Reese Hanneman’s goal was to host a Nordic-cross race in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. “I had the concept rattling around in my head for a long time,” he says. “But I knew that there was a delicate balance of new, exciting, and extreme, but also staying true to cross country skiing. It's one thing to build a little booter next to the ski trail and ski 'round and 'round hitting it with your friends, and it's another to try and package that experience into a full-on event that offers excitement for all ranges of skills and ages.”
What Hanneman and his team pulled off the first weekend of April was more than a success, it checked all of the boxes he envisioned. Nearly 500 people attended his inaugural NordicX event supported by Fischer Sports US. The course featured jumps and challenges, as well as the lung-busting climbs you’d expect to see in a cross-country ski race. Six Olympians participated, and two, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen and JC Schoonmaker, won the women’s and men’s races, respectively.
When asked what led him to create this event, Hanneman spoke to his childhood and joy of having fun on skis. “NordicX is pretty much the manifestation of the dreams I had as a young skier,” he reminisced. “When I was a youth, I so badly wanted an event like this to exist. As I grew up and was ski racing professionally, the "fun factor" was still a big motivator for me. Even as I started racing SuperTours, Nationals, then World Cup for 8 years and finally the Olympics, I still always loved hitting jumps on my cross country skis and sessioning with my friends. I noticed that a lot of other Nordic skiers liked this too, and that it often was a source of joy for us.”
The women’s champion, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, spoke to the joy of the event and what she thought it offered the community. “This was one of the more fun non-traditional cross country events I’ve done,” she says. “Since Covid, we haven’t really had a chance to gather a community, this gave us the chance to get together and do funky things on our skis. The vibe was amazing.”
Given the success of the event, both the organizers and participants are expecting it to continue in years to come. Everyone spoke about the importance it had on the skiing community as well as the local community who came out to watch skis jump, race, and sometimes fall, all with smiles on their faces.