By Garrett Fisk – SSWSC Coach
This past week and a half I had the great opportunity to lead a group of juniors over to Germany to compete in the FIS Youth Cup. I brought over three youngsters from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club: Annika Belshaw, Erik Belshaw and Canden Wilkinson. Our first stop was Breitenberg, Germany (aka Rastbuch) where we trained on a newly rebuilt HS75. We met a group of juniors from the Czech Republic and were able to train with them too. In Breitenberg, we also had a great roller ski loop which had both easy loops and more advanced loops. It was a great experience for the athletes to ski on such advanced loops.
After Breitenberg we moved on to Oberstdorf for the FIS Youth Cup, where we met up with the USA Nordic Ski Team. We also had Niklas Malacinski and Stephen Schumann join our group. Niklas trains with the SSWSC but splits his time between living in Finland (where his mother is from) and Steamboat Springs. This was Niklas’ third time in the FIS Youth Cup. Stephen, age 16, had been in Europe training and competing with the USA Nordic Combined Team.
In all, the Youth Cup had 108 competitors with a wide range of ages. The competition was very tight, including some of the athletes who were already competing on the Grand Prix level (including our own Stephen Schumann!). I am very proud of how all our athletes jumped and raced. My athletes were excited to jump a new hill and compete on the HS60. For the skate races there were two different races. The first race was right in downtown Oberstdorf. The kids raced through the streets with spectators lining the streets to cheer them on. Our second race was at the cross-country venue near the ski flying hill. Everyone had a blast and enjoyed the experience.
The results: Stephen Schumann was our top athlete in his group, finishing 8th and 6th place. Annika Belshaw placed 17th and 12th in the girls 12-14 age group. Niklas Makacinski placed 27th and 23rd. Canden Wilkinson placed 32nd and 33rd. Our youngest competitor, at age 12, was Erik Belshaw, who placed 35th and 40th.
On behalf of the athletes and myself we want to put out a huge thank you to the USA NORDIC and NNF for all your help and support on this trip. We wouldn’t have been able to do this trip without your support. BIG THANKS TO BOTH ORGANIZATION!