Over Thanksgiving break, the Nordic ski team traveled to Forêt Montmorency in Canada to begin their training for the season. With exceptionally heavy snowfall this year, this location is an excellent place to kick off the team’s training each year, giving an opportunity to strengthen team spirit and practice skills for the upcoming season. Coming off of one of its most successful seasons yet, the team is working to continue this success in the upcoming season.
Last year the team sent three skiers to the NCAA National Championship meet, all of whom were first years. This was the most skiers the program has ever sent.
“Last season was the best we have had,” captain Sean Cork ’19 said. “I am hoping that this year we can do a little bit better.”
Several factors played a vital role in producing such a memorable season, including coaching styles, positive energy, team size and support among teammates. The team looks to these attributes as members hope to meet or exceed their goals this upcoming winter.
Last year Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook was awarded the New England National Team Association Coach of the Year award. Members of the team attribute their dedication to the team to Alsobrook’s coaching style.
“Our coach, Nathan, is incredibly respected by our team,” said Renae Anderson ’21, who’s starting her second season with the team this year. “His technical knowledge and teaching ability is exceptional and has positively changed the ability of the team overall as well as each individual athlete.”
“He becomes a really good friend and also expects a lot out of you,” Cork added. “He is very understanding of school and stuff and tries to make [sure] no one is getting left behind. I think that is one of the best qualities he has.”
Assistant Coach Leslie Krichko joined the team last year. Krichko, a two-time Olympic skier and world cup athlete, brings extensive knowledge about the sport to the team, along with a supportive personality.
“She also brings a lot of knowledge about the athletic process,” Cork said. “Like how to train, how to feel while training, a lot of technical details like stretching, eating and nutrition which is really informative and exciting.”
The team’s positive energy has proven to be effective in past seasons, and it will work to continue to bring this mindset to upcoming practices and competitions. As skiing requires a lot of time and commitment, it can be easy to become discouraged—the way teammates interact affects their mindset.
“It gets us through some of the tough grind, and turns that grind into fun,” Alsobrook said. “It makes training more productive and then you go to races and you are there with a bunch of your best friends and you know you are good and you know you prepared well. Everything follows when you have that positive energy.”
“Our men’s team got told by the race judges in a competition that we had to stop cheering so hard for the women,” Cork said. “Everyone was doing so well; we kept the positive energy flowing and it was an awesome time.”
Alsobrook favors the team’s small size as this makes resources go a longer way and practicing more efficient, while also positively affecting the team’s mentality.
“By limiting our team size it really creates a sense of accountability,” Alsobrook said “The people who are on our team really had to earn their way on it that makes them value it a little bit more. I think there is a value in how people approach the team when they see this as something that they really had to work hard to get on.”
As the team continues to practice for the upcoming season, skiers are looking forward to coming back strong.
“I think that our success will roll over into this season,” Anderson added. “We are continuing to grow and we are very excited to see what this year has in store for us.”