Jan. 29, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Mother Nature has done her part in getting ready for this weekend's University of New Mexico Ski Invitational Nordic events to be held at the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Area in Red River, N.M., as she dumped the mountain town with a heaping helping of snow late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Now it's up to Fredrik Landstedt's Lobos to make the most of their home event this weekend.
UNM hosts Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association foes Colorado, Denver, Alaska-Anchorage, Montana State, Utah and Wyoming Friday and Saturday for the Nordic portion of their home meet. Friday's 5/5K Classical race will begin at 9:30 a.m. for the women and 10:30 a.m. for the men. On Saturday, action for the 10/10K Freestyle race gets underway at 9:00 a.m. for the men and 10:15 a.m. for the women.
"I hear they got about a foot (of snow)," Landstedt said. "We needed some more and a foot is good. There were some places (on the trail) that were looking thin, so this new snow should cover those spots and it will should be perfect for our race."
The Lobos didn't have a home invitational last season and are looking forward to hosting instead of traveling. Typically the team travels eight to 10 hours, or more, for competitions.
"It's going to be nice traveling less," sophomore Clara Chauvet said. "We can go to school in the morning on Thursday and then leave at noon and get there three hours later. That is awesome."
New Mexico hosted meets in 2010 and in 2011 and won the invitational each year. Since 1983 the Lobos have hosted 23 meets and have won five of those contests. Thirty-six UNM skiers have won individual events at home invitationals, including current Alpiners Juho-Pekka Penttinen (Slalom in 2011) and Anne Cecilie Brusletto (two Slalom wins in 2011 and one in 2010). Nordic student assistant coach and former Lobo great Martin W. Kaas won the Classical and Freestyle in 2010, and also won the Classical in 2011
"The home meet for sure is the one meet you want to win each year," Landstedt said. "We feel that we have a good chance of winning it. We know the trails and the Alpine team knows the hill well, and the Slalom event is a good fit for them. As long as the Nordic team gets a good start this weekend and stays close to the other teams, I think the Alpine team can do really well next weekend and hopefully we can win the meet."
New Mexico will again look to sophomore newcomer Mats Rudin Resaland on the men's side, and senior Linn Håvelsrud Klaesson on the women's side to pace the Lobos. Resaland has led the men in all four RMISA meets so far this season, placing ninth or higher in each meet. His best finish was two weekends ago at the DU Invite when he placed third in the 15K Classical.
Klaesson has led the women three times, placing as high as fourth this season in the 15K freestyle on Jan. 12 at the CU Invite.
Chauvet has been a consistent point earner for the Lobo women as she has finished in UNM's top three each meet.
"The people who work up there are very nice and it's fun to compete up there," Chauvet said. "Being at home is a little bit of pressure and a motivator. We want to push as hard as possible and for everyone to give their best. At the same time, I try not to think about it. If you think about it too much, you start to put too much pressure on yourself. I prefer to see what happens."
Landstedt's focus and expectation for the team is consistent as any other meet - improvement.
"Every meet our goal is to get better and better," he said. "That's what we're aiming at. We're not looking as much at the results from each race, but for everybody to keep improving towards NCAAs."
The Alpine team will be in Vail, Colo., Jan. 31-Feb. 5 competing in NorAm events. The Lobos will then begin the downhill portion of the Utah Invitational Feb. 6-7 in Loveland, Colo., before returning to Red River Feb. 9-10 for their portion of the UNM Invite.
New Mexico Home Meet History (since 1983)
1983 - Third
1985 - Third
1986 - Fourth
1987 - First
1988 - Fourth
1989 (Alpine only) - Fifth
1990 - Fourth
1991 - Second
1992 (Alpine only) - First
1993 (NCAA West Regional/RMISA Championships)- Third
1994 - Third
1998 - Fourth
1999 - Second
2001 - Fourth
2002 - Fourth
2005 - Third
2007 - Third
2008 - Third
2010 - First
2011 - First