Racers pull out all stops as racing begins.  The first day of racing at the FIS Sun Peaks Speed Ski World Cup competition saw fresh and experienced faces take to the race track with some intriguing results recorded.

Among them was impressive Beverley, Massachusetts rookie Joe Nichols, whose path to speed skiing was far from conventional. The Sun Peaks competition was not only his first speed skiing competition but the first time he stepped into gigantic 225 centimetre speed skis and his first ever attempt at speed skiing.

“I’ve never raced in my life and I’ve never done anything with . . . any sort of discipline at all. . . . I’ve done no training whatsoever,” he said.

Nichols, who has spent most of his life working in construction, said that speed skiing was something that he had always wanted to do.

“It caught my eye right away. . . I’ve always been interested in the sport,” said Nichols adding that he found his way to speed skiing by contacting Sun Peaks Speed Skiing Club president Adam Earle.

“I was researching the area . . . and I called Earle . . . He told me how somebody like myself (at 58 years of age) could get involved in it if I wanted to. I pursued it and I’m just so happy that I did.”

Nichols said he had the chance to compete because he was on a trip with friends to Revelstoke, B.C, meaning Sun Peaks was on the way. He arrived days before the competition, renting speed skis and borrowing a racing suit from local business McSporties. He admitted that his first day was “really rough”, but after three bad finishes his fourth run felt a lot better and he felt like he was getting the hang of it.

“So far it’s been a really great experience. The organisers are the friendliest people, helpful people I’ve ever been associated with.”

While Nichols’ fastest run clocked in at a brisk 127.08 km/h (78.96 mph), he was still behind the world’s elite, with Italian world record holder Simone Origone recording the fastest time of the day, 140.80 km/h (87.48 mph), on his second run. Origone’s brother, Ivan, recorded the second fastest run of the day at 140.78 km/h (87.47 mph) with Austrian Klaus Schrottshammer in third with 140.75 km/h (87.45 mph).

In the women’s speed ski Swedish world record holder Sanna Tidstrand was the fastest female with a speed of 139.24 km/h (86.51 mph), fellow swede Linda Baginski recorded the second fastest time, 137.58 km/h (85.48 mph), and Norwegian Liss-Anne Pettersen in third, 137.39 km/h (85.37 mph).

Saturday, March 2 will see more World Cup racing take place (weather permitting) before the winners are crowned on Sunday, March 3.

 

For full race results go to: www.velocitychallenge.com/results