Note: This is the fifth preview in our series on U.S. elite teams, which we’ve dubbed the “The 12.” We asked coaches to tell us what’s new and whom to look out for in the coming season and will publish additional previews in the coming weeks in no particular order.
Team: Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) Nordic Elite Team
Coaches: Dragan Danevski (program director/head coach), Andrew Morehouse (competitive team/elite/post-grad coach, service tech), Tim Baucom (competitive team/junior coach, service tech)
Elite roster: Torin Koos, Tyler Reinking;
Jennie Bender, Anya Caldwell Bean, Corrine Malcolm
Post-grads: Sawyer Kesselheim (Montana State University), Patrick Madden (MSU), Will Meyer (University of New Hampshire), Akeo Maifeld-Carucci (Harvard), Ketchum Wilt (formerly of Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation);
Natalie Flowers (Dartmouth), Lizzie Gill (UNH), Katie Gill (University of Denver), and Cambria McDermott (MSU junior, red-shirting to pursuit some non-NCAA skiing goals)
Who’s new: Reinking (MSU Master’s student), Bender (formerly of Central Cross Country, a.k.a. CXC), Bean (2013 UNH graduate), Malcolm (former US Biathlon member)
Who’s missing: Leif Zimmermann (retired)
Top results last season: Seasoned veteran Torin Koos, who turns 33 on Friday, pulled out impressive performances in January at Soldier Hollow, winning two national titles in the freestyle sprint and 30-kilometer classic mass start in Midway, Utah. A couple weeks later, the U.S. Ski Team did not name the former Olympian to its World Championships squad, stirring up some controversy, but you can expect Koos, who’s nearly finished with his Master’s in communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, to be back this season – hungry for his fourth Olympics.
Later last season, Koos won the Tour de Twin Cities (five stages of SuperTour races) and led the overall SuperTour standings for World Cup Period 3. He traveled to Whistler, British Columbia, in late March and won the 50 k freestyle mass start before coming down sick at SuperTour Finals in California.
Newcomers to the BSF elite team, Bender won the classic sprint at SoHo for her first national title and Bean achieved All-American status at NCAA Championships in Ripton, Vt., where she was sixth in the 15 k freestyle mass start.
At age 19, Kesselheim cracked the top 30 at the Junior World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, placing 29th in the 10 k skate.
Coach’s comment: In an email, Morehouse explained that most of the elite team has been at their base in Bozeman, Mont., since May. “With the combination of a good group of college skiers, energy has been high and there has been a great atmosphere for training,” he wrote.
BSF opted out of its annual training camp in Bend, Ore., because of a lack of snow, but is off to Canmore, Alberta, on July 25 for about two weeks of dryland training. In September, the team plans to head back up to Alberta, about a nine-hour drive, for an on-snow camp on the Haig glacier.
According to Baucom, the team is excited to expand its elite and post-graduate programs (from the three elite-team members last year, all of which were men). The post-grad team has yet to be finalized, but a large group of college skiers have been training with BSF this summer.
“With the opportunities that Bozeman has to offer, I think the potential for growth is huge,” Baucom wrote. “We have a great community of skiing enthusiasts here who are excited to support these athletes. … With Montana State University in town, BSF also gives athletes the opportunity to develop as postgraduate skiers and gain in-state status before pursuing a college ski career.”
In terms of goals, Baucom expects his athletes to commit to long-term individual objectives and BSF aims to create a positive atmosphere to make those possible.
“Individual goals range from medaling at international championships, to qualifying for junior and U23 worlds,” he added.