Race Story: Lotvola Cup

by Jill Troutner
March 6, 2007

Big snow this week helped the racing scene this past weekend. Saturday looked like a fabulous day for skiing-but alas, I was unable jump into even one event that day. The forecast was just as nice for Sunday and my dad spent the morning extolling the virtues of the Lotvola Cup's "wood ski division." He prepped a few pairs and I tooled around testing them - doing the various boot switches that were required with NNN, SNS, and 3 pins depending on what got mounted. On a whim I grabbed his favorite pair and decided that they were going to be the "ones." This put my dear dad in a ski selection scramble. Should he still try to "wood" or not to "wood." Kids these days-so selfish. Sometimes having lots of skis can be a mixed blessing or just more work.

The days' forecast came true as we arrived at Maplelag. The sunshine made it a beautiful winter day. The light through the stained glass windows in the lodge was gorgeous. Registration was a breeze leaving us twenty minutes to the start. The start on the lake was breezy but sunshine put lots of smiles on everyone. The course was a little different but better than I remembered. Less time on the lake and more ski time in the woods keeps you out of the wind. The ski conditions were ideal and the track was better than any time I can remember at previous Lotvola Cups. With the past weeks snow, skiing around the area is outstanding and scenic.

Unfortunately, having swiped my dad's favorite pair of wood skis I felt an obligation to put a big hurt on and make his sacrifice worthwhile. So, I toiled along with my technique mantra repeating itself in my head (advice from coaches past). There was a "WOW" moment when a youngster in a red suit went by. She was a beautiful classic skier. Biomechanics and economy of motion so fluid in this young lady that I forgot my mantra and just admired her as she went right by me and kept on going. (I saw her after the race and actually demanded her name. She gave me some big eyes and said "Summer, Summer Ellefson." I asked her if she could skate as beautifully as she could classic and the eyes went a little bigger and she said "yes" and then escaped from my interrogation. I yelled after her that I wanted to see her at the start of the Mora in a few years. One to watch for the future-I think she will be exciting.)

Sorry, got off track (pun). Saw another young hotshot on the last crossover to the finish. Nice looking white suit with silver snowflakes. Tall, lanky, young man cooking along to the finish. He was a flash as he crossed in front of me heading to the finish just a couple of kilometers away. Wynn Roberts-another biathlete proving that he can classic and not just skate. Wynn did his first Birkie this year and I didn't even recognize him (something about being a foot taller and looking like he could snap me in two). His brother Conrad (in the same cool white and silver suit) was skiing the Lotvola also and was well ahead of me. The brothers stood together at the finish with one of the Ellefson boys and watched the rest of us stride in.

Afterwards, you head for the main building and a great meal (recommend the soup-any soup since it is all excellent). The awards went quickly and efficiently. Jay and Jonell's youngest boy was at the awards table with them. I guess Jim and Mary Richards have 8 grandsons. I can only imagine the fun and adventures with 8 boys in northern Minnesota. The stories the Richards must and will have to tell...sorry-drifting off track again.

Anyway-I managed to do my dad's skis some honor and was the first wood skier in that day. Kudos to number 68 (David Grundy) from Bemidji. He was the most authentic wood skier-poles, leather shoes-even the suit. My last race before I venture down south and with one more week here I going to put in some easy hours on skis-any skis. Wood, backcountry, my speedy Madshus Hypersonics-the week is gonna go fast. Something to ski on everyday.