All are welcome. Please pass along this information to anyone wanting to attend Tom’s memorial service. Thank you.
Our community is heartbroken by the loss of Tom Kendall.
“The Kendall family is organizing a service for Tom at the Dartmouth Skiway Sunday afternoon September 29th. If you would like to join us, please send an email to [email protected] or add your name at the link below if you’d like to attend. I’m just starting to gather names from the ski community and our list keeps getting bigger… such a wonderful, caring community.
Feel free to pass this information along — it would be a huge help to me, and I’m sure I won’t think of everyone.”
The New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF), the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and High Peaks Cyclery (HPC) invite athletes, friends, family and fans to a Rollerski race weekend in Lake Placid, NY.
This is the second event of the NENSA / HPC Rollerski Series, following the sensational App Gap Challenge at Mad River Glen on August 3rd. We are expecting a great turn-out of athletes from across the region, including the U.S. Biathlon Team for this mini tour.
On Saturday, September 14th the 2nd annual Lake Placid Doubleday will consist of a 3 kilometer prologue with an interval start, followed by a 1.5 kilometer cross-country ski cross (XCX) preliminary sprint. The Doubleday will begin at 9:00AM with an Athlete Safety Meeting and the Course-Opening for Inspection.
Results from the Doubleday, will determine the starting order for day two of the event which is the legendary Climb to the Castle (C2C).
NEW this year – High Peaks Cyclery will be hosting the C2C pre-registration / bib pickup from 6:00PM-8:00PM on Saturday night at their store in Lake Placid. Come get your bib early and socialize! Join us for smores, beverages and make new friends!
On Sunday, September 15th, the Climb to the Castle freestyle race will begin at 8:00AM. The course will start at the Whiteface toll booth, climbing for approximately 5 miles with an average 8% grade up the Memorial Highway to the summit of Whiteface Mountain – New York’s 5th highest peak with an elevation of 4,867 feet.
Last week, NENSA’s rollerski agility ramps were a playground for over 200 individual skiers. From their home in Warren, Vermont the ramps flew south to Dublin, NH then on to Stratton, VT before making their way back north to Hanover, NH. The ramps’ creator, Competitive Program Director Justin Beckwith, traveled with them in the back of a pickup truck – spreading the fun and challenging style of agility skiing with him as we went.
The first ramps were built by Justin in August of 2018, as part of an effort to create a new breed of agility course that flowed well and let skiers experience new and challenging obstacles. Prior to the ramps, many agility courses were starting to include more jumping and dropping off of obstacles, while exciting, it had the potential to damage equipment and create sore knees. With the smooth and fast nature of the ramps, skiers learn many fundamental skills, perhaps most importantly how to pressure a ski in the push phase.
On Thursday August 15 (one year and eight days after their creation) the ramps showed up in the newly repaved Sun Bowl parking lot at the Stratton Resort. Shortly after their arrival 60 BKL aged skiers from SMS BKL camp showed up on skis or in vans. Justin led the skiers through a progression to build comfort and awareness on the ramps before turning the skiers loose to play.
That same afternoon after the SMS BKL session, Justin traveled to the Dublin School to pick up a ramp that the Dublin XC junior camp skiers had been making use of all week – jumping, flowing and flying through the smooth rollers.
Back in Stratton on Friday four groups of skiers were rotated through the agility course (included the first run of both bicycle ramps put end to end, a #megaramp of almost 70 feet) during the SMS Junior Camp. The final stop of this rollerski agility mini tour was Hanover, NH where Ford Sayre rallied skiers from their BKL, junior, and masters programs. They were joined by members of Dartmouth’s nordic team, as well as Hanover High School team members and parents.
You are never too old or too young to try something new. Many of the skiers who played on the ramps last week were doing so for the very first time. We had skiers on the ramps ranging from 7 years old up through 60+ years old!
The next opportunity to ski the ramps as part of an agility course will be September 14-15 in Lake Placid, as part of the Adirondack Rollerski Mini Tour. After that the ramps will make their way to New Gloucester, ME for the Maine Event on October 27.
Hot off the press from the Boston Globe today! A great article on the Stratton T2 Team’s visit to Boston this past week and inspiring the next generation of cross country skiers! Enjoy!
The Tenth Running of the Gap
The high point of the Appalachian Gap in Waitsfield, VT sits more than 1600’ vertical feet above the valley below. To get there, Vermont Route 17 snakes its way from the valley floor up past Mad River Glen Ski area before topping out at 2,375 feet above sea level. The road is steep, winding, and has the reputation of being one seriously impressive climb. On Saturday August 3, this uphill stretch of pavement was the proving ground for skiers from across North America who came to ski the App Gap Challenge.
The race is hosted by the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA), and is the first race of six in the NENSA High Peaks Cyclery Rollerski Series presented by Skitrax Magazine.
The idea of the App Gap Challenge is simple enough; an uphill rollerski skiathlon with competitors doing a skate leg before transitioning to classic skis for the final push to the summit. But if you were to look at the faces of the competitors making their way up the gap, you would know that completing this race is no simple feat.
By the start time at 9:30 the sun was beating down on the pavement and the day was beginning to feel hot. The touring division started the day off with a handful of skiers who took advantage of the lane closure and the rare opportunity to rollerksi the gap uninhibited by cars. They were followed by the open and junior men’s field who skied a 7.5k course, and then the open and junior women’s field who skied a 5k course. The final starters of the day were waves of elite men and women who started in waves of 10, all skiing a 7.5k course on sets of matched rollerskis provided by Swenor.
The competitor field has grown in size and strength every year. This year saw more than 180 skiers toe the line, with members of the US Ski Team, SMS T2, Craftsbury Green Racing Project, and junior and college skiers from across the United States.
For the second year in a row, the women’s course record fell; which truly shows the strength of the field and the increased popularity of the race. The women’s podium was made up of Katherine Ogden of Dartmouth College/SMS T2 in first place, followed by Sophie Caldwell of SMS T2/USST in second place, and Caitlin Patterson of Craftsbury Green Racing Project/USST in third place.
On the men’s side, the race was won by Simi Hamilton of SMS T2/USST. Ben Lustgarden of Craftsbury Green Racing Project took second place, followed by teammate Adam Martin also of Craftsbury Green Racing Project in third place.
The men’s masters winner was Eli Enman, followed by Joel Bradley in second place and Reid Greenberg in third place.
The women’s masters podium was made up of Kathy Maddock in first place, followed by Alex Jospe in second place and Tristin Adie in third place.
Sverre Caldwell is the recipient of the 2019 NENSA John Caldwell Award | The App Gap is coming August 3rd! | TONS of Photos from our Eastern REG Program in Lake Placid the last week of June | Save the Date for NENSA’s upcoming Coaches Symposium/ TD & Event Organizer Training/ L200 Course / L100 Technique Clinic/ Speakers and so much more ~ the weekend of September 21 & 22 at the Dublin School, NH
There is perhaps no more fitting honor to acknowledge Sverre Caldwell’s contribution to the US Skiing than to be recognized with an award that is named after his father. This award annually recognizes a single individual, or entity, which embodies the spirit, dedication, innovation and pride in our Nordic community that the founder of NENSA exhibited.
Sverre grew up in Putney while his father was crafting the Cross-Country Ski Book, coaching the US Ski Team, teaching at the Putney School and raising a family with his wife Hep. John describes his sons arrival to coaching, “Sver loved sports from day one,” and found challenge growing up as the middle brother of four exceptionally athletic siblings. “And so the question is, how did Sver survive in this atmosphere? I dunno, but Hep and I paid a lot of attention to all our kids and maybe it paid off.”
“Somehow, Sver was always the most organized, the most with-it, and the most accommodating! And it’s clear to me, at least, that he carried these characteristics over into his coaching.”
