Skiers take training laps on the snow-covered trails at the Sochi 2014 Laura venue in preparation for the weekend Olympic test events. (Getty Images/AFP)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 1) - Five U.S. Ski Team women and two men qualified for sprint heats on a foggy afternoon at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center above Krasnaya Polyana outside Sochi. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was second fastest to lead the U.S. women while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was sixth.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) led seven U.S. Ski Team athletes in impressive sprint qualifying at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center near Krasnaya Polyana.
The men will ski 1.8k with women going 1.25. Early opinions of the course are that it is very challenging.
More new snow greeted skiers with foggy conditions for the 2:30 p.m. local time start.
It's the first major test for the Laura venue situated above the village of Krasnaya Polyana and across the valley from the Rosa Khutor alpine venue and ski jumping venue.
Other U.S. qualifiers included Holly Brooks (Anchorage), Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN), Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO).