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The Finale: Championship Month

March is almost upon us and that means championship season. There’s not a weekend in March without racing somewhere so this last week of February is about peaking and prepping.

Vermont U16 Team Named: Brian, Carl, Tanner and TK will represent GMVS and Team VT at the U16 Festival in Farmington, ME. Looking forward to some strong results from that crew as they take on the top U16s from VT, NH, ME, MA and the midwest! 

Here’s what the month looks like:

March 3-5 : Bill Koch Festival in Bethel, ME

March 4 – 12 : through Weekend 2 – US Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, NY

March 10-12 : U16 Festival in Farmington, ME

March 17-19 : Eastern High School Championships, Mountain Top Resort, Rutland, VT

March 24-26 : US Biathlon Nationals, Jericho VT AND Craftsbury Club Championships/Spring Fling, Craftsbury, VT

Keep the snow dances coming! We could use some more white stuff to get us through this busy month! 

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2017! It’s a little late, but Happy New Year! Just a few weeks in and 2017 has already been quite busy for the GMVSxc Team with a trip to Senior Nationals and another Eastern Cup weekend already complete. Here’s the rundown and a bunch of photos! Enjoy!

US Senior Nationals: Colin took the U18s (Walker, Greg, Elliot, Rena and Nick) to Utah to complete in the Junior World and U18 Scandinavian Cup qualification races that are always a part of US (Senior) Cross Country Nationals. This year the events were hosted by Soldier Hollow, host of nordic skiing events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. SoHo will host this winter’s FIS Junior and U23 World Championships at the end of the month so this was a great test event for the organizing committee. The weather for the race week included everything from chilly temps and firm trails to warm weather and pouring rain, making ski preparation and racing a challenge at times. Luckily our crew had the help of Justin Beckwith and Colin so skis were dialed and fast every day.

Doing some course preview and race prep as a group. They were joined by Ford Sayre athlete Adam Glueck (center).

Walker skating with a gorgeous and snowy Utah view in the background.

Elliot is all smiles under the Utah sun!

Walker tucking into the stadium area. During one of the two classic races.

Rena heading out of the stadium area during the colder weather. You can see the snow guns blowing in the background.

Greg climbing the biggest hill on the course.

Utah scenery.

Nick out of the start in the classic sprint qualifier. 

Elliot striding with the competition under cloudy skies.

Eastern Cup #2: The rest of the gang stayed back in Vermont for the start of school and training with Kat in preparation for Eastern Cup #2, which was hosted this last weekend by Quarry Road Trails in Waterville Maine. The crew from Nationals made the trip home in time to have one rest day before piling into the vans with the rest of us and heading east. With the recent thaw-freeze cycle the trails in Maine were firm and icy in places but luckily Quarry Road is on top of their snow making so everything was well-covered.

Saturday featured a skate sprint. Here’s Greg on his way to qualifying in the overall top 30 as a U18!

Walker skied in the U18/U20 Men’s heats, making the A final.

Nick skiing strong but boxed in during the U18/U20 Men’s final. 

The scene in Waterville.

Carl skied strong in his first races back from some holiday sickness, finishing in the A final for U16 Boys!

Results:

U16 Girls: Olivia 18th in the open heats (3rd U16)

U16 Boys: Carl 6th, Tanner 11th, TK, 12th, Brian 14th

U18 Boys: Greg 14th in open heats, Elliot 18th in the open heats, Nick 2nd U18/20 heats, Walker 5th U18/20 heats

Full results can be found here.

Sunday’s races were mass start classic. 5k for U16s, 10k for women, and 15k for men. Here’s the U16 ladies start….Olivia is bib 404, front right.

Olivia skied a strong and smart race, finishing 2nd.

Carl leading Brian during the first half of the U16 boy’s race.

Tanner, Brian and TK skiing one of the bigger downhills together.

TK showing off his downhill prowess with Tanner and Brian in tow.

The ladies mass start chaos….Rena is on the left with the ponytail flying! Unfortunately Rena was still a bit under the weather from traveling and didn’t end up finishing the race.

Elliot leading a William’s college skier at the beginning of the 3rd and final lap in the men’s 15k. Elliot paced himself very well and finished 2nd for U18s.

Nick leading a train through some technical downhill terrain. Nick was fourth for U18s!

Results:

U16 Girls: Olivia 2nd

U16 Boys: TK 10th, Tanner 12th, Carl 13th, Brian 15th

U18 Boys: Elliot 13th overall/2nd U18, Nick 22nd overall/4th U18

Full results can be found here.

Brian, Carl, and a Woodstock Nordic friend spectating during the men’s 15k race in our new Leki pop-up chairs!

This weekend was filled with friendly faces of many GMVS alums….it was exciting to see our current Gumbies skiing side-by-side with past team members!

