Archive | Nordic RSS feed for this section

Alia Reports from the Vineyard

Hello everyone! Here’s to the last full week of July… Yikes!

After a few trips to Burlington, mornings at the bakery with friends, peak bagging adventures in the Adirondacks, and hours helping build the wood-fired pizza oven in the organic garden, I found myself with just enough time to get ready before driving south to the locale I find myself in now.

[caption id="attachment_4241" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_5462 View from a bike ride to Aquinnah[/caption]

I’m spending 12 weeks of the summer on Martha’s Vineyard as a conservation intern with The Nature Conservancy, working hard to “save the last great places on earth,” while also immersing myself in the sea-level training life. When I’m not training and working full days “Protecting nature and preserving life,” it has been great fun to explore the island on foot and by bike, both alone and with my housemates. Between art fests, farmers’ markets, thrifting, arboretum walks, live music, yoga on boardwalks, scenic beaches, and vistas of the vast, blue ocean, there has been so much to enjoy here.

[caption id="attachment_4242" align="alignnone" width="225"]IMG_5515.JPG Respect the preserve boundary![/caption]

I’ll be in Vermont for the last few weeks of summer, biking, gardening, throwing the frisbee for my dog, and knocking off some more of the High peaks that I’ve yet to climb.

Looking forward to seeing you all, minus Jack and Nick, in September!


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Dylan and Eliot Hit the Books!


You heard it right, the boys are definitely back in town.  We have been soakin’ in the Vermont rays as we quest to save the world at the inaugural Middlebury School of the Environment.  Yes we are in summer school; no we are not academic delinquents.

[caption id="attachment_4223" align="alignnone" width="300"]photo 1 Dylan’s studious look![/caption]

After an eventful senior week, the country boys briefly kicked it in the Big Apple before returning home for some summer time shenanigans.  Eliot embarked upon a weeklong sailing journey off the coast of California with his father and grandparents.  He spent the rest of June swimming laps at the Teton County Rec Center.  His fine Phelps-like form really made an impression on the local water aerobics class.

[caption id="attachment_4225" align="alignnone" width="300"]photo 3 Eliot at sea![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4224" align="alignnone" width="225"]photo 5 Eliot in the sea![/caption]

Dylan, on the other hand, set sail to Wisconsin.  He spent some good quality time with his family, watching baseball, golfing, playing croquet and tennis.

The Bros reunited at Pizza Putt and thus commenced Summer 2014.  Here at school we have been deep in intensive classes and have learned a lot about the Champlain Valley.  We have taken many field trips to local museums, and we have only now begun to appreciate the vast history in the surrounding area.  We took time to reflect upon these events during the day of our nation’s independence.  We are excited for this final month at school and what the rest of the summer has in store for us.  #blessed #ThankYouUncleSamForBelievingInUs













Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Summer Updates – Heather Checks in from California

Happy summer everyone! Here begins weekly blog updates from our team around the country (and world) this summer. Check back often!

I started my summer with a great couple weeks of family time at home in Vermont, highlighted by my sister’s high school graduation and a June “ski” on Stratton! Now suddenly it’s almost July and I’ve been here in Truckee for three weeks. There’s a big eastern college crew out here training for the summer, highlighted by a strong showing from Middlebury- Patrick, Nick, Kelsey and myself! It’s a super fun, enthusiastic and motivated group of skiers; already it’s been a great summer of training, and we’re only just beginning!

[caption id="attachment_4212" align="alignnone" width="300"]juneski[1] June skiing. East Coast style![/caption]The Truckee Dream Life as I call it, has been treating me well. I’ve always heard people say, “find a job you’d do for free, and then get paid for it”, but it always sounded too good to be true. I’ve now found myself three of those. I’m working for the Truckee Donner Land Trust, as a trail monitor on the Royal Gorge trails. I get to go for runs and smile and talk to people. On the side of that, I’m doing some work for a woman in town who’s trying to organize a media hub (the Truckee Green Network) for all the environmentally related organizations in town, working on my social media and public outreach skills. And best of all, I’m getting to do some coaching with the Tahoe XC devo team. My proud moment of today’s practice was building an agility course that included hopscotch on roller skis (and getting to ski it, of course).

