Brayton Osgood is a native of Putney, VT and began skiing with the Prospect Mountain Bill Koch Ski League at the age of five. After his dreams of being a major league baseball player died “somewhere during Little League,” Osgood improved steadily as a junior skier under the coaching of Zach Caldwell and Sverre and Amy Caldwell at Stratton Mountain School.
As a J1 in 1999, Osgood was a member of the first Scando Cup Trip and at Dartmouth was a two-time NCAA All American. Since then Osgood has placed 7th four times at US Nationals and has two SuperTour victories. Currently, Osgood is living in Bend, Oregon, and training with XC Oregon with his teammates Marshall Greene and Zach Violett. “I only have one chance as an athlete and don’t want to have any regrets later in life that I didn’t give skiing the best of myself…I want to be at the start line in Vancouver in 2010.”
When he is not skiing, Osgood enjoys reading, watching movies, and baking. Osgood claims to bake the best bread of anyone traveling the ski circuit!
Birthdate: May 25, 1981
Hometown: Putney, VT
Current Residence: Bend, OR
Ski Club: XC Oregon
Best Results: 2x SuperTour Victories, 4x7th US Nationals, 2x NCAA All-American
Sponsors: Fischer-Craft, XC Oregon, Therapeutic Associates, Alpina
When did you start ski racing, and what were some highlights of your young skiing career?
I started racing as a Lollipopper in the Bill Koch Ski League, back around 5 years old. My first big result was being 9th at the NE Koch League Festival (back when you had to qualify for it) as 8 year old racing with the 7-9 year olds (I think we called it Class 5 back then). I had a few more top 5s at the Festival and won some regional races through my years as a Koch Leaguer. I made JOs for the first time as a J2 and went to 5 of them – I was on the winning relay a couple of times and had a bunch of individual top 10s as a J1 and OJ . I was on the first J1 Scando Cup trip in 1999.
Who has been the most influential person for you, whether as a skier or a person?
Zach Caldwell has had by far the most influence of any one person on my ski career. He got me into training when I was 15 and has been an invaluable resource ever since. We keep in pretty regular contact and talk everything from training to race strategies to ski selection, grinding and waxing. I wouldn’t be where I am in the sport without him. At the same time, I’d be remiss not to mention the support I’ve gotten through the years from my parents, Ruff Patterson at Dartmouth, Sverre and Amy Caldwell at SMS, Will Sweetser, John Farra and Jens Johannson at MWSC, and JD Downing at XC Oregon; they’ve all given me a ton of support, without which I wouldn’t be in the sport.
Where is your favorite place to ski, where is your favorite place to race, what is your favorite part of the season, what are your favorite ski conditions?
My favorite place to ski is Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, there’s no contest. When it’s good there (which it usually is) it’s amazing. For racing it’s a bit tougher. I’m pretty happy at Rumford, Oak Hill (Dartmouth) and at Putney School (who doesn’t like racing where they grew up skiing). For just plain skiing enjoyment, firm powder tracks and Super Blue are a tough combination to beat. On race day though I don’t mind if the conditions are a little adverse.
What drives you to succeed at the highest possible level, and what are your long-term goals as a skier?
Sometime in high school I realized I had some talent as a racer. I decided pretty early, maybe sophomore or junior year that I didn’t want to get to my late 20s or early 30s and wonder what might have been if I’d really tried to be a ski racer. I only have one chance as an athlete and don’t want to have any regrets later in life that I didn’t give skiing the best of myself. I’m lucky to be good enough that I’m in a position to see how far I can go in this sport. I want to be at the start line in Vancouver in 2010. Anything beyond that is a bonus.
What are your favorite race formats/distances, and do you try to specialize for these events?
My favorite event right now is the 10-15k skate, but really I’ll take anything between 10 and 30ks and really go for it. I’m not sure I try to specialize for these races, but I’m not doing any training designed around sprints either.
What are your overall goals for this season?
Top 5s at Nationals, a spot at the Whistler World Cups and if it all goes right a spot on the World Champs team.
Do you have any consistent training partners? Do you prefer training alone or with others?
Marshall Greene and Zach Violett are my most consistent training parters, and I train a bit with Lars Flora when he’s in town. I don’t mind training alone at all, but I think that’s largely because I’m only going out the door by myself about half the time. It’s really nice to have those guys on the hard days, we can all push each other.
In terms of employment, are you a 100% full-time athlete, or do you have another job besides training/racing? If so, what do you do?
I work part time as a web developer – more in the off-season than the race season. I also do tax preparation in March and April each year.
How long do you think you will ski at the elite level? What do you see yourself doing after you finish your ski career?
Right now I think I’m done after 2010. If I suddenly make the jump to scoring World Cup points I’ll stick around a little longer.
Do you or did you ever attend college? How did you make that decision?
I went to Dartmouth (’03). There was never a decision about whether or not to attend college, it was just a decision of where to go. I wasn’t fast enough to ski straight out of high school, so I looked for a school with the right combination of skiing and academics. Dartmouth was it.
Do you enjoy racing/competing in other sports during the offseason? Did you play other sports as a kid? What are some of your favorite non-skiing competitions?
I haven’t done one for a couple of years, but bike racing is my favorite competition outside of skiing. I enjoy bike racing, but right now I’m unwilling to devote the necessary training to the bike that I’d need to race at a level that would give me any satisfaction. It’s something to look forward to once I’m done. My dreams of being a major league baseball player died somewhere in Little League, but I managed to play soccer into high school.
What do you do with any spare time at training camps or on race trips?
Read, work, play games, watch movies, play internet. Not necessarily in that order.
What does your diet consist of? Do you have a favorite pre-race dinner and breakfast?
My diet is pretty simple and probably includes too much meat, not enough fruits and veggies and way too much bread, but it seems to work for me. Pasta and meat sauce probably wins for a pre-race dinner. Salad is a nice touch too. But I’m more picky about my pre-race breakfasts than dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast is what I eat if it’s at all possible.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I may make the best bread of anyone traveling the ski circuit.
How do you spend your weeks off?
If I’m tired enough, I actually like to be lazy until I’m bored, that’s usually a good sign that I’m recovering well and ready to start normal life again.
What is the best race or workout you have ever done?
The recent race I’m most proud of is the 15k skate I did at a Norwegian Cup in March 2007.
What race events are in your plan for this season, and which race are you are looking forward to the most?
The SuperTours, Canada Cups and Nationals will take me up through early January. Then I’m planning on being in Whistler again for the World Cups. I’d like to make it back east for the SuperTours there and then hopefully make it to Europe for World Champs or OPA Cups. Distance Nationals might find a place on the calendar too.
Action shot courtesy of Andy Caniff, Swix USA.