Erik Bjornsen rollerskiing, which is the primary method for cross country ski training in the summer time. Photo courtesy of USSA

Erik Bjornsen rollerskiing, which is the primary method for cross country ski training in the summer time. Photo courtesy of USSA

By Mike Maltais

Just 169 days from today (Aug. 21), the 2014 Winter Olympics will commence on Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia, and two Nordic hopefuls from the Methow Valley, Erik and Sadie Bjornsen hope to be among the U.S. Ski Team members selected to compete there.

The Bjornsens are currently in Park City, Utah, training with the Nordic team representing Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, where both are students.

“The team members won’t be announced until just before the start of the games,” Erik said earlier this week from Park City.

A total of 19 men and women can be chosen for the U.S. Nordic team and currently both Bjornsens are on the U.S. cross country B team.

“The criteria for selecting the Olympic team is similar to that used to select the world championship team,” Erik added.

Bjornsen, 21, made that team for the first time last year and was the youngest member selected.

Following another week at Park City, Erik will return to the Methow for the first time this summer to conduct the Cascade Challenge Rollerski Clinic on Aug. 30 from 3-5 p.m. at the Mazama Community Center for anyone interested in improving XC technique.

Then it’s back to Alaska Pacific and more training in preparation for the season’s first event at West Yellowstone, Mont., in late November.