Viewing Guide for January 28–February 4: World Juniors/U23s in Whistler (with free streaming link)


2023 FIS Junior & U23 World Cross Country Championships start in Whistler, British Columbia, with the opening ceremony tomorrow afternoon, then the juniors classic sprint on Saturday. Nordic Insights will be there in person for all of the cross-country races. Excitingly, there will also be free live streaming for all races; info on that right below the schedule.

Here’s Devon Kershaw, on the most recent episode of his eponymous show (ca. 32:15 mark), speaking to the qualifications of the squad that the U.S. is sending to this year’s championships:

“You know what’s coming starting next week? Under-23 World Championships and World Juniors. And you know where they are? Whistler. And you know who’s going? Guys that have finished top-twenty [on the World Cup] repeatedly, in Gus [Schumacher], and top-twelve, in JC [Schoonmaker]. And they’re going to U23s, at home in North America, and they’re gonna f–king make some waves, man. And they’re gonna be ready, and they’re gonna kick some ass.”

Get psyched.

From left, Luke Jager, Novie McCabe, and JC Schoonmaker on site earlier this week.

When are the races?

Here is a helpful table for you. Local time at the venue is Pacific Time, which is three hours behind East Coast time and, for the roughly 3 percent of site visitors from Central Europe (welcome! probably you just want NRK for this!), nine hours behind CET.

dateracetime (PST)time (EST)
Saturday, Jan. 28Juniors: W classic sprintarticle
Juniors: M classic sprintarticle
Sunday, Jan. 29U23: W classic sprintarticle
U23: M classic sprintarticle
Monday, Jan. 30Juniors: W 20km classicarticle
Juniors: M 20km classicarticle
Tuesday, Jan. 31U23: W 20km cl mass start10 a.m.1 p.m.
U23: M 20km cl mass start12:30 p.m.3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 2Juniors: W 10km interval-start sk10 a.m.1 p.m.
Juniors: M 10km interval-start sk12 p.m.3 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 3U23: W 10km interval-start sk10 a.m.1 p.m.
U23: M 10km interval-start sk11:30 a.m.2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4relay day!
Juniors: 4 x 5km mixed relay10 a.m.1 p.m.
U23: 4 x 5km mixed relay12 p.m.3 p.m.

Results for all races here. I’ll update with a better link for live timing if/when I find it.

N.b., event organizers have advised athletes that some or all race starts may be delayed by five minutes relative to what is written above, to allow time for a five-minute introduction to event broadcasts on European television.

How can you watch the races?

For free! From your computer! They are showing everything* all week (* okay, not the sprint quals, but yes to tomorrow’s opening ceremony)! There will be commentary! And splits! And graphics!

Seriously though, this looks awesome; kudos to the organizers for making this all available for free, if you’ll pardon one clause worth of editorializing. Find full streaming info and links here.

Who will be racing?

For the Americans: please see yesterday’s article on this subject.

For some of the rest of the world, at least on the distaff side:

Other nations competing, per the medal table currently up on the official race site, include Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Turkey, and Ukraine. Tracking down starters for those nations proved to be outside the scope of this article, as well as any other source that I could find on the entire internet. Sorry.

What do the courses look like?

Here are screenshots of the sprint course, and of the slightly divergent, but fundamentally more similar than not, two different 5km courses used for the distance races.

Whistler sprint course (photo: screenshot from event website)
Whistler interval-start distance course (photo: screenshot from event website)
Whistler mass start distance course (photo: screenshot from event website)

Briefly put, the sprint course has a 25-meter climb immediately out of the stadium, then is mostly downhill back to the finish, albeit with the false flat finish that is best practices for cross-country stadia. Both distance courses are relatively frontloaded with climbing, and feature a near-canonical sharp climb in the final kilometer before a downhill finish into the stadium.

The stadium at Whistler Olympic Park is located at 858 meters above sea level, or 2,800 feet. Current forecasts for the area portend colder than normal temperatures but also noticeably benign (lack of) precipitation conditions for the classic races that start off the week. The default setting for nordic ski racing at this venue is likely “notoriously damp.”

Races start on Saturday. Go team.

— Gavin Kentch

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