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Back in the Mad River Valley

We’re in our third week back in the Mad River Valley since our last blog post from Italy. Days at GMVS are incredibly busy but that means the time flies by as we count down toward winter. In just four weeks we’ll be packing our bags to hit the road again, this time heading west to Sun Valley, ID and West Yellowstone, MT for our early-snow camp that includes our first races of the 2017-18 racing season.

Here are few photos in summary of the last three weeks on campus:

We’ve gotten in a lot of roller skiing, cruising scenic roads that are both paved and not. Here’s part of the team classic skiing on dirt toward the end of a point-to-point distance ski.

Nick leading the team during a uphill skate ski that wound through the Mad River Valley, hitting the bigger climbs one after the next.

We’ve been getting into the gym for two strength workouts a week but also targeting ski muscles through specific strength w0rkouts on rollerskis. Here’s Emily pushing through a double-pole speed while Greg says hi on his way back down the hill.

Most of the team got to jump into a classic rollerski race on the loop in Jericho, competing against skiers from other clubs and several college programs. Here’s Matt climbing one of the bigger hills on the 10k course.

Rena, Grace, Emily, and Matt are running xc this fall and have done two races since we returned from Italy. Here’s Rena widening her lead on the flat course at People’s Academy. All four of our Gumbies finished in the top ten at People’s. They also ran a larger race hosted by Montpelier and will run there again later this month.

As we get closer to snow flying we start in to increase the speed and intensity work. This month we’ve done intervals and speeds both on foot and on rollerskis. Here’s part of the team doing some L3 running intervals around a snowmaking pond in Warren.

Aside from training our nordic athletes are all full-steam ahead in academics, but also working hard on college applications, theater rehearsals, PSAT/SAT studying/test taking, visiting college campuses, and playing soccer with the GMVS soccer teams. It’s always amazing how much we manage to fit in during a single day on campus!

Stay tuned to our Facebook (GMVS Nordic Ski Team) and Instagram (GMVSxc) posts for daily (or almost daily) updates and photos. There’s a lot more excitement still to come before we head west for our first snow camp!

Thanks for reading!

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Italy: Day 2

Written by coach Kat Howe

This morning we woke up to sunnier skies and warmer temperatures. After a coaches meeting with our hosts at the Sport Oberschule Mals we headed to Glurns to start our skate distance rollerski. The same bike path that we skied yesterday passes just outside the city walls of Glurns, so that’s where we jumped on it today. This time we headed east/down valley to start before spinning around and heading back through Glurns and right up through Mals to our hotel. Probably the two biggest highlights of our morning were the sun (it was warm enough for tank tops) and the cow herd that forced us to take a break on the side of the path as they passed through.

Emily smiling as the cow herd passes on by. Some of the cows were quite vocal about having company on the path and didn’t seem at all psyched that we were in their way!

Emily, TK and Matt skiing along the edge of a cornfield as we head back into Mals toward the end of our ski. The sun had everyone in high spirits throughout the workout!

This afternoon we ventured east to the Reschen Pass (Russian Pass) for a hike combined with a history lesson and some exploration of WWI ruins. We passed this church tower on our drive to the trailhead. It’s pretty famous and is probably the most prominent landmark in this region. The rest of the church and surrounding buildings were flooded when a dam was built to ensure water to the farmlands down valley from the Reschen See.

From the Reschen Pass we hiked up a dirt road to a high alpine meadow that was fortified by Mussolini during WWI. The meadow sits right on the Austrian-Italian border and you can also see the closest corner of Switzerland nearby. We found and explored several bunkers and a row of spikes intended to keep tanks from crossing into the Venosta Valley.

Grace looking into one of the bunkers through the gun hole.

Some of the crew walking part of a concrete wall that led from the tank spikes up to some bunkers on the hillside above.

TK striking a pose on the line of tank spikes.

Jere examining the spikes up close….these things may have been built for WWI but they’re still very strong and sharp!

Jere sharing some history of the area before we set out exploring.

There’s a lot of history in this area so it was pretty neat to sit next to such a tangible relic (that’s the first bunker we explored behind the group) and learn about what happened right in this pass and the implications of the entire war on the South Tyrol region.

 

Some of the crew inside the first bunker….this one had a campfire outside it so the inside is filled with names and dates of visitors from all over the world, our group included.

The whole gang atop the first bunker.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast looks good so we’re going to head up to the Stelvio Glacier for our first day on snow, a skate ski at 11,000 feet! The gang is all packed up and we’ll head out early in hopes of being on snow around 9:30 or 10. To get to the glacier we drive for an hour, either taking a steep ascent on the Italian side (look up ‘Stelvio Pass’ on google to see photos) or going through Switzerland for a route with fewer switchbacks. From the top of the pass we take two gondolas and then a pomalift to get to snow. The nordic trail sits between alpine runs so we have to traverse the alpine hill a bit before we start our distance ski. Most of the crew will aim for 2-2.5 hours of very easy skiing with a technique focus before we head down for lunch. In the afternoon we plan to hit up the gym for a strength workout.

Stay tuned for photos and keep your fingers crossed that we get some nice weather up there!

-Kat

 

 

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2017-18 is here!

Campus came alive last week and we’re off and running! This year the GMVSxc team is 15 athletes strong (see our roster page for a list) and we’re excited for a great year! 

A view across campus shortly before we got going again.


Stretching as a group during our first team practice!


The 9th/10th grade crew out for a morning rollerski on brand new pavement!

We have two weeks of school and our “normal” schedule before we head to Italy on September 9th! Stay tuned to our social media outlets on Instagram and Facebook to see highlights each day!

 

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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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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!