And did he ever – it would be nearly impossible to list the athletes and coaches Sverre Caldwell has influenced over forty years of coaching at the Stratton Mountain School – quite simply because he has directly mentored or worked with skiers from all corners of the United States. Rick Kapala, the Director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Nordic Program describes Sverre and the Stratton Mountain School as the “Gold Standard,” that other programs measure their success against. Kapala goes on to say, “as I was beginning my coaching I would read John’s books cover to cover – and how was I supposed to compete with the Sverre who was literally in the book!” The professionalism of US coaching was effectively established on the shoulders of Sverre and the coaches of his generation. It was the friendly competition between programs like Sun Valley and Stratton that created the environment of greatness we see today in US Skiing.
Stratton and US Ski Team alum, Andrew Newell, was mentored by Sverre and now carries his own coaching torch with his start-up program, Nordic Team Solutions. “Sverre’s coaching style is perfect for young athletes… always upbeat and consistent in demeanor he always strikes a balance between pushing you incredibly hard while still keeping it fun. The perfect combination. He always understood the value of a cohesive team, and how we can all improve by pushing one another. He’s one of the easiest people to talk to, I think as athletes we’ve all strived to make him proud.”
The inclusive culture Caldwell developed during his forty years at the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) produced tens of Olympians and National Champions as well as inspiring the next generation of coaches and program leaders. Sverre always said he wouldn’t retire until we won an Olympic Gold medal – it might have taken a few years longer than he wanted – but that box was checked when Jesse Diggins (SMS T2) and Kikkan Randall (APU) struck gold in PyeongChang, South Korea. Of course there are many other statistics that a program needs to meet before the highest stage. For the past 24 years, the SMS program has boasted at least one Junior National Champion and at least one member of the US Junior World Championship Team per year. Attending SMS Bill Koch and Junior Camps is a rite of passage for many athletes from New England, New York and beyond – it often serves as a launching pad for these campers, either by inspiring them to train harder when they go home or deciding that the environment at Stratton is the perfect place to spend a few years in their training pursuits.
As Sverre moves aside from his position at the helm of the SMS Nordic Program, he leaves behind a legacy of one of the finest junior programs in the world. Caldwell is also responsible for creating and securing the funding needed to support the Stratton T2 Elite Team – the success of this program is undeniable with both US Ski Team athletes and coaches taking up residence during the summer months in Southern Vermont. Like his father Sverre has nurtured his own exceptional family including Sophie, who is respected as one of the top sprinters in the world along with twins, Isabel and Austin – Isabel currently teaches at the Burr & Burton Outdoor Program where she mentors youth in the classroom and coaches their ski team in the winter – Austin recently took the assistant coaching position at the University of Colorado after a tenure at the Bridger Ski Foundation. Perhaps Sverre’s best attribute is how he balances his passion for cross country skiing while being a loving father and husband – in the past few years he and his wife Lilly have traveled the world both recreationally and also to watch their children and current and former athletes compete on the international stage.
The world is simply a better place because of the mark the Sverre Caldwell has left on hundreds of exceptional human beings – luckily for US Skiing he continues to share his expertise and inspiration via local training groups (that include international stars), outreach to coaches and work on NENSA committees.
Matt Boobar, the current Nordic Program Director at SMS leaves us with this: “Sverre touched so many in skiing and beyond. While the performances on snow speak for themselves it was Sverre’s overall approach to each student athlete as an entire person that really speaks volumes. He fully embraced the part of SMS’s mission to help create and establish strong personal values. He proves that nice people do finish first! While Sverre is retired from his full-time responsibilities at Stratton Mountain School he will continue to promote and build nordic skiing at all levels. Sverre is clearly a deserving recipient of any award in Nordic skiing, even the one named after his dad!”
