$5K Participation Challenge | Chris Grover on Development | Noah Hoffman: What U23s Mean

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Supporting Tomorrow’s Nordic Stars Today

Cross Country Challenge Match
$5000 Match Announced to Drive the D25 Forward

We’re making progress, both as a #skiingnation and in the D25 and we have big goals.

Currently, we’ve raised $130,000. This year’s Drive for 25 aims to raise $150,000. To do that, we need more bodies raising money.

As this email posts, we are currently being supported by 95 ambassadors. We’d like to push the numbers up still further. The Drive for 25 receives an extra $5000 from a generous supporter when we sign up 15 more ambassadors.

It’s simple. Add 15 people to the outreach ambassadors and we claim another $5K.

Drive for 25: Cross Country

Chris Grover: The Nonlinear Path of Development

In 2013 would anyone have guessed that Sophie Caldwell would finish in 6th place at the Sochi Olympics, securing the best U.S. women’s Olympic finish in history? Would we have guessed at that time that she would be on a World Cup podium in Lahti? Going into the Olympic season, she had one World Cup finish in the top-20. What about Jessie Diggins? She had a top-20 individual World Cup finish in the second World Cup that she ever raced, and was on thepodium with Kikkan in Team Sprint the following day! When Kris Freeman narrowly missed a medal at the World Championships in 2003, finishing 4th in the 15 km classic, very few people outside of the United States had ever heardof him. When Simi Hamilton won in Lenzerheide last season, the announcers struggled to pronounce his name. (I’m guessing they’ll get it right this season.)

Sophie Caldwell in Sochi.
Sophie Caldwell in Sochi.

My point is that athlete development and performance are not linear. There are often incredible performance jumps in the career of a cross country ski racer. There are several keys to unlocking these performance jumps. The first is hard work: volume, intensity, recovery, technique, day after day and year after year. The second is opportunity; getting to the right races at the right time. This is where the NNF comes in.

In the 2010-11 season, the U.S. Ski Team made the decision to start racing the complete World Cup calendar. We decided that if we were going to be successful at the Olympics and the World Championships, we needed to learn to be successful at World Cup every weekend. We needed to really learn how to race, and we needed to learn how to win. Since then, we’ve made a greater foray into the European development race series as well (Europa Cup, Scandinavian Cup, U23 World Championships, etc). After all, young athletes can’t learn to race on World Cup; they need a race experience that is appropriate for their age and ability. We are currently reaping the benefits of this push into Europe. The USA was the 15th ranked nation in the world in cross-country skiing in 2010. In 2014 we were the 6th best nation.

It costs a lot of money to spend the winter in Europe. It costs a lot of money to get the right athletes to the right starting lines weekend after weekend, day a fter day and year after year. The second is opportunity; getting to the right races at the right time.

Through the NNF, the cross country ski community is getting those athletes to the right races. Your efforts, and those of your friends, family, and community members are helping to put U.S. Cross country ski racing back on the map. But we really haven’t scratched the surface on the potential that we have here. How many folks have been involved in D25? Several thousand? There were over 3 million people that cross country skied in the US last year.

There are many more that are related somehow to someone who cross country skis. We need to reach out to these folks and get them involved. That’s where you come in. Please take a few moments to reach out to family and friends and let them know what you are up to and how the NNF supports your efforts, as well as those of your team, your teammates, your club, and your community. You’ll be surprised at just how many people are excited to donate and how generous they are when it comes to a meaningful project like the D25.

Drive for 25: Cross Country
Drive for 25: Nordic Combined

What the U23 Championships Mean for Development
Noah Hoffman: Breaking Through in Turkey

Noah Hoffman en route to a podium finish in the 2012 U23 Championships.
Noah Hoffman en route to a podium finish in the 2012 U23 Championships.

We’ve been focused on the U23 Championships this week, a pillar project of the NNF and a crucial step for development. Noah Hoffman talks about his best effort at the U23s, a second place result that prompts confidence in his skiing to this day:

The Under-23 World Championships (U23s) were critical to my development as a skier. Success is an incredible motivator, and I was not good enough to be successful in the international senior ranks when I was 20, 21 and 22 years old. During my final year as an under-23 racer I was competing on the world cup. I was frustrated and discouraged by consistent finishes in the 30s and 40s. It felt like a long ways to the top of the sport; being the best in the world felt unachievable. Then in late February I left the World Cup and went to U23s in Turkey. I didn’t feel any pressure because the stage felt smaller than the World Cup. I focused on executing my race plan, and I earned two results that surprised even myself and my coaches. All of the sudden I felt fast; I earned a ton of confidence that I took back to the World Cup. My results from U23s still motivate me and give me confidence two years later.

Join the Drive for 25 here.

Nordic Combined Challenge Match
20K Still Gets 20K

The US Nordic Combined Team in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. (Dave Jarrett photo)
The US Nordic Combined Team in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. (Dave Jarrett photo)

I can’t stress enough how important NNF support has been to my career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. As I’ve progressed from a developing junior to a member of the US National B-team, the NNF has helped fund vital training and competition opportunities. This community-based support keeps our pipeline alive, and will continue to benefit the next generations of athletes. We really need your help to reach our $20,000 matching grant. If you donate now, you’re dollars will be doubled. We’re a community driven sport, which means that every individual’s support goes a long ways, and we couldn’t do it without you. The funding from this drive will go to support athletes for the next year at World Junior Championships, Continental Cups, and development camps in the US and Europe. – Adam Loomis, read his blog here.

Join the Drive for 25 here.

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