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A GMVS Retrospective: Summer Camp 2 Day 1

It’s time to look back at some photos and thoughts from our second GMVS Summer camp, which was a ton of fun from the very beginning. The whole camp was held under sunny summer skies, with roller skiing, running, hiking, and more… and of course plenty of trips to the Valley’s various swimming holes! Day 1 was a long hike starting in Huntington.

We climbed to the top of Camels Hump–no small feat in itself–then traversed some eight miles across the spine of the Green Mountains before descending off of Burnt Rock to Fayston. A pretty remarkable jaunt for sure! Most of the boys and some of the girls were determined to put the hammer down from the beginning, so I only have photos of them from the beginning of the hike and on the summit, but we had a fantastic day the whole way through.

Our friend Jacob Myerson from CSU at the tip-top.

Hans just summited Kilimanjaro but he came up Camels Hump anyway, helping to guide the top group with our camp stalwart Dylan Grald. Here Hans stands at the summit with some strong Ford Sayre boys, George Voigt and Sam Merrens.

The whole gang at the top: skiers from Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and of course Vermont.

We are lucky to have such an amazing hike right in our backyard, with views to the Champlain Valley and Lake Champlain, to the White Mountains, and to our own Mad River Valley just below.

Another fun day at Trapps: classic drills and distance

It was a green jacket day at Trapps, and we took our poles off to get in some drill work before heading off on our distance ski. 
We are always working on balance and weight transfer, and practicing the classic stride with no poles is just about the best drill you can do on skis.

Dev getting some nice extension and arm swing, and Hans working on the “gorilla” pose in the background: rounded shoulders, relaxed arms swinging in sync with the legs.

This photo makes it look like there was wind but it was only momentary: the day was perfect once again at Trapps.

By report the skiing is phenomenal up at Craftsbury as well, and we are headed up there tomorrow to do intervals on this weekend’s race course. Should be sweet!

MK works on the stride and glide.

Fitzy, rolling the hips through.

Dev: fun in the sun!

Our next drill was to ski downhill and around a sharp corner before turning and sprinting back uphill… all without poles. It’s good to feel the compression of the wax pocket and to focus on keeping the momentum forward on the uphill.
Justin demonstrates how to do it.

Getting a big kick and getting the hips forward is almost automatic when trying to classic sprint with no poles, and it’s a good feeling to have in the mind when we put the poles on to go ski.

That’s levitation, Holmes.

All smiles in the head-to-head!

US Nationals Simulation Week: Day 1


We’ve been back from Italy for a week now, and we’re settling into a routine that will carry us all the way through to November’s trip to West Yellowstone. This is arguably our most focused block of the year academically and athletically: we have an opportunity to make big gains in both arenas.

It’s a good time to think about where we’re going: part of moving forward is reflecting on where we’ve been. What’s worked well and where do we need to be better?

Many of our skiers have made serious goals for the races at US Nationals. In order to prepare, we’re skiing a simulated Nationals week, with three time trial efforts: a 10km skate, a skate sprint day, and a classic distance race. For the first day of this week we drove up over the gap to go meet up with Cam MacKugler and his Frost Mountain Nordic team for a 10km skate TT. I had a vision of Cam bending a Swix Star at the Bolton Eastern High School Sprint when I was in 9th grade (2005). I won’t tell you how long it took me to dredge up this photo, but the display of raw power is worth it.

Cam had a group of four skiers who showed us the course. We skied it backwards (downhill) as a warmup, then threw on the bibs and got ready to go.
The group was all smiles before the start. It’s always fun to meet up with different people for training. Thanks to Frost Mountain for letting us join in!
Heidi starts up the course: her first 10k race!
Our skiers are committed to so many things: Kaitlin’s balancing college apps, play, the Valley Reporter, and still skiing fast right now.

Dev has made incredible gains this year (while playing soccer and having a lead role in play!). His game face is on 24/7.

Night is falling quicker and quicker these days.

Wood roller skis and a construction hard hat. Not a bad look for our Frost Mountain Friend.

It’s beginning to feel like Fall in New England out here. Italy was sweet, but the scenery in Vermont is pretty striking as well, even on a cold, cloudy day.
We had some awesome efforts yesterday: everyone skied hard on an unfamiliar and challenging course. Now it’s out for skate sprinting at Sugarbush!

Italy Finale

Our last day in Italy was upon us before we knew it: two weeks can really fly by. We decided to go big and go home, setting out on a 20 kilometer hike from Schlinig, Italy to Sur En, Switzerland. The hike took us through the infamous Uinaschlucht, a gorge with a smuggler’s route carved into the cliff walls.
Coach Beckwith has got map fever right now: here he plots out the route before our departure from Schlinig.
Confident that we know our way, he drives the van back out the valley. We’ll see you in Switzerland!

The peaks of the Ortler range were snow capped, but it was 70 and sunny down here in the valley.

Right before the major climb in the hike, we stopped for a “rock on” pose in front of the waterfall. It was somewhere around here that we decided that this was the best day ever.

It was great to have our favorite Frenchman back from training in Austria with the biathletes.

It’s tough to find words to describe how beautiful it was here.

Fitzy lugs her camera gear and extra clothes up the mountain. She took a lot of great photos on this trip. Some have made their way onto the blog, others are sure to debut on Facebook in the next few days.

Dev takes a moment to reflect on where he’s been.

Once we climbed up over the waterfall, it was all downhill to Switzerland in this high alpine valley. 

To the Uinaschulcht we go!

Toine is always an enthusiastic photo subject.

We tried to kill some time on the way to the Uinaschlucht, so we hiked up this ridge on the side of the trail. 

Looking down on Antoine from the ridge.

The Halvorsen siblings are interviewed by Antoine (not pictured) about the hike.

Heading into the gorge. The river is close to the trail at the top, then quickly drops deep into the slot canyon.

The group stayed together for the whole hike, up from Schlinig, down through the Uinaschlucht and out the other side: this was an awesome way to wrap up a fantastic camp.

Someone came into this valley and said, “I think i’ll cut a two-kilometer long path into the side of this cliff. By hand.”

The cliffs drop off close to 100 meters into the abyss below.

It was an unbelievable camp in Italy: we had fantastic weather, a variety of great training, awesome food, and hospitality that we can only hope to replicate in the spring. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for this trip to happen!

A Look Back in Time – Ten Year Reunion on the Stelvio

Reunion of sorts – Coach Beckwith (WJC ’99) meeting Peter Schlickenrieder (WJC ’89) – Moving Planet Day 2011

The past few mornings I have been waking up early enough that I might be rivaling past Middlebury College Coach, Terry Aldrich in his zeal for the dawn.  This pattern lends to a feeling of courting a day — certainly being ready for it — and being unmistakably ahead of your colleagues (or in my case, athletes) in exuberance by the time they wake up.  Bottom line — as the GMVS XC Ski Team is nearing the end of our first altitude camp of the 2011-12 — the Head Coach is fired up!

Today was a special day, not only because the kids got an excellent day of training on snow along side the Italian National Team, but because they got to link their passion to a bigger issue.  Today is a worldwide day of unity and awareness, drawn together under the name, Moving Planet — with the goal or reducing dependence on fossil fuels, looking to alternative energy sources and promoting a movement towards a world with 350 part per million of CO2.  We had a day we will never forget — one with snow, contemplation of our place in the world, and physical experiences (read, play) that link us to the planet in a respectful way.


Speaking of days I will never forget, on the eve of competing in World Junior Champs in 1999, in Saafelden, Austria — I witnessed the then fastest man alive, Peter Schlickenrieder duel with the fastest Austrian sprinter in a night sprint.  The town had shut a street and lined it with snow — for a single ski race that lasted no more than a few minutes.  Sprinting as an event did not really exist yet, this was an exhibition to help launch the Junior World Champs, and I was blown away by this man V1’ing in a yellow suit at what-seemed-to-be the speed of light.

Coach on an off day in Innsbruck.

Return to courting the day … here I am with the kids, watching them ski along side Olympic Champions, Spanish, French, and Swiss Junior National Teams and the Sud Tirol Coach points to a man who looks to be dodging his forties rather well, “this one is Schlickenrieder…” I am enthused explain in my broken Deutsche-English, my memory of this phenom of a sprinter.  “He has made silver in Salt Lake in the Sprint.”  I watch him pass and dream a bit.

Near the end of the workout I spy Peter propping his skis against the Stelvio sign and snapping a picture for his sponsor, Salomon.  I offer to help this idol of mine from years past — “Would you like me to take a picture with you in it.”  Boom — I’ve broken the ice and am now talking to an Olympic Medalist!  It takes me a minute to convey my story, but yes he remembers the sprint, and is flattered I have made the connection.