[caption id="attachment_4210" align="alignnone" width="300"]onthejobatroyalgorge[1] “Working”![/caption] 

[caption id="attachment_4211" align="alignnone" width="200"]You have to pay the bills somehow... You have to pay the bills somehow…[/caption]

I’ve decided that time moves slower in the west. I “should” be really busy with all the things I’ve gotten myself into, on top of training big weeks but somehow I’ve had plenty of time to nap almost every day and spend lots of time on Donner Lake reading on the docks in the sun! Some training highlights so far are the Drifter uphill running TT we did last week- which although it was at altitude it was gradual enough to run the whole thing! We’ve had some fun skate intervals, and lots of laps on the bike path around the lake, a moonrise hike up Squaw and lots of “toning” strength in the park.

[caption id="attachment_4209" align="alignnone" width="200"] Kelsey getting after it![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4208" align="alignnone" width="200"] Heather also getting after it…[/caption]

I thought life couldn’t get any better until I woke up this morning to the news that Rikert is hosting the first Eastern Cup next winter! Yahoo!


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Getting to Work!

This past weekend the Nordic team took on some volunteer work with the Charter House Coalition here in Middlebury. We helped prepare a site for a new playground, which involved shoveling a bunch of dirt and removing roots and stones in order to lay down some softer material to keep the kids safe when they play. The work wasn’t glamorous but the team brought great energy to the project and we got a lot done!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] The site![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_4185" align="alignnone" width="225"]Eliot excavating his corner! Eliot excavating his corner![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_4184" align="alignnone" width="225"]Stella on her corner...shoveling wet, muddy, and root-strewn soil is a pretty good workout! Stella on her corner…shoveling wet, muddy, and root-strewn soil is a pretty good workout![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4182" align="alignnone" width="225"]P1000445 All the dirt was wheelbarrowed into a single large pile, which will be used as a small sledding hill for young kids, adjacent to the playground.[/caption]

The year is officially wrapping up here at Middlebury. The team is in the midst of final exams (some are already done and headed home) and our seniors are just 10 days from graduation! The team will scatter to all kinds of places and activities for the summer, and we’ll eagerly await the updates on their adventures on the blog over the next three months.

Congratulations and thanks are in order to everyone who helped make this year a successful one, and in particular our seniors – we wish them well in their new pursuits. We’ll miss them next fall when we reconvene, but we’re also excited to welcome the new members of the team! In the meantime, happy summer!

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

More NCAA’s






NCAA week rolls on here in Utah. Stella and Heather did a skate workout with a few intervals this morning, Ben took some good pics and did some homework, and the coaches tested wax!

This evening we made our way up to Park City for the NCAA banquet, after which we convened fireside for some formal team pictures with a waterfowl theme.



Racing action starts tomorrow with the GS races in Park City, and continues on Thursday with the 5/10K classic races at Soldier Hollow. Follow all the action via live webcast at the links below. GO MIDD!!


Wednesday, March 5 Men’s/Women’s GS


Thursday, March 6 Men’s/Women’s Classic


Friday, March 7 Men’s/Women’s Slalom


Saturday, March 8 Men’s/Women’s Skate

Read full story · Comments { 0 }


On Friday our NCAA team traveled to Utah for some training and prep ahead of next week’s NCAA Championships. The nordic portion of the Championships is at Soldier Hollow, which was the 2002 Olympic venue for nordic skiing, nordic combined, and biathlon. We also raced US National Championships here in January, so we have a good feel for the venue and courses. We’ll race a 5/10K classic on Thursday the 6th, and a 15/20K skate on Saturday, the 9th.

This year we qualified Heather Mooney, Stella Holt, and Ben Lustgarten. Kelsey Phinney and Austin Cobb ended the “regular season” just outside of qualifying – a couple strokes of luck in a different direction and they’d be with us, but sometimes that’s the way the ball rolls!


There’s not a lot of snow at “SoHo”… The race trail has good coverage but the rest of the area is pretty brown! Skiing has been excellent, though.


It’s a sticky situation in the wax room…


Heather and I did a little intensity workout today. After the cold of Vermont the last several weeks, the 50 degrees and sun of Utah is going to take a little getting used to. Heather skied great and we had a lot of fun skiing fast around the race loop!



Ben hurt his knee last week during Midd Carnival. We were optimistic that he’d be ready to race this week, but ultimately the injury is a little too serious for that to happen. We all feel for Ben and know that no one wants to be a part of the action more than he does – he’s had his eye on these races for a very, very long time. Though it may not be too easy for him to see now, Ben will move on to race in many bigger and more important races – and on bigger and more impressive stages – and we look forward to cheering him on in the future. In a year fraught with injuries and obstacles, Ben put together some great races including a 6th at US Nationals and a big win at Midd Carnival. More importantly, the guy known as “dad” by his teammates did all of this (and continues to do so) with remarkable passion and aplomb. Though we wish he was racing, we’re happy to have Ben with us this week. He’s taking some good pics, doing a lot of pushups, and being the same great teammate he’s been for 4 years.



