Snow, moose welcome NCAA skiers to Anchorage

College skiers from throughout the western United States are just one race into a week’s worth of racing in Alaska, and already they have their only-in-Alaska moment.

Heavy snow fell Sunday at Kincaid Park, where the first of seven NCAA races hosted by UAA was held. Among those making tracks in the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle race was one of the park’s moose.

Victories went to New Mexico’s Kornelius Groev in 27 minutes, 16.3 seconds in the men’s 10K, and Denver’s Jasmi Joensuu in 31:09.4 in the women’s 10K.

UAA placed four women and two men in the top 20, a group led by freshman Sigurd Roenning’s 10th-place finish (28:08.4). Toomas Kollo (28:29.5) was 17th for the Seawolves.

Natalie Hynes (33:00.8) topped the UAA women and was joined in the top 20 by teammates Michaela Keller-Miller (15th, 33:17.5), Anna Darnell (16th, 33:18.4) and Jenna Difalco (18th, 33:45.9).

UAF’s best showings came from Kati Roivas (4th place in the women’s race, 31:55.5) and Seiji Takagi (13th in the men’s race, 28:12.1).

Sunday’s race was the first of eight that make up a pair of meets -- the UAA Invitational (nordic races Sunday and Monday; alpine races Thursday and Saturday) and the NCAA Western Regional championships (nordic races Wednesday and Saturday; alpine races Friday and Sunday).

One race into the UAA Invitational, Colorado holds an eight-point lead over Utah with 169 points. UAF is in fifth place with 109 points and UAA is right behind with 100.

Monday — Classic sprints, 10 a.m. qualifying (heats in the afternoon), Kincaid Park

Wednesday — Interval-start freestyle races, 11 a.m., Government Peak

Thursday — Giant slalom, 10 a.m., Alyeska Resort

Friday — Giant slalom, 10 a.m., Alyeska Resort; mass-start classic races, 10 a.m., Kincaid Park

Saturday — Slalom, 10 a.m., Alyeska Resort

Sunday (Jan. 24) — Slalom, 10 a.m., Alyeska Resort