Inspiring views surround the valleys of the Sud Tirol.

We not only talk of ski racing, but also of the significance of the day and how Nordic Skiers are spokesmen for the environment.  He shares that he believes his homeland, Germany, is a world-leader in photovoltaics.  Most days he says he doesn’t have time for photos and chat, but he is very affable — offering that he is making a “revival” nearly ten years after taking the Silver Medal in the Sprint at the Salt Lake Olympics.  I am stoked and feel a real connection to this man who only existed before in my mind.

It all starts with play — and a desire to try really hard at something.

The view from our hotel — past castle ruins and into the Ortles Range.

Looking out the Martell Valley after our roller ski the other day.  20 kilometers and some 4000 feet of climb.

Shortly after this meeting I gather our team with the Sud Tirol Regional Langlauf team for a photo that makes me proud.  I explain the cause of Moving Planet and have a Swiss skier explain to the German-speaking-Italians what the significance of the day is and what we are supporting with our photo.  We are bringing together two continents and five countries under one cause and linked by the sport of cross-country skiing.  Pretty inspired indeed.

Kinda makes you want to smile!

Two hours on snow makes this one smile.

This guy too — first day on snow for 2011-12 ski season.

The view down into Switzerland.

 And for my play … well there is nothing I like better than going downhill on skinny skis — it sort of crosses the barriers of two worlds for me — and take me back to the beginnings of skiing for me and the sport itself.  Because of the recent snow — there are snowfields and bands of drifts that make a decent of several thousand feet possible.  I packed the kids in the van with Evan and pointed to a far switchback — “meet me down there.”  The ski was as adventurous as I had hoped, complete with crust, corn, rocks, grass, and some striding through a knee deep lake.  This is it!



Summer Camp


Good Weather, Great Training.

Summer Camps wrapped up just in time for the Fourth. Our Second Annual Camps had awesome turnouts, with skiers from throughout New England. Each camp began with an adventure hike with poles, and concluded with an uphill roller ski challenge on Appalachian Gap.
All activities promoted ski specific technique on either roller skis or on foot. Athletes awoke to a morning jog and mobility exercises. During the day they had two workouts. Each night, group meetings focussed on skiing education and inspiration.
Many thanks to Paul Stone and Eric Carter (UVM), Colin Rodgers (Fischer/Sun Valley), and Sabra Davison (GMVS) for joining us during camp.

GMVS – APP GAP TT – Pursuit 7/3

# Battleground Start Club Skate Split Classic Split Total 07 vs. 08
1) Hilary Rich CSU 12:45 17:05 29:50 (-3:05)
2) Hannah Smith CSU 15:41 17:39 33:20
3) Kaitlin Fink Bedford XC 14:36 19:29 34:15 (-4:23)
4) Andrea Dunkle Tunbridge 15:27 20:31 35:58
5) Megan Trow Fall Mtn. 21:55 20:30 42:25
6) Heather Fisher CSU 17:58 24:56 42:54
7) Kelsey Colpitts CSU 20:45 27:20 48:05
Running
1) Thomas Haynes Harwood 12:00 16:50 28:50 (-0:14)
German Flats Start
1) David Sinlclair GMVS 17:41 12:58 30:39 (-2:18)
2) Noah Brautigam GMVS/Midd 20:08 13:19 33:27 (-1:29)
3) John McGlenn GMVS 19:56 14:14 34:10 (-11:54)
4) Peter Hegman MMU 19:54 14:29 34:23 (-6:56)
5) Dylan Grald GMVS/Ford S. 22:43 14:59 36:42 (-1:01)
6) Jackson Rich CSU 21:14 15:51 37:05 (-3:31)
7) Andrew Nesbitt Gould 20:54 17:24 37:10 (-0:48)
8) Max Ebstein Mt. Mansfield 22:30 15:48 38:18
9) Danny Kuzio GMVS 21:50 16:38 38:28 (-1:08)
10) Jared Supple Mt. Mansfield 23:18 15:55 39:13
11) Riley Walker North Country 24:41 15:46 40:00
12) Phillip Tosteson Ford Sayre 23:00 17:23 40:23
13) Paco DeFrancis Ford Sayre 23:35 17:39 41:14
14) Alec McGovern GMVS 25:57 18:18 44:15