Kikkan Randall nears the top of the climb as top cross country skiers tackle the challenging Dollar Mountain Hillclimb to wrapup the SuperTour Finals in Sun Valley. (Tom Kelly/USSA)
SUN VALLEY, ID (April 2) - The U.S. Ski Team’s Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) capped tremendous seasons Saturday with wins in the men’s and women’s SuperTour Finals 5k hill climb up Dollar Mountain in Sun Valley. With the victories, both Freeman and Randall secured SuperTour Finals titles.
Randall started the day comfortably in the lead after amassing a large amount of bonus seconds through the first three stages. The third overall scorer in the World Cup sprint standings this season did not rely on the head start to claim victory powering up Dollar Mountain in impressive fashion to bury the competition
"I wanted to lay down a good time, I tried to ski hard,” explained Randall. “It was a little hard being out in front knowing I had a big lead, but I tried to push it in and finish strong."
The SuperTour Finals win proved a fitting end to a dream season for Randall, who skied to two World Cup victories and led the World Cup sprint standings for a majority of the season.
"It was a little bit surreal finishing the race today, it was a great way to end [the season]. I’m looking forward to doing some free skiing," said Randall.
Behind Randall, APUNSC’s Holly Brooks (Anchorage) took second and CXC’s Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) wrapped up third. Freeman rallied from a stumble in Friday’s classic sprint to earn the win in the hill climb and take the SuperTour Finals title on the men’s side. Spectators lined the course as Freeman used the first hill to separate himself from teammate Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO).
"I made a really hard move in the first big hill, and even though I paid for it later I felt like I kind of broke free,” Freeman said. “I had to get over my crash yesterday and ski a confident race, I think I did that."
The win also signals the close of Freeman’s season, one that saw the New Hampshire native place consistently in the top third of the World Cup field.
"It’s a great step and I’m looking forward to working on getting faster for next year," said Freeman.
Hamilton and teammate Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) rounded out the day’s podium, finishing second and third respectively. CXC's Tad Elliot (Durango, CO) skied the fastest overall time of the day.
Freeman and Randall weren’t the only ones to collect wins on the day however, as APUNSC’s Lars Flora (Anchorage) and Brooks earned SuperTour overall season titles, and automatic spots on the World Cup circuit next season. Both Brooks and Flora shined on the SuperTour this year, earning several podiums each en route to the top spots.
"I had a great start, but after some ups and downs had to ski really strong here to hold onto my titles,” Brooks explained. “It was a great way to cap off my season."
In addition to the overall titles, Brooks completed the sweep, earning the sprint and distance SuperTour titles. The hill climb was the last competition at the SuperTour Finals, an event that saw an astounding 150 men's athletes and over 100 women's athletes.
However the weekend continues Sunday with a very special Fast and Female clinic hosted by Randall, Canada’s Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford and four other women's Olympians. The group will conclude the cross-country season by skiing, sharing lunch and signing autographs in a very intimate and fun-filled afternoon in Sun Valley.