, ,

Italy: Day 4 on the Stelvio Glacier

Yesterday we had a perfect day for a trip to the Stelvio Glacier. The sky was cloudless, there was absolutely no wind, and temperatures were cold enough over night to freeze the track, but warmed up enough during our ski to take away the concrete corduroy that greeted us first thing. The drive up to the Stelvio Pass takes about an hour and is nothing short of remarkable. A short way out of Val Venosta (the valley that Mals lies in) the road starts to climb quickly, heading through no less than 48 switchbacks before cresting the top.

img_5662

A sunny view over the stone guardrail on the way through some switchbacks.

img_5560

Looking down from the parking lot toward the final switchbacks.

img_5440

From the pass it takes two gondolas and ride on a poma lift to reach the skiing.

img_5444

Sun streaming down on us as we climb further still….You can see the alpine training courses to the left.

img_5451-1

From the top of the pommel we had to ski down part of the alpine hill (which is a little sketchy when the snow is frozen solid and the grade is steep) to reach the nordic loop (the squiggly line on the distant slope).

img_5596

Walker, all smiles!

img_5603

Carl and Olivia (and Rena, behind Olivia), working together to keep the pace easy and make the most of the time on snow.

img_5612

Greg skiing with GMVS alum Peter Kling.

img_5638

Elliot and Nick taking the switchbacks on the downhill at full speed.

img_5641

Rena working on some technique pointers while enjoying the freedom that only snow can offer.

img_5652

Sam joined us on skis and certainly got in a great workout skiing as long as most of the kids! 

img_5619

Nick and Elliot climbing through a turn.

img_5623

Elliot getting tall with his V2 alternate.

img_5628

Nick – Suns out, guns out, tongue out.

img_5651

TK and Tanner, inseparable as always.

img_5659

Alex seems to have fallen in love with skating…she was all smiles!

Processed with Snapseed.

Olivia was pretty excited to be on snow in September and didn’t seem too upset with our choice of venue!

Processed with Snapseed.

Tanner leading TK in some double poling.

img_5592

And we were lucky enough to see Petter Northug again!

img_5588

Peter, Nick, Elliot, and Greg spent a few switchbacks chasing Petter. 

img_5459

Alex looking like a true Norwegian with her skinny skis on….

From a ridge just above the nordic loop you can see over the back of the mountain that the Stelvio Glacier sits on. After we were done skiing we had to take in the view…

img_5518

And there were jumping shots!

Processed with Snapseed.

Even Sam felt the vibe (with some encouragement from Kat)!

img_5564

Obligatory team photo, because we look so good in our matching jackets, tights and smiles! 

After our ski we ventured off the glacier (skied down the side of the alpine hill via a partially groomed ski cross trail and back down both gondolas) and headed to lunch.

img_5559

This is the view of the actual pass on the road. At the peak it is lined with little roadside shops selling all manner of touristy gifts. Tanner and TK bought some slippers that I’m sure will make an appearance on campus soon. 

img_5558

This is Tibet, the restaurant perched on a cliff above the pass where we had lunch. Such an amazing spot to take in nourishment after a few hours above 10,000 feet!

img_5548

Even Gumby made the trip!

This morning the crew did some track intervals with the local cross country athletes followed by a strength workout in the afternoon. In preparation for a rest day trip to Livigno tomorrow we’re doing two homework sessions today.

That’s all for now!

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A little taste of fall….

Tomorrow we head across the pond for two weeks in Mals, Italy but before you see some amazing photos in the coming days, here’s a snapshot of our first two weeks of school!

Copy of IMG_4871

We kicked the school year off hard with a testing week. The shots above and below are of the group cooling down together after the 3k running test at Harwood High School track.

Copy of IMG_4870

You’ll always run faster when you’re racing against someone! So psyched to see these kids pushing each other without any prompting from coaches!

Processed with Snapseed.

Alex, a new team member and our newest nordie (she was an alpine skier last winter) trying out classic rollerskis. The Norwegian blood in her veins has her moving in good directions already!

Processed with Snapseed.

Carl looking way too happy for the end of an uphill double-poling test…maybe this shot was taken during the warmup.

Processed with Snapseed.

Walker working hard.

Processed with Snapseed.

Charlie psyched to be done with his first Plunkton double-pole test ever!

IMG_4856

A little recovery hike in search of views…we found them!

IMG_4992

Another afternoon hike up Mad River….

IMG_4977

Happy skiers

IMG_5125

Group roll on a HOT afternoon

IMG_5060

Balance and proprioception session with the alpine ladies. This balance work turned into dance…Greg and Elliot were awesome for sticking with the ladies right through the dance-off! 
IMG_5136

This view…probably one of the best along any of our regular rollerski routes. Never fails to impress.

Processed with Snapseed.

Rena taking the W in her first xc race of the season and her first in Gumby green! Go Rena!

Processed with Snapseed.

Brian, also in his first race of the season and first in (slightly brighter) Gumby Green and he ALSO took the W! Congrats Brian!

Tomorrow afternoon the majority of the crew begins the trek across the pond to Italy. Stay tuned for regular posts (pending good/regular internet access) over the next two weeks as we explore the trails, paths and roads around Mals, Italy! It’s sure to be an amazing experience!

 

 

, , , , , , , , ,

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!

, , , , , , , , , ,

On the go: Gumbies in NY, ME and VT!

An overdue update on our adventures of the last month!

The GMVS Nordic crew has been busy since our last update on the Waterville Eastern Cup! We closed out the 2015-16 Eastern Cup circuit in top form in Lake Placid, NY and Craftsbury, VT (the Stowe Eastern Cup was moved due to lack of snow) before taking a five day trip to Northern Maine to watch the Biathlon World Cup in Presque Isle. Since our return we’ve had an easy weekend at home and then we spent another race day in Craftsbury for the Vermont Eastern High School and U16 qualifiers.

IMG_9198

The scene in Presque Isle for the Biathlon World Cup!

In more detail (and with photos), here are our last four weeks:

Lake Placid, NY: Eastern Cup #3
Back in November we spent a week training in the High Peaks so returning to Lake Placid for the Eastern Cup sent a bit of deja vu through our group. Unfortunately snow conditions meant that we didn’t get to ski on the Ladie’s 5k course that we previewed at Mount Van Hoevenburg in the fall, but the organizers did a fantastic job getting the 2.5k at the ski jumping in top form for the weekend. Saturday brought skate sprints on a tough course that lead straight uphill to the high point followed by a speedy decent back to the finish. Our crew was lead by Forrest, who just snuck into the men’s open heats (a strong group because the weekend was also a Super Tour). Forrest skied a strong quarterfinal but didn’t advance. The rest of the crew was hungry for Sunday’s 5 and 10k individual classic events.

The crew previewing the Lake Placid 2.5k in Friday's fresh powder.

The crew previewing the Lake Placid 2.5k in some fresh powder on Friday.

DSC_0119

Forrest pushing hard up flagpole hill….if your tongue’s not out, you’re not pushing hard enough!

DSC_0183

Carl getting tall(er) in his V2 up flagpole hill.

DSC_0202

Lizzy working hard and showing good progress in her skate technique!

Sunday brought sunny, warm weather (tricky kick wax conditions!) so we were psyched to have Justin’s waxing skills on board. Forrest, Elliot and Walker all put down strong efforts, crowding the top of the men’s U18 results. Tanner, TK and Carl (racing up as a U16) skied smart races, finishing close to one another on the results sheet….they obviously spend a lot of time training together! Lizzy had a strong start and pushed hard right to the finish line despite not feeling well.

DSC_0355

Elliot pushing to the line and finishing with a lunge, just like we’ve been practicing!

DSC_0311

Walker showing good forward body position on his way out for a rip!

DSC_0266

TK reaffirming the fact that alpiners know how to use gravity productively.

DSC_0235

Tanner looking focused in the gate…game on!

After Lake Placid we had a week of training and school before the final Eastern Cup. On Tuesday, during all-school assembly, Kat presented on biathlon in preparation for our upcoming trip to watch the World Cup in Maine. She enlisted the help of fellow staff member “Sven” (Sohier) as a guest biathlete and did a great job sharing the excitement and unpredictability that can occur in biathlon races.

IMG_9005

“Sven” and Kat after the presentation.

IMG_8943

A little extra snowfall allowed us to explore “off track”, venturing away from Rikert Nordic Center on the VAST snowmobile system for a morning. We did some fun speed work with our bungees, applying a little resistance at the hips to help us get our hips forward when the resistance is removed. Here’s Tanner hitching a ride from Walker and Forrest!

Carl, though quite tall, wanted his Leki skate poles cut down a bit so Kat boiled the handles to get them off. In the process a bit of education happened in the school kitchen as she explained to the cooking staff why the poles were so tall…

IMG_8965

Melissa, head cook at GMVS, was pretty baffled by the length of Carl’s Leki poles!

IMG_8949

Lizzy and Margo are all smiles at the end of a workout at Rikert.

IMG_8962

A little body awareness exercise during our post-workout stretching and foam rolling session. Carl, though used to having his head pretty far from the ground, found this position a little different! Elliot and alpine coach Katie look on as Garrott hopes Carl doesn’t wiggle too much with his laughing! Never a dull moment with this crowd!

Two days later, with a little help from Mother Nature, we got the U14 Alpine group to join us at Rikert for our training session. Most of them haven’t done much nordic skiing but they did awesome. Nordic skiing is really good for alpiners because our double poling work can lead to faster starts for alpine racers and our softer boots allow for better ankle flexion, something most developing alpine skiers can improve upon! Garrott and Kat did some drills with them before taking them onto the race the trails!

IMG_9020

Working on strong double poling starts! High hands, big smiles!

Craftsbury, VT Eastern Cup #4

Mother Nature moved our final Eastern Cup from Trapps to Craftsbury, melting out the courses in Stowe right before the big weekend. Craftsbury, with saved snow from previous snowmaking, was able to cover enough terrain for a rolling 2.5k loop. The weekend was a combined Eastern Cup/UVM Carnival/US Super Tour so the fields were strong and quite deep. Saturday brought skate 5k races for everyone (a bit unusual as the men’s field will usually do a 10 or 15k distance) and Sunday featured 5 and 10k classic races.

IMG_9038

Perfect flakes falling on klister conditions….tricky waxing but there are no worries in the GMVS trailer when Justin’s on hand! Thanks for some great skis at the Eastern Cups JB!

IMG_9048

TK’s getting more comfortable with classic even though he still claims to like skating better!

Forrest, Walker and Elliot all put down good results to secure their spots of the New England Junior National team. TK, Tanner and Carl again showed that they train together all the time, finishing within three seconds of one another in the skate race. Lizzy focused on pacing and technique to push through some building fatigue. Her races weren’t what she’d hoped for but she’s been doing a great job of soaking in every learning experience that comes her way this year.

Northward: Biathlon World Cup trip, Aroostook County Maine

After the conclusion of the Eastern Cup circuit we had one day to regroup before piling into the van for a (long) drive up to Aroostook County Maine. We did a mini camp that featured training sessions at some new venues and two days spectating the Biathlon World Cup. Aroostook County sits far enough north that they’ve had a very different snow year from the rest of New England. We were greeted by extra blue classic conditions and deep snow!

IMG_9080

First day skiing in Maine…a little chilly but who can complain when the trail looks like this?

IMG_9162

Smile in abundance in Madawaska Maine at Four Seasons Trails.

IMG_9096

Lizzy and Margo out exploring new terrain and enjoying the abundance of snow!

IMG_9090

Gentlemen sharing the trail with one another.

IMG_9194

Evenings were a quieter affair in Maine. We didn’t have internet so we resorted to some “screen-less” entertainment during our downtime. Here Tanner, Margo and Forrest are learning to crochet hats from Kat! TK learned too!

IMG_9186

Competitive puzzling with Lizzy, Margo, Elliot, TK and Charlie (not shown here).

IMG_9171

Our second new venue was Fort Kent Outdoor Center (Lizzy and Elliot had been here already for summer camps and U16s). In the morning we classic skied, exploring snowshoe trails, snowmobile trails, the (little) alpine hill and some of the race trails. After lunch the crew donned skate equipment for some biathlon fun, learning the basics from Kat before challenging each other for relays in teams of three. Everyone shot well at rest but as soon as we added a little ski speed to the mix things got interesting! It was a great experience before the following day, our first of two spectating in Presque Isle.

P1010041

The scene at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle (1.5 hours south of Fort Kent, where we stayed)

P1010024

Sharing the stands with the NHC lion!

We watched much of the first race (Men’s pursuit) from the stands where we had a great view of the whole stadium and got to witness the unraveling that can come with the pressure of shooting in the final stage of big biathlon races. Martin Fourcade, the French superstar, stole the win from Norwegian Johannes Boe by outshooting him in the final stage. Boe led the entire race until he incurred two penalties in the final standing stage. Fourcade entered the range after Boe was already done shooting but shot clean (no misses) to take the lead while Boe was completing his penalty laps. An exciting finish to watch!

P1010018

Carl donned his US Biathlon hat in support of the home crowd!

IMG_9209

Carl shoveling our patch of ice….a great way to warm up after a chilly day of spectating.

After our first day of spectating we drove partway back to Fort Kent before stopping at Madawaska Lake for some ice skating and dinner at the Collins family cabin.

IMG_9217

TK and Carl taking a break in the snow pile!

On our final full day in Maine we drove down to Presque Isle a little earlier, getting a specific strength workout in on some of the trails not being used by the World Cup before dashing up to the venue to “forerun” the penalty lap to ensure that the snow surface was the same there as the rest of the course where the World Cup athletes had already been warming up.

IMG_9232

It was chilly…Forrest wore his mask to protect his lungs from the cold air. Photo credit: Pete Freeman, Capture27photography.com

After some house cleaning, packing and another long van ride we found ourselves back in a much-less-snowy Vermont. The crew had Monday off from classes (February break) and then life returned to normal on Tuesday.

Craftsbury, VT: Eastern High School and U16 Qualifier races (February 21)

Yesterday we had the final set of qualifier races for the winter, taking on the Vermont High School field at Craftsbury to nominate the Vermont teams that will compete at the Eastern High School Championships (March 18 – 20) at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton VT and the U16 Championships (March 11 – 13) at Black Mountain in Rumford Maine. The day consisted of morning classic races (twice around a 2.1k course) and afternoon skate races (the same course as the morning. The teams were they named by combining the two race times to create the ranking list.

The Gumbies certainly turned some heads with Forrest winning the classic race by 33 seconds, Elliot finishing 5th and Walker 7th. Tanner and TK (competing for spots of the U16 team) put down solid races in the U16 field to finish 10th and 11th for U16s. In the U14 race Carl was 2nd and Charlie (in his first classic race) was 9th. Margo, in her very first race ever, finished a solid 54th out of 82 girls!

In the afternoon Elliot took the win in the skate, besting Forrest in second place by 1.7 seconds! Walker held strong to take 5th place. Tanner and TK skied to 11th and 16th in the U16 boys race and Carl and Charlie took 2nd and 12th in the U14 event. Margo, in only her second race ever (and second in one day!), skied consistently to a 56th place!

IMG_9269

Margo out of the gate on nordic skis for the second time in one day!

When the times were added and ranking lists completed Forrest (1st), Elliot (2nd) and Walker (6th) were named to the Vermont EHSC team and Tanner (10th) and TK (13th) were named to the Vermont U16 Team!

A special thanks from Kat to everyone who helped make the EHSC and U16 qualifiers go smoothly! To Nick, Ed, Jim, and Terry for making sure our Gumbies had speedy boards, to Mike for taking the early shift with the team in the van, and to our faithful cheering squads out of the trail! Together we help these kids go fast and enjoy it!

What’s next? 

This week the crew will stay on home soil, putting in an intensity week in preparation for the BKL Festival and Junior Nationals. Come ski with us on Saturday at Rikert as we cheer on our alums on the EISA college circuit in their final regular season races!

Thanks for reading!