Last Tuesday morning in Lake Placid, New York, 46 athletes toed the line for an uphill run test on Whiteface Mountain. The workout was part of our annual Eastern REG camp and would be a grueling uphill grind in the late June sunshine. The camp brought skiers together from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York for a week of training with an all star cast of coaches and guests, all hosted by the Northwood School, right in the heart of Lake Placid.
A few hours later, when the test was over and the skiers had recovered, they gathered for presentations from a group of former Olympians including Andy Newell, Dorcas Denhartog, Tim Burke, and Andrew Johnson. It was an inspiring afternoon and the Olympians drew from their experiences to pass on some expert wisdom to the next generation of skiers. Four time Olympic biathlete Tim Burke told the athletes to dream big, make every day count, and to ask questions. He stressed that the best athletes always wanted to learn more about their sport.
Johnson spoke of finding his own path in the world, and not feeling constrained by what others might think is the right trajectory. He told the campers that they were ahead of the curve already compared to where he was at their age, and complimented their level of dedication and focus.
Dorcas Denhartog gave a heartfelt presentation and spoke her love of skiing and the family bonds that can be strengthened by our sport. She told the campers of her father and how he became both student of the sport, and her biggest fan when she was competing. He collected Olympic pins when he traveled to watch her at the winter games. After the Olympic Day celebration she passed out a pin from his collection to each of the campers, saying “I could think of no better way to make sure that that passion was passed on than to share his pins with New England’s aspiring Olympians. I had no idea if the skiers would understand, or if they would want a pin from a ski event that happened before cell phones. But I’d like to think that wherever that pin goes, it will add a little tug to the heart of that skier, inspire and empower them to follow their passion.”
Though the Olympians came from different backgrounds there was a commonality in their message that US Ski Team development coach Bryan Fish summed up as “push yourself toward bigger goals than you think you might be able to achieve, make each day count because experiences pass by faster than you think, take the opportunity to learn about yourself and your sport each and every day- and last – enjoy the amazing people within our great sports. These people will be friends for life.”
It was a truly special celebration of personal and athletic history with amazing energy that carried over into the rest of the week’s training schedule.
The following days included technique work, movement education, an epic long run/hike, and a fast paced agility course that kept the skiers on their toes and thinking one step ahead. It was exciting to see the dedication and enthusiasm of these young athletes as they drew inspiration from their coaches and each other to make the camp a success. Andy Newell joined the camp as both a coach and an athlete, taking part in all of the trainings alongside the campers, and offering unique insight into his years on the World Cup. He commented that he was impressed with the “fitness and athleticism of these young skiers” and later told us that ” because of this new athlete/coach relationship we were able to accomplish so much more together in a short period of time. The future of Eastern junior skiing is looking bright!”
Dorcas praised Andy’s presence at the camp, telling us that “His position now is going to be a key link of communication and understanding between the national team and our REG skiers. The skiers were able to make the connection between the legendary Newell they know about through the media, and the real person they met at the camp, who was once like them.”
NENSA Would like to thank the Northwood School, NYSEF, the Lake Placid Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and all the amazing coaches who helped make this week possible. Below we have included a few photos from the week, as well as a video of camper Ben Ogden rocking our agility course, and videos of the double pole test Scroll to the bottom of the post for results from the Agility Test, Uphill Run Test, and the Double Pole Test.
Alum Andy Newell appears to be challenging the next generation of cross country skiers. Looking good, Ben Ogden! 😮
Posted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team on Wednesday, June 27, 2018