The U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships got off to a strong start Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska.
The 15-kilometer freestyle race opened the action at Kincaid Park. Anchorage native Scott Patterson was dominant on home snow with the victory.
He finished in 36 minutes, 33.7 seconds, well ahead of second-place Noah Hoffman of Vail, who was 55.2 seconds back.
Durango had two athletes finish in the top five. Rogan Brown, a former star at the University of Vermont, was fourth, 1:20.3 back of Patterson. Brown now lives and trains in Sun Valley, Idaho, and he represented the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.
Durango’s Tad Elliott, who is a teammate of Hoffman on the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, placed fifth and was 1:24.4 back of Patterson’s fast time.
Brown and Elliott moved up the field on the third of five laps in the race. Brown went from 12th to fifth during the lap with a lap time of 6:19.2.
Elliott went with Brown and charged from 13th up to eighth place with a lap time of 6:33.2. Brown was able to climb one more place before the finish, while Elliott continued to charge up another three places.
Racing will continue all week in Anchorage and will go through Monday. Thursday is a day of training, while Friday will feature the freestyle sprint race.
Sunday is a big day of action with the 5-, 10-, 20-, and 30-kilometer classic races.
A classic sprint is scheduled for Monday.