The SMS T2 team mission statement has two parts: pursue international success in Nordic skiing and help grow the sport in our local communities.
The international racing success part seems pretty simple. Train hard, race fast, and post top results at World Cup, Olympic and World Championship events. Noooo problem. Helping grow the sport at the local level is a little less obvious though and something we maybe don’t talk about as much on our blog but is really the meat behind the success of the entire SMS T2 operation.
During the last two weeks in Stratton, our team had the chance to put some work into the second part of our mission. We also had a sneak peak at the next generation of cross-country skiers!
We started last week with our 3rd Summit Sisters hike of the summer and headed to the top of Bromley Mountain. Summit Sisters brings together women and girls of all ages to explore the peaks and trails around the southern Vermont area. We aim to build and connect the community of active women around Stratton and encourage females of all ages to get outside and adventure. We were thrilled to have a big group for our 3rd hike and perfect weather made for a beautiful summit day.
The alpine slide also offers an extra incentive for those who prefer hiking up and then sliding down the mountain. The highlight of my hike was meeting Robin, one of our newest Summit Sisters who showed me all of the different plants along the trail that could be used to make tea!
The T2 team also helped coach two different SMS training camps last week: the Bill Koch League (BKL) camp and the junior camp. The back-to-back camps are 3-day, exercise intensive, whirlwind adventures that bring together athletes of all abilities for cross-country ski training. The camps give us a chance to connect with up-and-coming skiers, practice a little coaching, and hopefully motivate some of them to pursue ski racing!
Every year I am blown away by the energy the BKL kids bring to camp. Imagine 50 energizer bunnies with the best battery packs on the market. Yes, they occasionally get tired and need to recharge…but this takes all of about 5 minutes and a snack. On roller-skis, they are fearless and they shake of bloodied knees and elbows like Taylor Swift. The junior campers bring equal enthusiasm to the workouts plus they have a few more years of practice and skill development under their belts. They also ask harder questions…like how do I get my hips more forward during a double pole start? What is your favorite part of a ski race? And why does everyone on the T2 team date each other? (just kidding…sort of)
As a team we helped lead roller-ski agility workouts, joined the junior group for ski-walking intervals, and shared stories during a few Q&A sessions with each camp. The SMS camps are one of the coolest opportunities we have as a group to help grow the sport of cross-country skiing and connect with the community that supports us as a team. Years down the road I am not going to remember many of the hours spent in the gym or hammering intervals up the mountain. I may not even remember most of the races. However, I will definitely remember the people and the chances I had to share skiing and racing with others.