There are no qualifier races this coming weekend so the majority of the crew is getting some much needed recovery. Here’s a shot from yesterday’s easy session in Jericho. Brian, Olivia, Carl and TK are learning how to shoot biathlon rifles so we had an easy session with Algis Shalna, a former US National Team coach and Olympic and World Champion from Lithuania. He’s a great shooting coach and the group is making rapid improvements!

Stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram accounts for (almost) daily updates as we work toward Eastern Cup #3, which will be hosted on familiar trails at Rikert Nordic Center, one of our regular training venues.

 

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Let’s Go to Idaho!

Day 1: Sun Valley, ID Written by Kat

The GMVSxc crew is on the road again, this time for three weeks in Idaho and Montana. Right now we’ve got sunny, warm weather but hopefully the skies will drop some snow for us soon. We’re going to be in the Sun Valley, Idaho area for five nights before heading to West Yellowstone, MT for two weeks.

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Yesterday we had a smooth travel day that started dark and early with a 3:45 am departure from campus. We flew from Burlington, connecting in Chicago for a short layover before arriving in Boise midday.

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After picking up our rental vans we hit up a grocery store to load up for the week before heading for Sun Valley. The team has a cooking schedule for the whole camp where everyone cooks six times with different teammates each time. They planned all of their meals so our grocery shop was easy, with the ingredients and amounts all written out in advance. We came away with about four carts of food for our first week here.

We’re staying in Ketchum on a road called Chocolate Gulch. One of Colin’s friends from his time with Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) is letting us stay in his gorgeous log home nestled right up against the hillside. The house is amazing: the boys have already made use of the fire-heated hot tub and as I write this Margo, Carl, Brian, Elliot are making us our second dinner in the well-outfitted kitchen. Last night we had tacos courtesy of Charlie, Tanner, Rena, and Nick. Tomorrow Tanner wants to make use of an ice cream maker he found today!

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The house! It’s amazing!

This morning we took a slower morning to recover from travel, getting going with training around 9am. Before heading out for a trail run we each recorded some personal goals for the camp block. The trails we ran can be accessed right across the street from our house and are single track mountain bike trails.

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Getting some sun and views from the trails.

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The running together.

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A sunny place to pause. (Photo by Tanner)

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Enjoying the views north toward the Boulder Mountains.

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Time for stretching, layer removal, and hydration.

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Nick found a high spot.

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This afternoon we went for an easy skate rollerski on the bike path heading south toward Hailey. The path has been repaved in the last year so we were greeted by smooth surfaces for the duration.


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Some of the crew finishing up.

Tomorrow we’re going to rollerski in the morning again, joining up with the SVSEF crew a bit. They’re going to do a time trial so we’ll watch but ski the same terrain. In the afternoon we’re going to hit up their gym which is just down the road from where we’re staying.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s sunny update from Sun Valley!

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Italy 2016: Travel and Day 1

Gruße aus Italy! (Greetings!)

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After a long travel day we’re finally in Italy and had a great first day exploring. We flew from Montreal, connecting in Nice, France, before landing in Zurich, Switzerland, where our hosts picked us up. Nice looks amazing and I think a few of us wouldn’t have minded a long enough layover to leave the airport and explore the shores of the Mediterranean for a few hours.

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Flying over the Mediterranean coast on our way into Nice.

When we arrived in Zurich we discovered pretty quickly that there was a miscommunication during some point in trip planning, as our hosts weren’t there to pick us up! For some reason they thought we were arriving at midnight, not noon. That left us with a few hours to burn exploring the airport which, lucky for us, has a shopping mall in it!

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The ladies found traditional Süd Tyrolean attire in the mall!

When the vans from Mals arrived we piled in and began the trek toward Italy. The weather was gorgeous when we arrived but quickly deteriorated during the drive. We stopped briefly for a late dinner on the road before venturing into the mountains after dark amid thunderstorms. We finally rolled into Mals around 10pm and found our accommodations. We are staying at a dormitory near the soccer field/track and will be eating breakfasts in our building while we have a short walk up the hill for lunch and dinner each day.

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Our building has a bridge over the road to a small parking lot where the vans we’re using  are kept. This is a morning view from the bridge. Not too shabby!

Today we woke up early for a 7:30 breakfast before driving up the Martell Valley to watch Lisa, a local Italian athlete who stayed with us for a month last fall, compete in the Italian Biathlon Rollerski Championships. It was fun to see her in action and exciting to also watch some of the Italian National Team members race around.

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Walker brought Lisa some Vermont Maple Syrup….she was pretty psyched about it!

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A view from the biathlon race course. There aren’t too many places around here where you can’t see big mountains in at least one direction!

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The crew on the spectator bridge cheering for Lisa.

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Dorothea Weirer, the top female biathlete from Italy. She’s consistently one of the top finishers on the World Cup so she gave us a solid demonstration of strong skiing and incredibly fast and accurate shooting.

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Weinerschnitzel for lunch!

