Snow conditions in Australia and New Zealand are extremely good at the moment. Following early snow falls in June, the major Cross-Country Skiing resorts in the two countries have been grooming tracks regularly for over a month now. There is a base of over half a meter of snow in both countries. In Australia club competitions have been held the last two weekends at Falls Creek and at Perisher Valley, while at the Snow Farm in New Zealand, there have been winter triathlon events.
The Australian Cross-Country Team just finished two weeks of training camps at the National Team Training Center at Falls Creek; the first week with nearly the entire junior and open teams and the second week with just the World Cup Team and prospective athletes aiming for Vancouver 2010. Australia's goals for next season are to have athletes finish in the top 30 in Vancouver, including in the finals of the Classic Sprint event.
On 25th-26th July the Australia - New Zealand Cup (ANC) begins at Perisher Valley in Australia, with subsequent events at Falls Creek and at the Snow Farm. In addition to athletes from Australia and New Zealand, entries have been accepted from Switzerland, Japan and Korea, and also from India and Venezuela. The toughest competition of the season will come at the New Zealand Winter Games competitions at the Snow Farm from 23rd-25th August, where the entire Canadian World Cup team is entered, including World Cup podium finishers Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey, and 2006 Olympic champion Chandra Crawford.
The ANC finishes with the Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek on 29th August, the opening event of the 2009-2010 Worldloppet series. Details of all events throughout the Southern hemisphere winter can be followed at www.hoppet.com.au/xc
Contributed by Finn Marsland