Thanks to the Cross Country Ski Areas Association Convention taking place last week, our area was visited by the three most celebrated Nordic skiers in the United States in the last 30 years: U.S. Ski Team members Kris Freeman, Kikkan Randall, and Andrew Newell. Through the sponsorship of Fischer Skis and Swix Sport, the 3 U.S. Ski Teamers conducted a couple of clinics for both old and young at Northstar-at-Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.
Almost forty local Masters and over 50 local Juniors were treated to their infectious blend of technical expertise, unbelievable athletic skills, and enthusiasm for the sport of cross country skiing. After a morning spent with the convention-goers from the Cross Country Ski Areas convention, Randall, Newell, and Freeman re-grouped to ski the trails at Northstar with our local skiers.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the experience was noticing that there were no less than 4 former Olympians in the group taking the adult clinic, along with the former head of the Professional Ski Instructors of America Demonstration Team. U.S. Olympic Athlete Glenn Jobe stated, “What a great day and experience for everyone who had the opportunity to participate.” Local Master racer June Lane added, “Such an honor to ski today with the Olympians, they are truly ambassadors of the sport, and we all feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity.”
Following the Masters group clinics, the energy level went up exponentially, as the Junior contingent, mostly middle school and high school age of all abilities, showed up to “ski with the Olympians.” Afterward, a very short but thrilling relay race was held behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the slopes at Northstar, pitting 3 teams of teens and adults, each with their own U.S. Ski Team member. The day finished off with a poster-signing for the kids, with the Olympians graciously handling the long line of young athletes eager to get the signature of their ski heroes. The day ended as Savannah Blide, an 8th grader at Alder Creek Middle School, remarked, “That was awesome, perhaps the coolest thing ever. Those posters are going on my wall of awesomeness!”
A full gallery of photos and some video can be found at: