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March Madness

It’s March 13th and we’re expecting 12-18 inches of snow tomorrow! Madness…..but we’ll take every inch of it.

Kat returned yesterday from US Junior Nationals in Lake Placid with Olivia, Rena, Greg, Nick, Walker and Elliot while Colin made the trek back from Maine where Tanner, TK, Brian and Carl skied for team Vermont in the New England U16 Festival. Here’s a quick synopsis of each event, our results, and some photos.

Lake Placid was awarded the 2017 JN’s when FIS awarded Soldier Hollow, Utah this year’s World Junior and U23 Championships. SoHo had been on tap for JN’s but three big events (Senior Nats were moved to SoHo as well) in one year is just too much for any organizing committee so Lake Placid stepped up to the plate. With half the time an OC usually has to put together an event of this size the ORDA (Olympic Region Development Authority) put together a spectacular week. It helps of course to have a backdrop steeped in Olympic history from both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, but just about everything went off without a hitch.

The hitch, the big one, was Mother Nature. Less than a week before the first races kicked off the entire northeast was dealt a meltdown that left Van Hoevenberg, the Lake Placid nordic ski and sliding sports venue, without enough snow to host JN’s. Luckily their ski jumping and biathlon (summer training) venue has snowmaking and ready to go as backup. Within three days everything was moved (including a giant waxing trailer for each team – so 11 of them) to the new venue and teams arrived on site. The New England team had a very convenient setup, staying just 2 minutes away at the US Olympic Training Center where we had access to not just sleep quarters, but a full dining hall available to our athletes 7am-9pm daily, conference rooms for team meetings and study halls, and their world-class training facilities. The gym (think basketball courts and yoga mats, not weight room) came in very handy during the second half of the race week when weather turned warm/wet and then frigid.

Nick took the Athlete’s Pledge for Team New England at the opening ceremonies.

The schedule featured a skate individual distance event on Monday, classic sprints in balmy temperatures on Wednesday, classic individual distance (changed from mass start due to limited width on the revised race course) on Friday, and closed with skate 3 x 3k relays on Saturday in frigid temperatures with howling wind. The new venue offered a significant climb from the base of the ski jumps up onto the new rollerski loops that have been built as summer training terrain for the US Biathlon team. The longest, a 2.5k loop, was used for the distance courses while a 1.5k version (pretty much just big climbs) was raced for the sprints and relays.

Walker (318) skiing with future Dartmouth teammate Adam Glueck during the skate 10k on Monday.

Rena climbing toward the top of the 2.5k course in Monday’s skate race.

Olivia all smiles at the start of her first Junior Nationals race! 

Olivia striding side-by-side in the sprint heats with NE teammate Laura Appleby who skis for Cambridge Sports Union.

Rena smiling after capturing silver in the classic sprints!

Nick pushing through a snow flurry during the classic 10k.

Greg working hard at the top of the 2.5k course during the classic 10k.

Elliot striding with a pack on his last loop of the classic 10k.

The second lap of the U18 women’s relay on Saturday

Our Gumbies did well, coming home with five All-American (top 10) finishes along with two relay medals (awarded to the top 5 teams in each age group). New England won the Alaskan Cup again (which they are finally considering renaming), beating out Intermountain (athletes from CO, UT, ID, MT) by about 300 points. Full results can be found here.  Lots more photos from Team New England can be found here….enjoy!

Team New England receiving the Alaska Cup at the final awards banquet!

Farmington, Maine played host to this year’s U16 Festival (for kids ages 14 and 15 only), which pits the top 22 boys and 22 girls from each New England state plus New York and a team from the Midwest against one another. Usually it’s four races in three days but this year the sprint event was canceled due to the cold temperature and winds that plagued the east coast on Saturday, March 11. Our Gumbies did well, with one top ten finish in both the 5k skate on Friday and Saturday’s delayed (pushed back to noon due to frigid temps and dangerous windchill) 5k classic. Sunday the racing closed out with a 4 x 3k mixed relay and Carl was lucky enough to be on Vermont’s top relay team which captured first place. Full results from U16s are here.

U16s are the first big team trip that New England juniors can go on where they are expected to travel and race with athletes and coaches that aren’t necessarily from their home clubs. It offers great learning and growth opportunities as a stepping stone to the Junior National or Eastern High School Championships, while also giving the kids a chance to meet racers from further afield.

Carl leading a NY skier in the skate race on Friday.

At U16s starts are traditionally done in waves, with one similarly ranked skier from each team. Here’s TK taking the lead for his wave out of the start in the skate.

Brian pushing hard on his way to a 5th place finish.

Tanner leading his heat before hitting the woods.

March isn’t over yet and we still have more races coming our way. This coming weekend six Gumbies will compete at Mountain Top Resort in Chittenden, VT in the Eastern High School Championships. The final weekend in Vermont plays host to the US Biathlon Championships and the Craftsbury Sprint Fling events. We are hoping to have a few athletes who still have the energy to compete in those events. Stay tuned!

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Championship Season

Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts we’re still skiing in March!

 

GMVS visits Montreal for some World Cup spectating 

At the very start of the month a portion of the team took a day trip to Montreal to watch the second stage of the cross country World Cup’s Ski Tour Canada. We had chilly weather but lots of excitement to help us stay warm. The races were held right in the city at Parc du Mont-Royal where organizers created a temporary ski venue, complete with giant video screens, banked corners and tons of fencing to manage the masses of fans who came out to cheer with us. The races were classic mass start format and we got to watch the ladies ski three laps while the men did five.

