Soldier Hollow Junior Nationals 2018
by Tahoe Mountain Sports Ambassador, Cooper Honeywell
My name is Cooper Honeywell; I have grown up in Tahoe my whole life and I have been skiing since I could walk. I compete in many other sports including cross-country running, swim team, and paddleboarding. Additionally, I downhill and backcountry ski, mountain and road bike, as well as free dive. This past March, I traveled to Soldier Hollow, Utah to compete in the Nordic Junior Nationals with 30 members of the Far West region. This was the first year I was eligible, qualifying in races at Auburn Ski Club, Mammoth, and Bend, Oregon. Training all winter with the Auburn Ski Club Competition team and coach Gus Johnson, I was really looking forward to competing on a national level, skiing on the world famous Soldier Hollow trails.
I competed in four races over the course of the week. Initially, I was very intimidated seeing my competitors entering and leaving their wax trailers, seeing all of them warm up on the small ribbon of snow we called the course, and most intimidating of all seeing almost 100 kids line up all around me at the start line.
In my first two races, which were classic distance and skate sprints, I didn’t place as well as I’d hoped, but after a rest day, and getting more comfortable in the large scale environment, I came back to ski the skate distance race, confident and ready. During the huge mass start as I watched them all get bunched up and fall, I stayed on the edges of the trail and was able to pass many of them and work myself to the front of the pack.
When I started to really hurt, I thought about how hard I had been training for this event almost my entire skiing career, and how I was working as hard as I could, six days a week all of fall and winter. This was probably one of the best races of my life; I finished 23rd in the entire country.
I couldn’t have achieved this without pretty much all my gear. My skis were Salomon LAB Junior Classic skis, Fischer CarbonLite Skate. My poles were S/LAB Carbons, my boots were S/LAB Skate Pros and S/LAB Classic Pros, I used Smith PivLock Arena as eyewear, my Far-West race suit, and wax all helped me go fast and have fun at this awesome race. This upcoming season I hope to qualify for Junior Nationals 2019 in Anchorage, then place top 20 at every national race.
Ready to get geared up? Shop Cooper’s race worthy gear below.
Want to learn more about nordic skiing? Check out our post on How to nordic ski, and why you should .
Our youngest ambassador, Cooper gets after it as a year round mountain athlete based in North Lake Tahoe. He’s a trail runner, paddle boarder, and surfer. Once the snow flies, you can find him nordic or backcountry skiing.
Follow him @coophoneywell