Outside the United States for the first time in almost a year, senior Renae Anderson’s experience in Finland has largely been confined to exploring her hotel room. But for a spot on the American Nordic skiing team at the U23 World Championships, sacrificing some sightseeing at the edge of the Arctic circle is more than worth it.
Since the majority of upper-class skiers are dispersed across the world and distanced from Bowdoin’s campus, first-year skiers have filled the void this semester with unexpected leadership roles. “[The first years] have had a lot of ownership and autonomy in planning what the team does,” Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook said.
The Nordic skiing team concluded its season at the NCAA championships in Bozeman, Mont., on March 12. Five Bowdoin athletes—Christian Gostout ’20, Gabby Vandendries ’21, Elliot Ketchel ’21, Renae Anderson ’21 and Peter Moore ’23—qualified for this year’s event, the most skiers in program history.
For years, Nordic skiing options around campus have been slim. Students looking for groomed trails could either drive half an hour to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, where Bowdoin’s varsity team practices, or try their luck at a few groomed snowmobile trails slightly closer to campus.
After a weekend of racing in near subzero temperatures at Lake Placid, N.Y., the Bowdoin Nordic ski team returned home with its third consecutive top-three finish. Led by two podium finishes, from Gabby Vandendries ’21 and the men’s skate relay, the Polar Bears continued this season’s unprecedented success and put themselves in an even better position heading into the final stretch of the short season.
In what is shaping up to be a record-shattering season for the Bowdoin nordic ski team, the Polar Bears raced to a third-place overall finish at the Colby Carnival last Saturday. Coming off of a best-ever second-place finish for the men’s team two weeks ago, this third place aggregate result is the highest ever overall team finish for any Bowdoin ski team in its history—and the team expects that there is more to come.
The Bowdoin men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams raced to historic finishes last weekend at the Harvard Carnival in Craftsbury, Vt. Elliot Ketchel ’21 finished in sixth place in the 20k classic mass start race on Saturday and led the way for the men’s team, which finished second overall amongst collegiate programs, the highest finish for the Bowdoin men in program history.
Growing up in Paris, Maine, Assistant Nordic Ski Coach Leslie Bancroft Krichko never imagined herself representing the United States on the Olympic team once, let alone twice. But the new Bowdoin coach did exactly that, competing on behalf of the United States in 1980 and 1988.
Last weekend, the Nordic Ski team made history. The warmth of the shining sun and cheering crowd of peer supporters led to Bowdoin’s first ever Chummy Broomhall Cup—essentially the Maine state Nordic championship. After placing two men and two women in the top three, including the two first-place spots, the Polar Bears asserted their dominance within the state.
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.
For students who crave participation in a sport but lack the time to commit to varsity athletics, sophomores Lowell Ruck and Mackey O’Keefe started a new club for recreational Nordic skiers. The group received more than 50 sign ups at the student activities fair and is expected to become official by the beginning of October.
Veteran nordic skier Jake Adicoff ’18 was one of eight athletes in the nation named to the men’s U.S. Paralympic Nordic Ski Team. This is the second time Adicoff will compete in the Paralympics, skiing in three visually impaired events once the games begin on March 9 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Bowdoin nordic ski team is in the middle of an exceptional season this year, coming in sixth at the University of Vermont Carnival last weekend on a new course that was recently added to the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association circuit.
Despite a lack of snow, the nordic ski team has been practicing six days a week since the beginning of October, supplementing their running and strength training with roller skiing. According to Sam Shaheen ’18, roller skiing replicates actual skiing fairly well.