Craftsbury/NENSA Elite Training Program and Green Racing Team

FasterSkierMarch 9, 2009


How does one get into this program?
Selection of athletes for this new program will be based on a combination of performance criteria and a written application.  Applicants will be expected to meet at least one of the following performance criteria:
•    Top 20 EISA Ranking for the current year (or last year that skier raced EISA races)
•    Top 10 USSA birth year ranking (on the most recent ranking list)
•    Top 20 NENSA overall Point list (current year)
•    There will be some discretionary allowances made for cases where injury, location, or other challenges exist.
•    All applicants must be NENSA members
The written application will cover past experience and will also ask the applicant to explain why they think this program is a good match for them and what skills or interests they would bring to the green/sustainable aspect of the program.
Applications are due by March 20, 2009.  Acceptances will be announced in the first week of April.

Why is there a written application – why not just take the fastest skiers?

This program aims to offer top-notch coaching, training and race support while also offering participants a meaningful non-skiing experience and meeting the mission of its host, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.  It will be important that participating athletes see the value of this approach and have interests or skills, outside of skiing, that will make them a valuable member of the Craftsbury community effort.  Think of this as a job application – because in a way, that’s what it is.  And part of the “job” will be training effectively and skiing your fastest!

Who is supporting this project?

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center was recently purchased and restructured into a non-profit organization with the following mission:
1) to support and promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports with a special focus on rowing and Nordic skiing;
2) to use and teach sustainable practices; and
3) to protect and manage the surrounding land, lake and trails.
The Green Team project fits well with this mission, and Craftsbury is excited to be adding this to its programs.  Craftsbury will be providing housing, meals (when dining hall is open – about 9 months of the year), coaching, part-time work, access to health insurance, and some race support.

What is NENSA’s Involvement in the Craftsbury Program?

NENSA is generally interested in helping programs like this succeed. The Organization recognizes the importance of having a training network in place for NE’s post grad elite athletes.
NENSA’s relationship with programs such as Craftsbury is one where they will work hard to provide peripheral support.  NENSA does not directly run or fund them.
This support can include helping find stipends for athletes, collaborating with fundraising efforts, helping to organize the joint training camps and providing collaborative race support.  The programs themselves however, are fully self supported and locally run.

Who is the target audience for this program?

The Craftsbury program is designed primarily to fill the gap that exists after collegiate skiing, and serve as a bridge from collegiate racing to national and international level competition. Most skiers won’t reach their peak performance levels until their mid-late 20’s, yet it’s hard to graduate from college and tell your parents that you’re “just going to train” for the next 3-5 years. This program hopes to provide a long-term training situation that also allows an athlete to develop and use other skills, specifically those related to sustainable practices, on a part-time basis. The athlete may not have time to earn a lot of extra money, but with housing and meals provided along with the skiing supports, at least they have a chance to keep their heads above water.

What is the time commitment for this program?

One does not become a faster skier overnight. It’s generally at least a 3-5 year proposition and thus requires a long-term commitment, with periodic review to be sure the goal is reasonable and the progress is good. This program asks for a minimum one-year commitment – and preferably not just a one-year commitment, but this would be evaluated between coach and athlete each year.  The plan is to add several athletes to the program each year.

Is there a pre-requisite in terms of training?

It is expected that applicants will have been training at a serious level on a regular basis. As part of the application process you will be asked to submit your training log for the past several years.  The program coach will also want to talk with your most recent coach(es) to get a sense of your level of training, as well as to prepare for as smooth a transition as possible to the new training program.

Will skiers be paid for the part-time work, or is it an unpaid expectation of the program?

Program participants will be expected to do a certain amount of work for the Center in exchange for their lodging, meals and coaching. This may also give them eligibility for health insurance.  There will be the possibility of working additional hours for take-home pay either at the Center, or at area businesses, as time allows.  Some community service will also be asked, which might take the form of ski clinics for local kids, or presentations to spread the word about sustainability.

What will the work opportunities be?
Work may include any of the following:
–    Various projects related to helping Craftsbury become more sustainable. These could include analysis of current heating/power systems, conversion of vehicles to more renewable fuels, improved management of property, production of local food on property
–    Development of the Green Team itself:  logo design, uniform design and acquisition, press releases, blogging for interested media, travel planning, work with sponsors
–    Projects that support the Craftsbury ski program in general: helping coach juniors, helping run short camps to bring in funds for the program, improving trails to ensure early skiing, etc.
–    Meeting needs of the Outdoor Center: babysitting for children of rowing coaches and guests, caretaking of facilities.
–    Projects tbd

Will there be interaction with other regional training programs?
Yes.  The goal is to have at least several opportunities per year for the different New England programs (MWSC, SMS) to spend training time together. These might be volume weeks, or testing weeks, or trips. There will also be interaction with the Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club’s elite junior and senior programs.

What approach will be taken to ensure as smooth a transition as possible from my current program and coach?
Transitions are always challenging. This program will use all of the following approaches to try to make the transition as smooth as possible for athletes:
–    Communication: Pepa will want to discuss each athlete with her/his previous coach or coaches.  She will also want to maintain communication as needed when questions or problems arise.
–    Physiological testing: Craftsbury will have VO2 testing equipment on site, as well as lactate testing equipment. Pepa also uses other testing methods as well, such as timed runs and strength tests.  All of this data helps her assess each individual athlete’s needs and current state.
–    Individualized approach: The program’s and Pepa’s philosophy is that different athletes have different needs. The exact same training program will most likely not be optimal for all the athletes in the program. Therefore, training schedules will be tailored to each individual skier as is necessary.

What does Craftsbury offer in terms of training facilities and opportunities?
Craftsbury offers an extensive trail network for skiing, as well as trail running, bounding and mtn biking in the summer. There are also many dirt roads which make for great long running. Mountains aren’t far away for more vertical challenges: Jay Peak, Mt. Mansfield and others.  There are quite a few options for rollerskiing as well, all within 10-30 min drive of the Center.  A track in Morrisville is used for timed runs. Craftsbury is currently expanding its weight training room, and will also offer Concept2 SkiErgs for double-poling.  Sculling on the water will be offered as excellent cross-training, along with kayaking, canoeing and swimming.

What is the expected housing arrangement?
Two housing options are being considered, both would be shared with fellow members of the team. These may be either a shared apartment or a shared house, on or close to the main Craftsbury campus. There will be kitchen access in both cases.

Is there any social life in Craftsbury?
Ok, this is probably the most important question!  There are some excellent restaurants in Hardwick and Stowe, a great coffee house with frequent music in Morrisville. Stowe of course offers all the usual après-ski kind of entertainment as well.  The Outdoor Center itself is far from dead in the summer, with a steady stream of sculling campers and coaches of all ages coming through. Craftsbury plans to start some programs for elite rowers as well, so this will add to the potential pool of fun people to hang out with.  For days off, there’s Burlington or Hanover, both about 90 minutes away.

What travel and racing support will be provided?
The appropriate race schedule will be decided between coach and athlete – and it may differ from one skier to another. It will likely include travel for early on-snow training as needed, early Super Tours and Nationals to start the racing season, followed either by more Super Tours and/or Eastern Cups depending on each skier’s level of conditioning and performance, and wrapping up with long distance Nationals for skiers for whom this seems appropriate.  Once each skier’s race schedule is decided, travel support would be provided for the agreed-upon races.  We all know that air travel is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions; yet it is clearly necessary for athletes who are competing on a national/international level. On-site waxing support at events may also be provided by NENSA or others when not by Craftsbury.

To submit an application or for more information:
Please contact Janice Sibilia at up to March 6th.  After March 6th send to

Application for Green Team

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