Note: This is the eighth preview in our U.S. elite-team series, which we’ve dubbed the “The 12.” We asked coaches to tell us what’s new and whom to look out for in the coming season and will publish additional previews in the coming weeks in no particular order.
Team: Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) a.k.a “The Dirty Ravens,” according to coach Ben Husaby.
Coach: Ben Husaby (Executive Director and Nordic Director as well as van driver, cook, DJ and pop psychologist).
Support: “J-Beck,” Justin Beckwith (Green Mountain Valley School) for testing, Scott Johnston (Methow Olympic Development) for application, and “J-Nice” (New England Nordic Ski Association) for top-tier resource procurement at major competitions. “Although we have decided that all of this will not be necessary in the future after reading this study, this might be the advantage we have been looking for,” Husaby wrote in an email.
Roster: This guy: What could he be thinking?
Who’s new: No one for winter, but the BEA has “a ton of new and returning ravenettes that have come around for summer training,” Husaby explained. “They have done a fine job of pushing the lead bird.”
Notables include Rogan Brown (University of Vermont), Jordan Buetow (Bates), Bella Smith (Montana State University), Elena Breed (University of Denver), Reitler Hodgert (The College of St. Scholastica), Tony Squallace (Gustavus Adolphus College), and Joel “The Filth” Bransky (St. Olaf College), as well as Ben Grodner (Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy), and Pat Madden is on loan from the Bridger Ski Foundation.
Who’s missing: Lars Ellefson. “He has embarked on a long desired (secret) passion; body building,” Husaby wrote.”(This is not a joke).” Well, sort of. He’s a big-time gym rat and works at the Central Oregon Community College club sports department, Husaby explained. “We have lost him for the time being.”
“For the future, we would like to offer this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Husaby added. “If you choose to hang out with us we will give you one of these as a token of our appreciation.” (See below)
Top results last season: According to Husaby, it’s a tie for Blackhorse-von Jess between “getting the opportunity to compete with ‘our’ awesome Americans on the World Cup. And being given the play by play from Halsey at US Nationals, Classic Sprint Semi, where the commentary went from ‘Dak is down!’ at the start to ‘Dak is in the lead!’ down the finishing stretch. I have a hard time watching sometimes.”
Blackhorse-von Jess, 27, won the freestyle sprint at U.S. nationals in Midway, Utah, following a bronze-medal finish in the classic sprint at Soldier Hollow. After placing 38th in the Quebec World Cup skate sprint in early December, he went on to qualify for the World Cups in Switzerland (Davos), Finland (Lahti), and Norway (Drammen).
Coach’s comment: “I would like to think that we offer a very comprehensive and complete training atmosphere where everyone can reach their personals goals,” Husaby wrote. “We had great success last year with Pat, Bella and Rogan making it to the NCAA championships. In the future we would certainly like to entice skiers to consider Bend and BEA as their place to roost. It certainly is taking shape during the summer months. I buy a lottery ticket every week hoping to hit it big so I can underwrite it all. But in the meantime Dakota and BEA’s great supporters will focus on trying to get him to the highest level.”
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.