichols, New Hampshire, 26th.
  • Mens Team Normal Hill HS 104/4x5Km, Germany 1st, USA 4th, Niklas Malacinski, Colorado; Evan Nichols, New Hampshire; Caleb Zuckermann, Vermont; Carter Brubaker, Alaska.
  • Womens Gundersen Normal Hill HS104/5Km Italy 1st, Alexa Brabec, Colorado, 14th; Tess Arnone, Colorado, 19th.
  • Mens Gundersen Normal Hill HS104/10Km Italy 1st, USA Niklas Malacinski Colorado 5th, Evan Nichols from ? 22nd, Carter Brubaker alaska 27th
  • Mixed Team Normal Hill HS104/4x5Km, Austria 1st, USA 7th, Skyler Amy, Alaska; Carter Brubaker, Alaska; Alexa Brabec, Colorado; Tess Arnone, Colorado.

Dr. Allan Belshaw and Dr. Cathy Johnson Belshaw were there to watch their son Erik while their older daughter was ski jumping at a FIS competition in Germany. They kindly let athletes from the Park City Ski and Snowboard Nordic Team lodge gratis at their house in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Belshaw was the final American athlete to jump on the final day of the week long event. This sport is a blend of objective distance flown and subjective international judge-awarded style points. He had an impressive blend of both which put the USA right on the bubble to advance to the final round and put fingernails in teeth of the robust numbers of USA fans.

Then it was a thrilling waiting game in the Mixed Team event for one country, two countries, five countries to jump. An Austrian athlete bested Belshaw by distance and points in the end which, after the fulfilling and fun international comp, literally sent the USA families packing.

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