Read all about Pennie Rand being the recipient of the 2019 NENSA Chummy Broomhall Award, the 2020 BKL Festival at Great Glen, the 2021 U16 and EHS host venues, US Ski & Snowboard critera for World Cup race selection, the first of our NENSA High Peaks Cyclery Rollerski Races ~ the App Gap Challenge ~ and so much more! Enjoy! https://conta.cc/2NwiEkY
NENSA is thrilled to announce Pennie Rand as the 2019 recipient of the Chummy Broomhall Award. This award honors Chummy, who was the Chisholm Ski Club leader for nearly 70 years, a two-time Olympian, and a builder of the race courses for Squaw Valley, Lake Placid and Black Mountain. He embodied the spirit of being a volunteer as he was a man who gave his time to generations. NENSA proudly presents this annual award to honor the unsung heroes of ski racing.
This year NENSA would like to honor Pennie Rand, of Richmond VT, for her limitless enthusiasm for our sport of cross country skiing, and her support to our NENSA programing and athletes, of every age.
Pennie infuses enthusiasm with everything she does – from founding and organizing five editions of the exciting Cochran’s Nordic Ski Cross, to making wild flower crowns for the winners of the annual App Gap Challenge rollerski race (and serving on the timing crew), to attending countless NENSA, EISA, and community events — LL Bean Adirondack pack on her back, camera in hand, and cheering as loudly as she can for each and every competitor!
Eli Enman of Sleepy Hollow has this to say about Pennie: “When I think of Pennie and the Nordic Ski Cross, I just think of all her energy, and love of skiing come bubbling through. She’s a great organizer, and she is awesome at pulling people in to volunteer to put on the most fun race possible. It’s also worth noting that the ski cross race is a sort of cross discipline event, with both Nordic and Alpine parts. This is reflected in her joy of all things skiing – with Pennie it’s all about getting outside on any type of equipment to enjoy winter. In short, she makes skiing fun and it’s impossible not to get caught up in her enthusiasm for the sport.”
Pennie is a native Vermonter from Middlebury and was the Vermont Skimeister Champion in both 1980 and 1981. She is a certified Nordic instructor and has led ski tours to Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. She is an alum of the University of New Hampshire where she was on the Nordic Team. Fitting of her well-roundedness, her daughters, Karin and Annavitte have competed both as Alpine and Nordic skiers — and it’s fair to say their “best day” is skiing together as a family with dad, Matt, in the woods where there is a combination of covering some serious ground and catching powdery schusses along the way!
In the 1990s, Rand was executive director of the Catamount Trail Association. She is a freelance photographer and an Alpine ski coach and starter for Cochran’s Ski Club. In 2014 she served as director of operations at the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe VT. Currently Pennie assists Molly Peters coaching the St. Michaels’s College ski team.
Pennie stared the Cochran’s Ski Cross seven years ago as an end of season event — the once local race, has now grown to become a regional phenomenon that draws a diverse field with top collegiate and club racers (including National and International Champions), juniors, masters and local legends of both XC and Alpine skiing. This past April, registration was closed after 200 athletes signed up!
While the Cochran’s event is a celebration of the season and the skiing community there is no doubt that skiing skills and racer mentality are being learned by all the competitors. Many chose to wear costumes to disguise their intents – but it’s fair to say all the racers give it their all in search of bragging rights or just to push their personal boundaries! And the woman behind this fun phenomenon is Pennie, who is right there in the thick of the action, making sure the event is top notch — starting the race all while while cheering for everyone (and laughing in her signature belly laugh)!
Adam Terko of Mansfield Nordic on Nordic Cross 2019, “The hype was real! And the participation and engagement for this type of sport is a big box you can check on the list of ‘why New England is the strongest region in the country.’ It’s not just our awesome access to trails, clubs, competition, and resources. It’s local events like this where community members like Pennie have a vision and are willing to put it all together to make something like this happen…and the ski community that comes out to shred when it happens!”
Our hats are off to Pennie Rand for helping push the level of skiing forward, and NENSA thanks her for all she has done for our sport!
Editors note: Pennie and Matt are currently in Iceland courting their mountain spirit – as it should be.