Stay tuned for more updates – and good luck tomorrow to our junior skiers Patrick McElravey, Adam Luban, and Kelsey Phinney at Junior Nationals in Stowe! I have a feeling it’s gonna be a good day to be a Panther!




Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Middlebury Carnival

Now that the dust has settled, it’s remarkable to look back on what an outstanding event the Middlebury Carnival was. Though we had some interesting weather for the classic race on Friday, the Rikert crew and our race volunteers did a great job in putting on a world class event.

We have 3 seniors on the team, and each left their mark in an indelible way on their final weekend of EISA racing.


Ben Lustgarten crushed the field in the 10K classic on Friday, winning with a 50 second gap on a stacked field. His result was impressive for too many reasons to list here, and is a testament to a season (and college career) characterized by a tenacity and resolve that is truly special.


Ben of course celebrated in appropriate fashion after receiving his syrupy reward!

Austin Cobb, a senior and second year captain, suffered a rough bout of food poisoning a few days prior to the Carnival. As of Thursday he’d managed to knock down some saltines and proclaimed himself good to go! He may not have had the best races of his life but I’d wager that he raced the hardest and toughest of anyone out there. Austin takes some serious pride in this event and let it show, scoring for the team in both races.


Congrats and thanks, Austin, on all you’ve done to help lead this team!

Emily Attwood is the lone senior on the women’s side. She brought her A-game to her final carnival and had the best classic result of her career on Friday with a 17th!



“Squirrel” enjoyed a celebratory dance with Patty on Friday evening…



Thanks, Squirrel, for working hard, keeping the mood light, and being an exemplary teammate!

We had lots of other good races this weekend and the team’s attitude, perspective, and approach – whether they were racing, helping with the races, cheering, or consoling – was the best of the year and made for a fitting end to the Carnival season.


First-year Adam Luban scored his best result of the season with a 17th in the 20K skate race.



Dylan McGarthwaite had his best weekend of the season – both on the results sheet and in the hair department – and the guys skied a great team race on Saturday.





Kelsey and Stella battled hard on Saturday and raced to 14th and 17th, respectively!










Many thanks to the Rikert staff, the Middlebury athletics department, Stever, Patty, Abby, and many, many volunteers for making this a great event. Onward we go! NCAA’s, Junior Nationals, Spring Series…there’s lots of winter left and this group is just getting warmed up!


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Carnival Update

Here we are, four weeks down, two to go, and yet this is only the second post about carnivals this season. It’s incredible how quickly the season is going by; I’ve been meaning to update the blog since UNH carnival, yet here I am, two short weeks later, finally doing it. So, apologies to the readers.

Anyway, the season has continued to be an exciting one for your Middlebury Panthers. The skiable trails at Rikert have slowly expanded to include pretty much every one at this point and the snow gods have blessed us with some white fluffy stuff on campus.

As for racing, UNH carnival in Jackson, NH provided many exciting features. For one, we were staying right across from the race venue at a hotel that also provided fabulous breakfasts and dinners. I remember seeing Jack’s face at the breakfast buffet in the morning; he was practically in a panic because there were so many delicious looking options. The race course was also a highlight as it featured a trail called The Wave, which had numerous humps, bumps, and turns. A tremendous race highlight on one of those very turns can be seen here if you have facebook.

[caption id="attachment_4053" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Squirrel (Emily Attwood) has been on fire this year. Squirrel (Emily Attwood) has been on fire this year.[/caption]

On both days, the ladies decided to stick together, as Kelsey, Heather, and Stella went 7, 8, 9 in the classic 5k on friday and then the three of them along with Kaitlin skied the majority of the 15k mass start together, finishing in spots 9 through 12. It was pretty sweet to watch those four ladies rip around the course in a Panther pack, and I heard it was even sweeter to be a part of it.

The guys had a nice weekend too, with Adam performing strongly in his first carnival starts ever and Dmac having his first carnival races of 2014.

