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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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Italy: Day 8

Today we trained right outside our door again, joining skiers from across the region in their fall fitness testing. It was very official with bibs, a start list, and numbered stations run by coaches from the Mals Sport Oberschule. After a short welcome (all in German) the morning began with a weigh-in and height measurement.

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One of the coaches from Mals welcoming the crowd and explaining how the morning would be run. Our crew did a good job following along with their respective age groups to get through all of the stations.

The first true testing station was a skate rollerski agility course, not unlike those we’ve done at home in Vermont, though slightly easier and definitely shorter, with most finish times coming in between one and two minutes. They ran the station without poles (we usually use poles) and on matched skis which were very light.

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Nick takes the clockwise hula hoop turn.

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Carl goes counter clockwise while TK heads toward the finish on the right (in the background).

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The next station was a triple jump for distance: starting feet together on the line, one jump left foot, one jump right foot, then finish with two feet together again. Athletes had two attempts at this test. Here’s Rena working for every centimeter!

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Next was a 30 meter dash complete with laser timing to measure acceleration. There were two attempts at this test as well. Here’s Olivia pushing hard off the start line!

After the 30 meter dash the next station was a chin up test. We don’t have any pictures of this one as it was inside the gym basement where the lighting was terrible. This test was different from what is typically done in the US in that we always do pull-ups (palms facing down, not up) so the muscles tested were a little different.

Next up was a core stability station where athletes were asked to do a front plank keeping proper form for up to 4 minutes. They had adjustable hurdles touching each athlete’s lower back at the start of the test and stopped the test when the athlete could no longer keep their back touching the bar. Again, not a test our Gumbies have seen before.

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Greg and Elliot (in back) take on the plank test together.

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Rena and Olivia waiting for their turn at the plank station.

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Next up was a sit-and-reach test for flexibility. Here’s TK reaching for extra centimeters!

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Also for flexibility, the next station measured shoulder range of motion. It was a dowel with measurements marked out on each side from the center. Athletes had to hold matching spots on either side in front and then move the dowel over their head to behind them and back again without unlocking their elbows. This proved surprisingly tough for many. Here’s Olivia setting the mark for our crew.

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TK gets instruction from an Italian coach on the shoulder range of motion dowel while Tanner and Carl look on.

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The last test was a 3k run (7.5 laps) on the track done in groups of twenty by age group. Here’s the start of the oldest two groups of boys (U20s and U18s).

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Nick working with a pack of Italians.

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Elliot chasing two local athletes.

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Greg pushed through most of the run alone.

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Tanner staying relaxed and exercising smart pacing.

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TK pushing through his last test of the day.

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Rena took with win in the ladies U20/U18 group!

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Olivia leading several Italians as she passed Colin at the lap/finish mark.

After the testing the crew enjoyed some pasta served outside at the track complex, time for a shower and a short rest before we made the short trip down to Glurns to take in their Pear Festival. Actual pears were few but we did find live music, lots of locals in traditional Süd Tyrollean attire and many tasty treats (baked goods, chocolate-dipped fruit kabobs, coffee and bratwurst). After enjoying some time at the festival we explored the city streets a bit.

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Glurns was built about 700 years ago and still has a wall surrounding it today. The streets are all cobblestone within the wall and many of them are narrow and feature really old homes sitting side-by-side with renovated homes.
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Looking toward one of the three gates for entering Glurns.

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A line of buildings above one of the main streets through Glurns. You can see a tower at the far end which sits above another of the three gates.

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A narrow alley that faces the inside of the wall. There is an intact walkway above the street (top of photo) where you’ll see some of our crew looking down on Tanner (bottom left).

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In a few places there were grapes growing on the inside of the wall….here’s Tanner picking some. They were delicious!

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Nick looking down from the walkway on the wall.

After exploring Glurns the group split in two: one van heading for an ice bath in the glacial waters that run down a river outside the Glurns city wall and the other other heading to a nearby hill to check out the valley views.

img_5859A church we found on the hill. The existing structure was built in the 11th century but the original building went up even earlier! The age of many of the buildings here is hard to fathom!

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Looking down on Glurns. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see the wall quite well.

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Rena, Olivia and Greg enjoying the view from a bench they found.

img_5865We shared the hill with these ladies….the cows around here in Val Venosta have it pretty good!

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A bench with a view.

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Walker didn’t seem too upset with his vantage point!

That’s all for now!

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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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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!