STRATTON, Vt. — FasterSkier ventured to Vermont this week when we got word that the entire Stratton Mountain School T2 Team had arrived for their first week of training together this summer. Half of the eight-person roster had to fulfill U.S. Ski Team (USST) obligations out West before making their way to New England.
Stratton’s elite team debuted last year with six skiers (Andy Newell, Skyler Davis, Eric Packer, Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, and Erika Flowers) and has grown by two in its second season.
USST veteran Simi Hamilton, 26, is back in the state where he spent his college years at Middlebury. Born in Aspen, Colo., Hamilton was previously affiliated with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in Idaho.
Originally from Spokane, Wash., Annie Pokorny, 20, excelled during her first two seasons at Middlebury, but elected to leave school early to pursue skiing full time. Ben Saxton of Lakeville, Minn., and Mollie Hoopes, of Hanover, N.H., are spending a post-graduate year with the group.
Head coach Gus Kaeding had a rollerski time trial planned for Tuesday morning, but had to adjust with rain showers in the forecast. Instead, the athletes grabbed their shorter bounding poles and jogged to the nordic trails at the Sun Bowl ski resort for continuous Level-3 bounding intervals.
They did three to four laps of a 12- to 15-minute loop (with two minutes recovery after each lap), running the flats and downhills and bounding the climbs while maintaining an elevated-but-sustainable heart rate.
The goal, Kaeding explained, was to not become exhausted by one particular hill or section of trail, but by the accumulated “on time.” Hamilton and Davis added to the challenge by combining their second and third of four intervals. In mid-afternoon, the team met in the SMS weight room for a strength session.