Vermont already has one elite racing team in the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, but Ryan Kerrigan still thinks there’s room for another.
Kerrigan is the captain of a new squad based in Stowe and organized under the aegis of the Von Trapp Family Lodge, the resort just outside of town. Dubbed VTXC both in honor of the state and the Von Trapps, Kerrigan and his crew are targeting races on the New England circuit, as well as a few higher-profile events.
Kerrigan, a former University of Vermont (UVM) skier who works at the lodge, said that VTXC is designed to provide support for athletes that aren’t ready or willing to commit their whole lives to the sport.
“There’s a lot of post-college skiers pursuing other careers during the work week…skiers who can’t commit to a full-time program,” Kerrigan said in an interview.
As an example, Kerrigan cited former UVM skier and NCAA champion Juergen Uhl, who is now working on a graduate degree. The rest of the team consists of a mixture of seasoned veterans and young talent, including Eli Enman, former UVM standout Kate Crawford, and former Middlebury skier Robyn Anderson.
Uhl, who raced with Craftsbury last year, said that he appreciated the opportunity to receive support while still sticking to his own schedule.
“Craftsbury is a pro team,” he said. “VTXC is more a team that tries to accommodate people who want to race at a high level…but they have their own lives.”
VTXC will support Uhl’s travel to early-season races in West Yellowstone, and to this year’s World University Games in Turkey, if he qualifies. The rest of the team will stick to racing Eastern Cups and marathons—including, potentially, a trip to the Gatineau Loppet in Ottawa.
Racing isn’t VTXC’s only focus, though: Kerrigan said that the team’s skiers will work with local youth and masters programs at least one day a week.
“That’s kind of how a lot of our athletes are going to be able to give back,” he said. “I think it will be a great way to plug in some of the stronger skiers to our community.”
While Kerrigan was still searching for a title sponsor as of a few weeks ago, the team has already found a handful of supporters. The Trapp Family Lodge fronted the money for uniforms, and it will also host three races to benefit the team this winter. The New England Nordic Ski Association will help with waxing, and Swix and Ibex are on board, as well.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.