The following recap was written by Justin Beckwith, competitive program director for the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) and a coach at this year’s Eastern Regional Elite Group (REG) camp, which took place in late June in Waitsfield, Vt. FasterSkier encourages coaches and athletes from any regional offseason camps (dryland or on-snow, in the U.S., Canada or abroad) to submit their own recaps and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Western REG camp also took place last month in Utah.
During the last week in June, the Eastern Regional Camp was held at the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in Waitsfield, Vt. Thirty-four athletes came together for a week of training and testing as a part of the U.S. development programming. Twenty-three Junior National skiers, ages under-18 (U18) to U20, from throughout New England and New York were joined by 12 U16 skiers who participated in a separate but parallel camp.
U.S. Ski Team Development Coach Bryan Fish was joined by Colin Rodgers and Katrina Howe from GMVS, Rob Bradlee (CSU), Nathan Alsobrook (Bowdoin), Jake Barton (Craftsbury), Kathy Maddock (Dublin/CSU) and Justin Beckwith from NENSA. The staff was bolstered throughout the week by several club and collegiate coaches who joined for individual sessions. One of the highlights of camp was Olympic Day, where Olympians Dorcas Wonsavage (’88,’92,’94), Pat Weaver (’98,’02) and Noah Hoffman (’14) visited the group during a skate session in Jericho to help lead technique stations and imparted inspirational words to end the day.
This year’s agility test was spiced up with two curved step-up ramps and a Slip ‘N Slide, complete with tiki torches to mark the finish line. Skiers got a taste of continuous pursuit formats by removing their skis and poles in a transition box before running and diving over the refreshing finish line. Ben Ogden and Mae Chalmers, both from Stratton, took top honors with the two fastest combined times.
The second test for camp was the uphill run, which was staged again at Mad River Glen. The course was adapted from previous years to use slightly faster uphill terrain. Several athletes were heard saying it was the hardest effort they had done so far this year – going all out for just over ten minutes up the main work road on the mountain. Ben Ogden again took the win on the men’s side and was joined by Rena Schwartz (GMVS), who took a decisive victory in the women’s race by over a minute.
The final test pitted the athletes against the Plunkton Road 800-meter double pole test. Overall times were quite impressive this year and it is clear that clubs are pushing hard to improve this component of their training. Again Ben Ogden and Rena Schwartz topped their respective fields with convincing wins and Ogden tied the second fastest historical time for over ten years of results on this course.
Athletes and coaches alike will remember an awesome week of training with rather cool and perfect temperatures in the Mad River Valley. The Green Mountain Valley School hosted an excellent camp with tasty food and well organized logistics. NENSA would like to thank all of those who made this camp such a great success!