Besh Cup races #5 and #6, normally held on the first weekend in February in Fairbanks (Feb 1 and 2 this year), have been moved to southcentral Alaska. Below is a letter from John Estle, chairman of the committee that oversees the Besh Cup race scheduling. In the letter, John explains the reasoning behind the location change.

For people not involved with the Besh Cups, this means that Birch Hill Recreation Area will be considerably less busy this coming weekend (though we do miss out on watching some excellent skiers).

John’s letter:

The Cross Country Alaska (CCAK) Competition Committee held a special meeting
Sunday night to discuss what to do with Besh 5-6 in light of the weather
forecast for Fairbanks for the coming weekend. Every member of the committee
had the opportunity to speak to what they felt was the best option.  The
discussion was to the point and not circular.  Options discussed were:
1) cancellation of Besh Cup races #5 and #6 (the committee overwhelmingly
felt that it was important to have 6 races for JN team selection)
2) postponement by one week and hosting the races in Fairbanks (long-term
forecast is not promising for that option)
3) having both races at Kincaid Park (not possible due to Ski for Women on
Sunday which consumes a lot of space, parking and resources)
4) having both races at GPRA (MatSu Ski Club would like to minimize grooming
due to relatively thin snow cover, so only wants to organize one day of
5) race Saturday at Kincaid and Sunday at MatSu

Option 5 was chosen on a 13-2 roll call vote, so:
–Besh Cup #5 will be held at Kincaid Park in Anchorage on Saturday,
following a high school race that finishes around mid-day.  The format will
be mass start/free technique, as was originally planned.
–Besh Cup #6 will be held at Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA) in the
Palmer/Wasilla area on Sunday.  The format will be mass start/classic
technique, as was originally planned.

I understand there has been some concern from Fairbanks/FXC parents about
the CCAK Competition Committee, the vote and how the vote was taken.  Below
is a summary description of the CCAK Competition Committee, what it does,
how it is structured, when it meets, and how this decision was made.

About the CCAK Competition Committee
The CCAK Competition Committee oversees, among other things, –scheduling,
location, technical delegate assignments, formats and distances Besh Cup
races, –selection of coaches for the Alaska Team to Junior Nationals and
Arctic Winter Games, –selection of athletes to the Alaska Team to Junior
Nationals and Arctic Winter Games

The voting members of the CCAK Competition Committee includes two
representatives each from: FXC, NSCF, NSAA, APU, AWS, ANR; one
representative each from UAF and UAA; the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club
(Homer/Lookout Mt), MatSu Ski Club (GPRA), and Tsalteshi Trails Association
(Soldotna Besh Cup organiers) have one representative each, and get a second
representative in years when they host Besh Cup events. There is also one
representative who is the Alaska member of the US Ski & Snowboard Officials
Committee, and a representative who is the Alaska member of the US Ski &
Snowboard Sport (Cross Country) Committee.  This structure has evolved over
many years before arriving at its current state, which was approved
unanimously at the CCAK Spring Summit in April.  The membership is based
upon making sure that the organizations that have the biggest stake in cross
country skiing in Alaska have equal voices (FXC, NSCF, NSAA, APU, AWS, ANR).
It is, in essence, representative democracy.

All committee meetings are via teleconference.  The committee meets in
March, April, May, September, October, November on the 3rd Tuesday of the
month.  The committee meets in December, January, and February on the
Wednesday prior to Besh Cup races.  Meetings are open.  The vast majority of
committee members attend a very high percentage of the committee meetings.
Their attendance is a clear statement of their dedication to the sport, and
their willingness to give up personal time to make decisions in what they
believe to be the best interests of the sport.  Committee members are people
who have made cross country ski sport their career or their avocation.
Members are knowledgeable and professional.  There is a high degree of trust
among members.

At Sunday night’s meeting, all but two members from Anchorage and Fairbanks
were present, (one Fairbanks member and one Anchorage member were absent),
and one member from MatSu was present.  No one from the Kenai Peninsula was
present.  The chair called on each member of the committee, in random order,
to express their position on what should be done about Besh Cup 5-6,
scheduled for February 1-2 at Birch Hill in Fairbanks.  After everyone had
had their say once, there was very little additional discussion, because
everything had already been said.  At that point, a motion was made, and
seconded, to choose option 5 above.  After a short discussion, a roll call
vote was taken.  The vote was 13-2 in favor of option 5.

The decision was made in the open, by roll call vote, with no prior backroom
deals, by the Committee’s long-standing operating rules.  There was no lack
of transparence in the decision.  I understand that the decision has not met
with favor by numerous Fairbanks/FXC parents.  That is understandable.
However, the decision has been made by the rules that have been in place,
and worked well for our sport, for a many years.  Regardless of my personal
feelings about the outcome of the vote, I stand 100% behind the decision of
the committee and the methodology used to make that decision – because it
was done correctly.  At this point, it is too late to reconsider or change
the vote.  What’s done is done.

The CCAK Competition Committee will hold its customary Wednesday meeting
prior to Besh Cup at 8PM to discuss details of the relocated races.


John Estle, Chairperson of CCAK Competition Committee