Free the heel, ski for real

Maggie Wigton

As the snow starts to fall and most people retire into their homes to stay away from the cold, nordic skiers hit the trails. The nordic season is full of early morning practices, skiing  into the night, and preparing for races all over the state and nation. Due to the dedication and commitment nordic entails, many wonder at why these high school athletes choose such a demanding sport.

“I to ski because it is so physically challenging and I love the team,” said Animas High School So. Alma Wolf.

Many high schoolers embrace the challenge and love pushing themselves. Not only is the sport intriguing because of the physical demands, but the team aspect lures in many of the student athletes as well.

“I’ve been considering Nordic skiing a crucial part of my identity since elementary school, so it’s hard to imagine what I would be like without it! Skiing helped develop my love of the outdoors and the winter months and I’ve also met some of my best friends through skiing. The sense of community in this sport is pretty exceptional. It’s definitely my favorite part of coaching,” said Head Coach Paige Elliott.

The team becomes extremely close throughout the season due to the large amounts of time spent together. This combination of team and competition helps shape many of the athletes into more dedicated and prepared people.

“As you know,  Nordic skiing is a really demanding sport. There’s nothing like skiing uphill at altitude to teach you about hard work, commitment, and follow-through. These are all qualities I see in our athletes as well. You know you have a group of motivated kids when they’re willing to drive half an hour after school to go skiing in the dark. Also, I’ve been both a student-athlete and working-coach, so I’ve learned a thing or two about time-management. I also now know how to be prepared and dress for the weather,” said Elliott.

Many athletes have specific goals they wish to accomplish during the season. Throughout the season there are four travel races that serve as qualifiers for Junior Nationals, which will be held in Lake Placid, New York. Whether athletes have specific race goals, or are just looking to improve their fitness and technique, they are all excited about the upcoming season.

“This season I would first like to make it to Junior Nationals and then hopefully get some good results,” said Fr. Cobe Freeburn.