This past weekend NENSA traveled to Maine for a two-event weekend: The Bethel Rollerski Clinic at Gould Academy and The Maine Event at Pineland Farms.
Saturday dawned with pleasant, yet near freezing, temperatures which greeted 30 participants attending a community clinic designed for youth/BKL skiers, their parents and coaches, and high school athletes at Gould Academy. All the participants worked on their agility, balance, and coordination while running through the rollerski ramps and playing a variety of games including broom ball. The love of cross country skiing is strong and this event connected and reconnected folks from different regions, generations, and sliding sport disciplines. NENSA is energized and committed to building on this excitement.
A huge thank you to Ben Kamilewicz and Gould Academy for hosting and helping organize the event and also a big shoutout to the dedicated Bethel Outing Club volunteers and Colin Rodgers of GMVS for their support. We are also very grateful to Greg Gilman for the awesome photos.
On the next bluebird morning, The Maine Event at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester provided a heightened environment. The concept for the first open Cross Country Cross (XCX) event was born in the late summer of 2018 after a showcase event at a US Ski Team U16 National Camp in Lake Placid, New York. This exciting new discipline combines traditional sprint racing with rollerski agility that US Development coaches had been employing at regional camps for years. Pineland is a natural fit for NENSA as the campus hosts our home office and there are three colleges in close proximity ensuring a competitive field.
This year marked the third running of the XCX competition, and the first year when adverse weather didn’t plague the spirit and effectiveness of timing the event. It was, as they say, “one for the books.” Not only was the weather on point, including a perfect light frost in the early morning — making one feel that winter competition is just around the corner — but the planning and development of features and a stalwart organizing committee, now four years in the making, created a safe and exciting environment for athletes and spectators alike.
Sunday’s event was the first Maine Event where junior skiers joined the collegiate athletes in similar numbers — making for a diverse development opportunity. This was also the seventh of nine rollerski competitions NENSA has hosted this year — competitions which have what feels like a perfect balance of competition and fun.
XCX is a new version of an old concept, “skilek” means “ski play” in Norwegian. The premise being that terrain teaches. The arena for the 2021 event created an opportunity for athletes to push their comfort levels and learn new techniques. As an outside viewer one might feel as if they are watching athletes in fast-forward or sped up, as the skill and speed of cross country skiing continues to push the needle forward.
“What a great day! Gorgeous weather, great competition, a fantastic venue, and a top-shelf announcer – the whole thing had a nice “big event” feel. This was an excellent learning experience for our skiers – I could see them gaining confidence with every run through the course. It’s so valuable for them to be doing stuff like this that’s a little outside their comfort zone and also super fun. Thanks to NENSA and Pineland for hosting!”
–Nathan Alsobrook Head Nordic Ski Coach Bowdoin College
“Our team had such a great time at the Maine Event. The racing was really fun and productive, but the highlight of our day was seeing all of our competitors who we didn’t get to see last year. Really thankful for NENSA and all they are doing to provide lots of avenues for competition in Maine and New England.”
–Tracey Cote Head Nordic Ski Coach Colby College
EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS GO TO STEVE FULLER @ FLYING POINT ROAD
(CONTACT FLYINGPOINTROAD FOR PRINTS)