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  • Writer's picturerganderson915

US Nationals 2024


Blog is back after a little “holiday break." Here’s what I’ve been up to, and some race highlights, lowlights, and takeaways.


I just got back from US Nationals // SuperTour Period 2 in Utah. Just before, I spent Christmas in Utah with my parents to get acclimated to higher elevation before race time. It was no white Christmas, but the sun and family time made up for it.

the wonderful Todd and Lisa

There were lots of skiers from around the nation (about 200 per gender) and it was extremely fun to see everyone in one place again. The venue at Soldier Hollow (soho) managed to make a beautiful 3.3k artificial snow loop despite the almost non-existence of natural snow. The small loop made for some good social laps of skiing, just how I like it! Soho is a very exposed venue that is great for spectating and seeing everyone out there. It’s not the woodsy, secluded type of cross country skiing by any means, but a sunny, mountainside race course.

Lots of people on the snow

In summary, it was a very pleasant week with APU teammates, and the races went better than ever. I undoubtedly correlate the two and feel really lucky to be a part of such a positive team atmosphere. Except for when I had to suffer through a game of Catan. At least Catan has a photogenic board that is good for posting on instagram.

crazy New Year's Eve party (cards)



There were 4 races: 2 distance and 2 sprints. Here are some highlights, lowlights, and takeaways from each race.

10k classic - 8th American, 14th overall


  • This was my career best distance result. I paced it well, which meant that the race actually felt pretty good, too. In other words, I didn’t use all my energy in the first 5 minutes! Easier in theory than in practice, for me at least.

  • My housemates in Alaska, Astrid and Tuva, had a great day, too. We got to ski together a little. (Astrid 5th, Tuva 9th overall). 


  • I froze during my warmup because I expected it to be warm like it had been most days before. We started before the sun came up which turned out to significantly affect the “feels-like” temp in the desert of Utah.


I had very few good distance races last year and started to doubt my ability. So I guess the takeaway is that racing can ebb and flow, and bad seasons don’t mean that it’s all lost.

Tuva is the green skier gaining on me in the background :)

Skate Sprint - 16th American, 20th overall (26th qualifier)


  • This race destroyed me physically but I felt like my recovery game was better than last time this happened. I managed to eat a sandwich and chill out enough to feel decent by the time I had to go again.


  • Skate sprinting has me puking these days. I don’t love this new era. We’ve had some long sprints (4-5min long), and I’ve been pacing them like they’re half the length which is not helping my case. Ouch


Pushing hard does not always equate to speed on skis and there’s no award for destroying yourself. Racing smart is not to be overlooked!

20k Skate Mass Start - 14th American, 16th overall


  • I found some energy about half-way through and started actually feeling better as the race went on. I skied with my friend Erin Bianco the whole time, which reminded us of our college days. 


  • The conditions slowed down a little as we went. Not much of a lowlight


Long races are cool. It feels like such a journey out there and really taps into the training we do all year - physical and mental

Chasing down Erin!

photo: @untraceableg on instagram

Classic Sprint - 7th American, 11th overall (2nd qualifier!)


  • This was another career best result. The course suited my strengths with a lot of steep hills to run up.


  • This “sprint” took almost 5 minutes and I like to complain about long sprints. I think it’s more fun to ski fast and use a different skill set than we use in distance racing. (3 minute sprint is more standard on the World Cup race circuit)


Don't complain about long sprints, just learn how to pace them Renae!!

Thanks for following along. My next races are in Lake Placid, New York. If you’re a close blog-follower, I will know whether I met some of my season goals after these races - stay tuned :) It’s been a fun start to the season with a healthy mix of bad, okay, good, and great races. That’s skiing for ya

Love, Renae 

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