[caption id="attachment_4051" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Adam pushing it with Kelsey cheering him on. Adam gunning it with Kelsey cheering.[/caption]

UVM Carnival brought about many monumental moments for the team. In the classic sprint on Saturday, the women WON the day (!!!!) with Stella achieving a personal best 3rd place (!!!), with Heather right behind in 4th, and Kelsey in 10th. They dominated the difficult course, skiing strongly throughout and then laying down the hammer on the final hill into the finish. That hill was pretty brutal too, as it went from essentially the low-point of the course to the high-point in the last 0.3k. Also, big ups to Heather who raced the heats like a boss to end the day as the top collegiate skier and to Stella who, along with a 4th place on Sunday, earned EISA skier of the week!

On that same Saturday, the guys had some highlights of their own. I had my first carnival top 10 in 10th, Patrick had his first top 20 in 18th, Jack had his first top 30 in 25th, and Nick had his first top 40 in 35th. Clearly, we showed our prowess in the speed category as so many successes were had on the one sprint day during the carnival season.

[caption id="attachment_4049" align="aligncenter" width="198"]Stella on the podium! Stella on the podium![/caption]

All in all, it was an exciting day for the team, though the tragic passing of a great friend and member of the ski community, Torin Tucker, put it all in perspective. He took his last breath doing the very thing we all love so much, ski racing. It really reminded us all how blessed we all are to be able to go skiing every day, appreciating the camaraderie, the wilderness, and the simple yet wonderful feeling of gliding on our skis. Our hearts still ache for him, and our thoughts have continued to go out to the Dartmouth team as well as his family and friends.

Last weekend, we raced Dartmouth carnival in Craftsbury, VT, the very place Torin was racing when he passed on. Thanks to Annie Hart, Erik Fagerstrom, and many others a very powerful ski took place on Thursday afternoon. Almost the entire EISA circuit skied out to the spot where Torin died to pay our respects. A beautiful cairn was awaiting us as some memories of Torin’s last race were shared. Then many took the opportunity to finish Torin’s final 8k for him on a truly beautiful evening. The course wound through untouched, open fields of fresh snow and some tighter, tranquil sections of forest. The sun was setting on a slightly cloudy evening, filling the sky with fabulous orange and purple colors. The ceremonial ski was amazing; I have never felt so close to so many people while skiing.

[caption id="attachment_4052" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Alia in her strong race at Craftsbury. Alia in her strong race at Craftsbury.[/caption]

On Sunday after the races, in which the team put out solid efforts but fell short in the results, we went on another incredible ski with the UVM team. It was a point-to-point that again wound through open fields and forest. The trail consisted of a lot of downhills too, meaning many fun turns and jumps were made by all. The two hour ski was another highlight to cap off a wonderful weekend in Craftsbury.

So, there is a nice little catch up, highlighting some of the standout moments for our team. Sorry for the delay. Oh also, thanks A TON to all the parents. We have had incredible lunches every race that are both delicious and nutritious. Without them, we truly would be lost. Anyway, check back after the weekend to hear about Williams Carnival! (Thanks to Stella for the pictures!)

[caption id="attachment_4050" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Lusty had some boss feeds during the classic 20k. Lusty had some boss feeds during the classic 20k.[/caption]


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Save The Date: February 22nd. Winter Carnival Reception

Middlebury Ski Team Alumni and Friends of Skiing Winter Carnival Reception

You are cordially invited to join current Middlebury Ski Team members, as well as the coaching staff, in celebrationof the Middlebury Winter Carnival


WHEN:    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014


                6:00 p.m.


WHERE:  Two Brothers Tavern (lounge downstairs)


                Middlebury, Vermont

 The reception will include light food and beverages.

We hope to see you there.




Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Go Ben!

Back in early January Ben Lustgarten qualified for the U23 World Championships with some strong racing at US Nationals in Utah. Today, Ben raced the 15K Classic at the U23′s in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Ben finished 30th – a great race that we’re very proud of!


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] It was snowing throughout the race and looked to be a tough day for classic waxing and skiing.[/caption]



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] Underway![/caption]


Ben’s been in Italy since early last week training with the rest of the U23 and Junior World Team in preparation for these races. While we have missed him and eagerly await his return, it’s been fun to watch all of his hard work be rewarded.


[caption id="attachment_4009" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.04 AM Nearing the finish…[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_4010" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.14 AM Finishing…[/caption]


Ben will race again on Saturday in the 30K pursuit. Thus far the U23 races have been aired live at - I don’t know if that’ll continue but if so Ben races at 5:30 AM on Saturday.


[caption id="attachment_4011" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.15 AM Done!![/caption]


The rest of the Midd nordic team will head to Stowe this weekend for the UVM Carnival. We’ll race a classic sprint on Saturday and a skate race on Sunday.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }