In its continuing effort to aid the development of American cross country ski racers, the National Cross-Country Ski Education Foundation (NCCSEF) will help send a contingent of U.S. athletes to Finnish Lapland in November. Comprised of nine athletes from the NCCSEF subsidized trip, a Craftsbury Green Racing Program contingent and U.S. Ski Team athletes, over 20 Americans will test their fitness and speed against some of the strongest athletes from Finland, Estonia, northern Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Japan during the International Ski Federation’s (FIS’s) nordic opener.
NCCSEF will help fund nine athletes and coaches, headed by Maine Winter Sports Center coach Will Sweetser. This trip will feature five FIS race starts in Muonio (November 12-14) and Rovaniemi, Finland (November 20-21), as well as ample on-snow training. A group of nine athletes from across the country has signed up for this three-week trip. According to Sweetser, “we have an excellent mix of seasoned veterans and younger racers making their first early season race trip,” Sweetser said. “For many, this will be a chance to improve their FIS profile, while others will clearly be shooting at capturing World Cup starts.”
Both experienced and younger, developing athletes are slated to make this swing across the pond. Racers on the trip will be: Torin Koos, Methow ODP; Leif Zimmerman, BSF; Glenn Randall, BSF; Sam Tarling, Dartmouth/MWSC; Mike Lessard, MWSC; Nick Michaud, MWSC; Fred Bailey, MWSC; Adele Espy, CU/Maine Coast Nordic; and Audrey Weber, GO! Training. Thanks to $5,000 in funding from NCCSEF, coaching, waxing expenses and all travel within northern Finland will be covered. Additional discounts to athlete costs for those athletes ranked within the top 40 on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s National Ranking List will be made possible thanks to the partnership of NCCSEF and MWSC.
The trip will coincide with the U.S. Ski Team’s pre-World Cup visit to Muonio. Additionally, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project plans to attend the races in both Muonio and Rovaniemi. According to Muonio Chief of Competition Heikki Kivinen, the U.S. contingent of more than 20 athletes will be by far the largest group of North American racers ever in attendance at the Lapland venue.
Source: National Cross-Country Ski Education Foundation