Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wow! Season Wrap Up.

Three years ago we started our SMS T2 program with two goals in mind. We wanted to help the skiers achieve International excellence and help grow the sport by giving back to the community. We hoped that if we got a strong group of skiers working together in a supportive environment that good things would happen.
Clearly it is working, not only are our SMS T2 athletes doing well, the SMS high school program is flourishing. By working closely together, each group improves more. The high school skiers get to train with some of the top skiers in the world and hear stories from the World Cup, Olympics and Europa Cups. The T2 athletes gain by being an integral part of the ski community. They help with clinics, camps and organizations promoting sport as a healthy life choice. The community has adopted the T2 team and made them feel valued.

Skiing is a funny sport because, unless your name is Marit B., no matter how well you do, you always want more. This is why the concept of team is so important. Instead of sweating a sub par race, you can be happy knowing that you are an integral part of a team that is doing some great stuff.

So, here is what our team can be psyched about. We have a small club with 8 senior athletes, 21 high school students and 4 junior high students. Here are some collective statistics:

For the second year in a row our skiers had the top results for any US skier the biggest Championship events (World Championships, U23 World Championships and Junior World Championships). Our club goal is to get a top 10 at each of these events every year. We figure that if we get enough top 10’s, we’ll get some podiums. This year Jessie got a SILVER, Sophie got a 10th and in the sprint relay Andy and Simi were 7th while Sophie and Jessie were 8th at World Championships. Ben got a sixth at U23’s and Katharine got a 6th at World Jrs.

All eight of our SMS T2 skiers qualified for USST trips to Europe. Five raced at World Championships. Three (plus 2 alums) at U23 World Championships and four at the Europa Cup races.

Four of our SMS T2 athletes ended the year ranked in the top 30 in the world thus getting in the “red” group and earning automatic nominations to the USST A team.

14 of our 21 high school students qualified for Junior Nationals.
8 of these 14 earned All American status (top 10 individual or top 3 relay).

We extended our streak of at least one Junior National gold medal and at least one SMS skier qualifying for World Juniors to 19 straight years.

The 4 U16 skiers who did not qualify for Junior Nationals all qualified for the NE U16 Championships.

Our 4 BKL skiers (7th-8th grade) skied brilliantly all year and won both individual races as well as both relays at the Festival.

Thanks to everyone for working hard, pushing each other and being supportive of each other. Hard work can be fun!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Enjoying Skiing in a Different Light

After a long and successful racing season around the globe, a small SMS group and I were lucky enough to spend four days enjoying a skiing adventure of a different nature. Koby, Ben, and Conor all eagerly jumped on an opportunity to pull out their telemark skis, skins, and backpacks in search of epic backcountry runs on the mountains of Maine. Our humble home for the entirety of our stay was Stratton Brook Hut, part of the incredible Maine Huts & Trails system, which was a three-mile ski in & out every day. Some of our best skiing was on the bluff along that trail, which made the 'daily commute' that much more enjoyable. At Stratton Brook, we were provided one day of meals before the hut transferred from full service, to self service. Thus, we were left with our four-bunk room, an industrial grade kitchen, and an amazing living area virtually to ourselves. This led to create meals, good down time, and a perfect Base Camp for our adventures. 

Over the next three days, we summited and shredded Sugarloaf Mountain, its neighbor (and ideal skin/ski hill) Burnt Mountain, and two Knolls with pre-gladed lines and great snow. Our crew was always enthusiastic, brought great energy, and was ready for every adventure. Best yet, they were willing to teach me the ropes of tele skiing, skiing, and generally backcountry adventures! Koby, who has vast experience in this subject, was a great leader for us, and always seemed to know the places to go and the lines to ski. Ben also blew me away with his tele skills & pure glee on snow, and was as great a teacher as he was an entertainer. Conor, the ever excited and joyous 8th grader, impressed me with his unbridled excitement on the downhills and guts on the up (he took a few diggers while skinning). 

