TELLURIDE – The recipe for success in Nordic racing is to find a hardworking athlete with a background in Alpine ski racing and cross-country running. Anna Fake is that athlete. Fake, a sophomore at Telluride High School, hung up her alpine skis and strapped on the skinny skis this winter. With one Nordic qualifier to go, she has raced her way to a spot on the Rocky Mountain Region’s junior national team.
Fake skis with the Durango Nordic Team, following in the footsteps of her former running teammate, Rachel Hampton, who now skis for Harvard University. She trains on local Nordic trails during the week, heading to Durango on weekends for coaching and team camaraderie.
She attended her first clinic over Thanksgiving, where she learned the latest in cross-country ski technique and honed her fitness and competitive spirit. To the surprise of everyone but her coaches, she muscled her way to the finish line, devouring uphills and charging downhills.
According to Gary Colliander, Durango Nordic U-16 coach, “Anna has been a great addition to our team this season. Her great athleticism, work ethic and drive seem to come naturally to her, as she makes things look easy. The best part is that she does it while cracking a joke and with a big smile on her face. It will be a treat to watch her grow and improve in this sport in years to come.”
Fake recently attended a Super-Qualifier on the 2002 Olympics course in Soldier Hollow, Utah, which drew from clubs all over the western half of the U.S., and pitted her against 86 competitors. After a qualifying heat to seed the racers, she finished in 4th place, fighting elbow-to-elbow for a podium spot. The following day, Fake raced 90 skiers in a mass start, finishing in 12th place.
Fake heads to Vail on Feb. 21-22, and then to Stowe, Vt., for the Junior Nationals.