Meltdown forces Besh Cup races north to Fairbanks

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 15:16
  • Star file photo/Matt Tunseth

Warm weather in Anchorage has forced a last-minute venue change for the upcoming Besh Cup Series Nordic ski races.

On Monday, the Cross Country Alaska competition committee met to discuss the races, which were to be held in Anchorage Dec. 16-17. Due to rapidly deteriorating conditions at Kincaid Park, the committee voted to move the races to Fairbanks instead.

“We know that any change or cancellation to the schedule will not be favored by everyone,” the committee wrote in a note posted to crosscountryalaska.org and the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA) website. “Fairbanks people had plans to come south this weekend and are shifting plans. Non-Fairbanks people have to change February plans; and last minute December weekend plans. Homer people have to drive many more hours further. Rest assured though, Fairbanks is ready to take on the challenge and will rise to the occasion of putting on the best races possible over the shortest weekend of the year! It’s also good to keep in mind that if there are 6 races, the best FOUR are considered for Team Alaska teams.”

The Besh Cup is a competitive race series used to determine spots on Junior National and Arctic Winter Games teams. There are six races scheduled throughout the season. In addition to moving the first and second races to Fairbanks, the committee also voted to move races 5 and 6 from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

Anchorage has seen unseasonably warm temperatures over the last week, with high temperatures well into the 40s and strong winds. Although temperatures are expected to drop by the weekend, ski trails have mostly turned to glare ice — or worse — meaning groomers don’t have much natural or artificial snow left to work with.

“While NSAA would do the best it could based on current snow and conditions, there would still be a chance that further deterioration could result in race cancellation,” read the post.

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