Photo by Oliver Semple
Though most locals see the weekly fresh snow as a great opportunity to hit the open mountains, the Aspen High School nordic team sees this as a chance to start their training.
All winter sports teams have opted for optional training until the official start of the competition season, January 25. Towards the beginning of the optional season, in early December, the skiers were juggling location changes and less than ideal conditions given the lack of snow. Though there are many challenges, especially during COVID-19, the team appears to be in high spirits and looking forward to the competitions starting in February.
Kendall Clark, a team member of four years, is excited to be back on the trails, but feels that the restrictions are adding to the already challenging sport.
“The lack of snow forces us to suffer on Panda Peak everyday. It is like the tundra, they are blowing man made snow 24/7. While we are grateful that SkiCo has allowed us to ski, we are excited to get back on regular Nordic trails,” Clark said.
Another senior at AHS, Edie Sherlock, a ski meister competing in both alpine and nordic skiing, notices a shift not only on the operation of practices but also on the atmosphere between teammates.
“The team dynamic has definitely changed just with the fact that we don’t have nearly as many people on the team this year. As of now, all but two of our athletes that show up to optional practice are seniors, which is a drastic change from the variety of grades that we’ve had in years past,” Sherlock said.
Chrisitan Kelley, also a ski meister for AHS, faces double the challenges for double sports.
“Ski meistering is going to be very interesting this year because there are so many unknowns both for alpine and nordic. As for practicing, everything is the same,” Kelley said. “The most important part is finding a balance between the two different sports practices, as well as school work, which gets tough.” Kelley said.
Though every week brings new challenges and potential changes, these senior nordic skiers are driven and prepared for their last season.
“Everything is still very unknown. I am excited for any competitions we get to have because I feel like the competitive spirit is important in a sport as mentally tough as nordic,” Kelley said.