Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

February 2, 2014

Vigland, Vanias triumph at White Pine

BELLAIRE — Susan Vigland and Alex Vanias took the same approach the last few days.

Mix a little rest with a little skiing.

After battling extreme weather conditions in last weekend’s grueling Noquemanon Ski Marathon, Vigland and Vanias had a much easier time of it Saturday in cruising to wins in the White Pine Stampede 50K freestyle. Vigland captured the women’s race in 2:28:14, Vanias the men’s race in 2:12:33.

A week ago, Vigland placed third in the Noquemanon 50K freestyle (3:55:04) while Vanias was 16th in the 50K classic (3:32:20).

“That (Noquemanon) was the hardest race I’ve ever done,” Vigland said. “The snow was so slow. My time was over an hour slower (than previous 50K times). You felt awful. That’s a long time to ski, almost four hours.

“I took it easy this week and I felt really great today. The first 25K, especially before it started snowing, was super fast and fun. It was a well-prepared course.”

Vanias took two days off during the week to recover from the Noquemanon.

“I didn’t ski much this week,” he said. “I felt fine (today), but I could tell I didn’t train enough this week. I was a little flat. No speed.”

Try telling that to the other competitors.

Vanias, who lives in Leroy, pulled away at 30K to win his second consecutive Stampede.

“Three of us (Vanias, Ryan Harris and Glenn Goodman) agreed before the race that we would ski together for 30K or so and then just do whatever,” Vanias said.

In this case, “whatever” meant pull away.

Vanias said he had the fastest skis in the field.

“Same as last year,” he said.

Trail conditions helped, too.

“Great conditions today,” he said. “Before it started snowing, the trail was packed perfectly.”

Williamsburg’s Eli Brown, the two-time defending Vasa champion, was expected to challenge Vanias.

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