I hope that the three amigos had fun, because this trip was one of the most exciting adventures that I have gone on with a team. It was refreshing to get out and enjoy the snow for more than racing, training, and grooming. Sometimes by the end of the season, all I want is to get off of the white stuff, but these three gave me another genuine reason to be sad that the snow will melt by the time break is over. So, thank you to them for giving me this treat. And, thanks for the Maine Huts and Trails for the hut & trails, and to Sam Punderson & Charlie Woodworth for the recommendations & help along the way. Now, enough with the words, and onto images. 

Packing the bags for the ski in. 

Oversized backpacks, undersized skis. (we only used nordi skis once)

The climb to the cabin.

Outside the hut! Our bunkroom was on the right (#4), and everything was on the left.

The view of Sugarloaf from the top of our Knoll.

Though he was actually pointing to something, the real important topic here is that hair & face. 

Skinning up Oak Knoll for the shorter, yet very exciting runs.

Part of the long skin up Burnt Moutain, which led to unbelievable skiing down.

Breaking tree line and nearing the top. 

Bundling up on the windy summit of Burnt.

A better view of the Stratton Hut.

The humble kitchen and the delicious meal. 

Enjoying the 'daily commute' with Sugarloaf in the background. 

Game face for Munns as we crest the summit of Sugarloaf! An hour and a half of skinning later to the top of northern Maine.

Weather station (maybe?) at the summit! The snow fields were closed, but we still had a blast following the trails down. 

One of the runs on Oak Bluff. The tight, playful lines were very characteristic of this knoll. 

Sampling to see if he liked his Annies&Peas with Cholula or not... he loved it. Props to the carrot barrier!

Sponsorship plug. 

No Koby, we salute you for this week. Thanks for a great time, and good luck at Dartmouth next year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Team completes epic 40mile back country tour 4/1 report

 The team skied from mass. to stratton on the catamount trail.....12hours, 5 sections, 40miles....

Heading down the Catamount at section 5 at about mile 31

sweet single track, might go back with my fat bike!

snack break stratton pond

tons of snow for 4/1!

cool glaciers along the trail

totally extreme off camber sections only two girls fell into the Somerset...

the least sketchy bridge we found

mount snow northside in the background, classic skis are tough down Rip Cord.....

Syd got so hungry he ate a coyote, fur and skin is all that is left....

one dam thing after another on this trail

bouldering routes abound

one crazy chick, good thing those ancient fish scales have floatable foam cores
skimming that was interesting
KO dislikes cycling so much she set up camp for a summer hibernation
well deserved 1000Kcal of energy replacement therapy
Poppet likes it! she saved some for later (on her face...)
that about sums it up for a long tour ending on 4/1....

Friday, March 27, 2015

30/50 Final

 Wow..what a way to end the season...bluebird skies and temps rising to the 50's. Great for spectators, damm tough for the racers...esp. the women who ended having to V2 the downhills when the snow really slowed down.
Above, Paddy and Kris duke it out near the finish of the 50 km race.
 View of the stadium.
 Pre race smiles.
 Guess who has raced and who has not.
 Girls start. This picture is a bit telling..the snow was snow, but a couple of people figured out a pretty good ski, wax structure selection and that made a big difference. caitlin G had good skis and skied very well..she blew away the field, winning by almost 3 minutes. Liz S (in 2nd above) did not have good skiis, but still managed to hammer to a 2nd place finish.
 Jessie picked the wrong skis, but made the most of it and somehow had a smile on her face every time I saw her. Maybe it was because I had the feeds....
 Annie H follows Linda D-M.
 KO skied very well. she latched onto a girl from NM for 3 laps. Our skiis were a bit slower and on the final 5 km lap, KO finally faded, but she still ended 10th on the day.
 Matt W hanging and smiling :).
Mens winner, Ivan Babikov, enjoying hanging out in the sun and cheering the girls after his race.

Big Thanks to SVSEF and all of the sponsors. The week was very well organized and fun. We had way more sickness that we would ever hope for, but the week was still a success.

That's the last race of our season. Pretty cool year!