IMG_9580Craftsbury GRP/USST member Ida Sargent coming down from the high point where we watched the women’s race. 

IMG_9403Team Gregg/USST member and Mad River Valley local, Caitlin Gregg, coming by our cheering squad. Caitlin and her husband Brian will visit GMVS next week on their way to Craftsbury after finishing the Ski Tour Canada. We’re excited to share the Greggs with the Mad River Valley Bill Koch League on Tuesday afternoon here on campus! 

IMG_9484We donned patriotic colors as best we could and topped it off with some sparkly stickers and face paint! Go USA!

IMG_9487A great discovery between races while we were struggling to stay warm: a marsh mellow roasting station! YUM!

IMG_9485Patriotic ladies! 

You can watch the Eurosport footage from the races we watched online. The women’s race is here and the men’s race is here. Enjoy!

March Training 

A few random shots from our day-to-day activities so far this month:

P1010129Lizzy and Margo trailside at the EISA Championships at Rikert. The ladies headed over with Kat to check out the action and cheer on our alums (Devlin skiing for Harvard, Maddy at UNH, Nick at Williams, and MK and Ian representing UVM). 

23DFFAC8-D2FC-4CB9-8F6F-7300F56147D5Gumby alums competing at EISA Championships, clockwise from top L: Devlin, Nick, MK (bib #2), Maddy, and Ian. 

IMG_9493A gorgeous morning at Trapps…sunny, clear skies and perfect corduroy. What more could you want? 

IMG_9491Fresh trail waiting for us at Trapps in their sugarbush. So amazing! 

IMG_9474Rule #1 of team photos: someone must always blink. 

73DD18D1-A3CD-446F-AD2A-C68C5CBC4FB2When Kat gives Tanner and TK the camera to take a group shot and they take endless selfies first….

Bill Koch League Festival

 March is Championship season and we’re almost halfway through with the BKL (Bill Koch League) Festival complete and the U16 Championships taking place this weekend in Bethel, Maine. Carl, Tanner, TK and Charlie took part in the BKL Festival which was hosted by Great Glen Trails in Gorham, NH. Luckily a small snowfall just days prior to the races left the courses in great shape, allowing for a 1k classic sprint course and a two-lap 2k course for the 4k skate event. The boys all did great, taking six top 10 finishes over the course of the weekend. 

IMG_9571The scene at the BKL Festival this year: sun, snow and lots of skiing kids! Dan Houde photo. 

Great Glen pulled off an amazing event with the last minute help of Mother Nature. Not only did they have races for kids in grades 8 and under, but they also offered obstacle courses, tubing, a radar run, and an adventure ski in addition to face painting, a parade and many other kid-oriented activities. There was no shortage of fun or smiles!

IMG_9581TK and Tanner taking some quiet time in the Great Glen Trails lodge (which is amazing) to get some homework done before hitting the trails to race. 

IMG_9577Carl pushing to the finish in the classic sprint. Carl, TK and Tanner opted to double-pole the sprint on skate skis and, with the help of the technique and strength work they’ve put in this season, all came out in the top six! Dan Houde photo. 

IMG_9570TK going hard out of the start. Tanner was in this heat too…not sure where he’s hiding. Dan Houde photo. More photos from Dan and the festival can be found here. Enjoy!

IMG_9538Saturday’s sprint podium: Carl in 3rd (top R), Tanner in 4th (bottom L), TK in 6th (3rd from L, bottom row). Charlie, in his first sprint race ever, finished a solid 40th out of 64 seventh and eighth grade boys! 

IMG_9555Sunday’s 4k skate top-twenty: Tanner in 2nd (top L with his hand up), Carl and TK right in front of him in 4th and 5th. Charlie found his groove on Sunday and moved up to finish 36th! 


IMG_9540TK receiving his BKL diploma from Bill Koch during the 8th grade graduation ceremony on Sunday. 

IMG_9514Looking down on the venue from the Great Glen Trails lodge on the opposite side of the road. What a spot! 

Junior Nationals in Cable, Wisconsin

Elliot, Walker and Forrest are out in Cable, Wisconsin representing GMVS and New England at the Junior National Championships where the weather has forced organizers to shuffle the schedule, changing distances and techniques to accommodate melting courses. Monday’s individual classic races went off as planned despite warm temperatures and softening trails. Walker and Elliot fought hard for 7th and 14th places respectively. Forrest had some tough waxing and double-poled the difficult course to finish 28th. The remainder of the races were shuffled to best deal with melting snow. Thursday featured individual freestyle races with our U18 men doing a 10k. Elliot, Walker and Forrest finished 7th, 9th and 35th respectively. If the revised schedule holds true Friday should feature a sprint and Saturday some relays. Stay tuned for photos and results.

IMG_9556Walker, Forrest and Elliot were all smiles the day before they headed out to Wisconsin! 

IMG_9567A quick shout out to GMVS alum Nick Gardner (center), now skiing for Williams College, who captured the U20 Junior National title in Monday’s classic events! Congratulations Nick!

 

U16s, EHSCs, Supertour Finals and Chic Choc adventures

If snow holds out, the Gumbies will represent at U16s in Maine, EHSCs at Rikert, possibly at Supertour Finals in Craftsbury. At the end of the month Margo, Elliot and Kat will head up to the Chic Chocs for some backcountry adventuring with some other GMVS athletes and Sam Jackson, GMVS teacher and Dean of Boys. Stay tuned for results, photos and stories!