ICWG: Cross-country course challenges field

Gaylen Halasz, of Saranac Lake, skis during the boys cross-country race at the International Children's Winter Games on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

LAKE PLACID — More than 40 skiers from at least a half-dozen countries gathered in the shadows of the Olympic ski jumps for the first race of the International Children’s Winter Games in Lake Placid on Tuesday, and while local skiers missed the podium, the competition was friendly and fun.

Skiing two 1.75-kilometer laps at the Olympic Jumping Complex, boys and girls from around the U.S., Canada, Germany, Slovenia, Iceland, Greece, Switzerland and Estonia took off at 30-second intervals under overcast skies.

Tate Frantz, of Team Lake Placid, led the way for the local boys with a finish time of 7 minutes, 54.1 seconds, which was good for 10th place in the field of 24. Team Lake Placid skier Andrew Scanio (8:06.2) took 11th, Daven Linck (8:36) finished 13th and Gaylen Halasz (9:18.7) rounded out the locals in 16th. Estonia’s Ralf Kivil placed first with a 6:42.8 finish.

In the girls race, which started at 11 a.m. after some light drizzle, Frisco, Colorado’s Nina Schamberger won the race with a 6:44.1 while Ellie Evans (9:34) led Team Lake Placid with an 11th-place finish. Teammate Lilly Rother (9:49.2) finished 14th, and was followed across the line by Sydney Lawrence (10:42.8) and Maisie Crane (11:00.4).

Evans said she was enjoying the international flavor that the games have brought to town.

Team Lake Placid cross-country ski racer Sydney Lawrence tucks down a hill on Jan. 8 at the ski jumping complex in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

“The second hill killed me a little bit, but other than that I felt pretty good,” Evans said. “It’s really, really, really cool. I really like seeing people that speak different languages and doing things differently than we do.

“It’s really cool because you don’t have to go far, and we live in a really amazing place where we have all these opportunities and I think it’s really cool that everyone came to where I live every day to do something this big.”

Frantz, who has traveled around North America and Europe competing in ski jumping, said he hopes the Games add a Nordic Combined event in the near future. Nordic Combined is when a ski jumper’s distance determines their starting place in a cross-country skiing race that follows.

“I’m pretty tired, the lungs are burning, and going up those hills was pretty tough” he said. “It feels a lot better to be at home with a home crowd. Other teammates who don’t Nordic ski came out to cheer me on, so it’s pretty cool.

“Sadly, they don’t have ski jumping. Hopefully the next time something like this comes around there will be Nordic Combined in it and hopefully Nordic Combined can be my sport in the future.”

Lawrence said she just plain had a good time competing in the games.

“I think I did a good job for the most part. It was fun, that was definitely part of it,” she said. “I’ve never done the Children’s Games before. I’ve never done that before, met people from different countries, (and) that was fun.”

The Children’s Games continue Wednesday and Thursday, with more cross-country skiing at the Olympic jumps. Qualifications for the boys and girls start today at 9 a.m., with the race starting at 10. The mixed team relay takes place on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

COMMENTS