After lunch back in Mals we made a quick turnaround and went for a hike just above town. The goal was an easy hike with poles to get our bodies moving after a long travel day. The mountainsides are steep here so we got some pretty amazing views throughout. There was some bushwhacking both on the way up and down, and a few of us got quite wet when a rainstorm passed through.

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A view on our way off the mountain. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you might be able to find Walker on the nearest ridge (look for his red shirt).

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Sam, Walker and Colin on our way off the mountain with a fantastic backdrop. This was shortly before the rain!

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One of the many cows we met today. Süd Tyrolean cows have it pretty good!

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A herdsman’s cabin that we came across on our way up the mountain.

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More mountainside friends, except these two were a little more friendly (and curious) than any of the cows!

After another great meal for dinner we’ve begun the task of staying up until nine to help our bodies adjust to the time change. There will be some homework, a quick meeting on tomorrow’s plans, and then a solid night of sleeping!

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Waffles for dessert….the kitchen has yet to disappoint! 

That’s all for now folks! Tomorrow we’re going to classic rollerski up Reschen Pass on the amazing bike paths and then go for a short hike in the afternoon.

Stay tuned!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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Walker working hard.

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

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

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Another afternoon hike up Mad River….

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Happy skiers

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Group roll on a HOT afternoon

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

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

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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!

 

 

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Summer 2016

With just two weeks left before school starts we’re past due for a summer update on the adventures of the GMVS Nordic squad! Here’s the short of the long in photos!

We started the summer off with two camps on the GMVS campus in June. The first was a camp put on by GMVSxc where we hosted over 30 athletes (including a group of Italians from our sister school in Mals, Italy) for a mixed week of training, including both volume and intensity workouts. We were joined by several guest coaches (from VT, ME, and Italy!) who all brought great skills and enthusiasm to camp!

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The crew!

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Some dryland basics paired with name games to kick off the week.

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The Mals crew! We’re looking forward to visiting them in September!

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The Italian ladies were psyched with the view from the top of Camel’s Hump!

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Lunch time with a view…

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We had great (but hot) weather so we hit just about every swimming hole in the Mad River Valley!

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Just a few sweaty athletes cooling off!

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We put some focus on agility and speed, spending a morning honing our skills in the Sugarbush parking lot in advance of an agility course time trial on the GMVS campus later in the week.

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Waiting to hit the agility course is better in the shade surrounded by friends…

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We made two trips to Jericho to ski on the rollerski track and even got to try biathlon thanks to Ethan Allen Biathlon Club! There were some sharp shooters in this crew!

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New Middlebury college assistant coach, Kate Barton, working on double poling speed with a camper in Jericho. 

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We ended the first camp with a rollerski up the steepest paved mile in North America at Lincoln Gap and then trekked out to Sunset Ledge to take in the view. A big week of training complete!

Our second camp was organized by NENSA and hosted by GMVS: the New England REG (Regional Elite Group) camp! This camp was by invite only and featured a talented group of some of the fastest juniors from New England and New York! We were joined by coaches from across New England as well as USST coach, Bryan Fish!

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The crew on Olympic Day when we were joined by USST/SMST2 skier Andy Newell and his fiance and SMST2 teammate, Erika Flowers. Lots of smiles…Thanks NNF for supporting this crew of super stars! 

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Andy Newell kicked off the agility course time trial on Olympic Day! He’s very agility, super quick and really fun to watch! It was great to have him show off for the REG crew and give them a course time to strive toward!

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Incoming GMVS junior Rena taking on the slalom cones on agility day

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Pre-breakfast wake-up work with coach Fish: working on body position, awareness and control.

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High hands, high hips and high expectations! Looking good Olivia!

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Elliot and coach Fish talk classic striding before jumping into Blueberry Lake after a classic distance ski.

July and August have been low key with the GMVSxc athletes training on their own or with club teams for the most part. Kat has been getting together with anyone available on Tuesdays to ski in Jericho and some of the gang will get together just before school starts for a day trip to Kingdom Trails for some mountain biking.

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Charlie taking a break during a skate ski in Richmond on a gorgeous (but incredibly humid) evening. I think he’s pondering how nice a jump in the river would feel!

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TK has spent much of his summer on Lake Champlain with family, getting out for workouts (doing some single leg squats on a bridge here) with his dad and older brother Jack.

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Nick will join us this year and it’s been fun to see him a bit over the summer….he’s always got a huge smile!

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Elliot (L) and Forrest (R) doing some intervals together in Jericho.

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Charlie getting his stretch on after a ski in Jericho.

There are just two weeks until school starts and we’re looking forward to having everyone back on campus! Enjoy what’s left of summer break and keep training hard and smart!

For anyone interested there are smaller updates and lots more photos from the past two+ months on our Instagram (GMVSxc) and Facebook (GMVS Nordic Ski Team) pages. Check them out!

Happy August!


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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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“Sven” and Kat after the presentation.

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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…

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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Smile in abundance in Madawaska Maine at Four Seasons Trails.

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

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Gentlemen sharing the trail with one another.

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!