Injury and personal scheduling conflicts will limit the Nickel Plate Junior Racing team for the 22nd annual 30-kilometre Classic Loppet.
Seven members may compete, but that number could be close to five as two other skiers make their decisions late due to illness.
Coach Jerome Jang still feels that the athletes he coaches will be ready for the weekend. Three of his skiers will be challenged as they compete in the open mens category. The event has a three-km length for athletes 13 and under, 7.5-km for 14 to 17, a 15-km recreational length and 30-km.
"They will be skiing against people 17 and older," said Jang. "I think they will be quite well. They will certainly be near the front of the pack. Skiing against a bunch of older, stronger skiers, it will be tough to break into the top ranks."
However, Jang said they will improve their fitness from taking on the longer distance and it will help them build confidence.
"Normally they ski three-km and some of them are skiing up to 15 kilometers," he said. "That is quite a long distance for a young kid."
As for the conditions of the trails, Jang, who was up at Nickel Plate at Apex Mountain Monday morning, expects them to be pretty good. With more snow expected and temperatures remaining cool, he said they should be excellent for the athletes.
Those representing Nickel Plate Junior Race program are Walker Singleton, Oscar and Theo Morrison, Noah Beglaw, Sol Jacques and possibly Allie and Kjeira Hayman.
Jacques said he is very excited about the event, which he has participated in a handful of times.
“It’s just fun to be racing against teammates on the home mountain,” he said.
Jacques is confident he will do well. So far this season he has placed fourth in races and finished third once. The youngster said he doesn’t think about results while out on the trail, only his technique.
“My main goal is to beat my previous times and do as good as I can,” said Jacques.