Please join NENSA in honoring Nancy Jean Steffen for her 47 years as the treasurer and lollipop leader at Prospect Ski Club with a Lifetime Bill Koch League Leadership Award. Nancy brought so many young people along, being the first coach they came into contact with, gently teaching them the ways of Nordic Skiing, through fun activities and thoughtful, well organized practices.
“Nancy epitomizes the backbone of the Bill Koch League- volunteers who spread the love of XC to new generations of skiers. People like Nancy show that cross country skiing is a lifelong passion!” Bill Koch
Nancy Jean was known for getting to practice early to set up fun activities such as ski orienteering or the very memorable Valentines Day ski. Nancy would set up pinwheels along the trail, one for each skier with their names on one for them to keep and bring home with them, as well as handwritten personalized valentines day cards. For a first timer, she would bring them out to candy cane lane, a flat area great for learning, and while they skied the loop, Nancy would follow behind them placing candy canes. On the next loop through the lane, skiers would delightedly find candy canes to collect from the trees.
“When I think of Nancy Jean, I think of my childhood. She was my first coach at Prospect Mountain Ski Club and has been the lollipop coach there forever! Nancy Jean has taught countless youth to cross country ski and has shared her love and passion for the sport with all who come in contact with her. She has always been full of fun stories and tales of lollipops growing out of trees, and shares that magical wonder with her young charges. Nancy Jean made learning to ski FUN – which is the heart and soul of the Bill Koch League here in New England. Having fun, playing on skis with your friends, enjoying winter in Vermont – Nancy Jean captured that beautifully as a coach of young children, and for that, we THANK YOU, for all you have done for so many of us growing up in Vermont, and who learned to ski from you at Prospect Mountain. You are the best!” Amie Witten Smith, NENSA Executive Director (and Bennington native).
Nancy has a innate sense of what children need, and at practice, with basic safety and a good practice plan in place, she would let kids be free and play. It was always obvious how much she loved being with children, and they responded to her casual comfortable teaching style.
“When I think of Nancy, I think of a quiet, steady, capable leader. Someone who is always there to make sure that things go smoothly and well. She’s like hot chocolate at the end of a long day…you see her, and you feel good.” Sverre Caldwell, Stratton Mountain School Head Coach.
“There are few people out there in the nordic community that I respect more than Nancy (and also her husband Tom) for the gifts she has bestowed upon the sport of cross-country skiing. There aren’t many people anywhere who have turned on more children to the joys of xc skiing than Nancy. For nearly five decades she has nurtured, taught and introduced kids to the beauty of a lifetime sport and while she did it she taught us more than the basics of the sport, she taught us of humanity, love and kindness and the value of teamwork. She did it unselfishly and reliably for years. The sport owes Nancy a huge debt of gratitude for showing so many the way and teaching us how to be outside in winter. For her and the program it was never about simply just developing racers, she cared for the beauty of the sport as a lifetime pursuit and a fine way to enjoy winter.
Her legacy is huge and will be carried on forever in every skier lucky enough to have had her for a mentor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Peter Graves, Bennington native, Former US Ski Team Coach and 11 time Olympic Broadcaster
Thank you Nancy Jean Steffen for your dedication, and for instilling the love of Nordic Skiing into the hearts of many skiers over the years.