Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flurries awards: skiers of the year

I was debating whether to have skiers of the year. It would be rather hard to choose, and how to decide on criteria; it would definitely be completely subjective. And I'd risk offending people. And I'd never want to do that on the internet.

My life was made easier, however, by the fact that there were pretty obvious choices for both male and female skiers of the year. Now, to recap, that these awards are based on "for the local skiers who have had the most impressive skiing years (and a premium is placed on both local, national and international racing)." I don't really know what that means, so I'll qualify it with the fact that doing cool things, especially in big races, help, especially at races I attended. Remember, totally subjective.

Let's start with the men, since it's pretty darned easy. If you guessed Matt Liebsch, you'd be right. I first met Matt back in 2005 when he was skiing for the U and I was in the market for a pair of classic boots. Since then, he's gone from being a good skier to being a really good skier, and I've [redacted]. But I still race in his classic boots. Heck, I podiumed at the Gov Cup (uh, out of a field of maybe two dozen?) in them. And I can say that Matt is a really nice guy.

And it turns out, a good skier, too. But he did two things this year which are pretty cool. He started out winning on a team at the Breadsmith Relays. That was not one of the things. The first one I saw was at Mora. The field went out fast, then slowed down, and then at 15k got fast. That's all I know. Supposedly it got faster, and faster, and faster, and was then down to one. Matt skied the Mora course, in to the wind, a flat course, on his own. And won by something like four minutes. That's crazy.

Then it went to Birkie weekend. This time Matt had enough time on everyone that he decided to grab his kid across the line. And then …

Well, Matt, next time you win the Birkie, don't drop Grant. Matt may not have had great success internationally, but anyone who wins the the Birkie and the Mora wins the Flurry.

For the women, it was not as clear-cut, but a few factors led to Caitlin Compton. She had some more success internationally than Matt, but three things stick out in my mind to give her the award.

First, she almost won a race at Woodland. "Of course she did," you'll say, the City of Lakes. No, I don't mean the women's field. I mean, against the boys.

That's the end of the race. Bjorn Batdorf, not a bad skier himself, won. And Caitlin finished four seconds back.

That's pretty good.

Then it was City of Lakes time. Against a better field, she finished 11th. Overall. And a good five minutes over the next women.

Then, a couple weeks later, Caitlin got a nice spread in City Pages. And she went off to Europe. So, all in all, not too shabby.

Kudos to CXC, as it's a twofer for the CXC team. Good on you guys.

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