May 11, 2012 (Minnesota) – For the last few years I’ve been proud to be a part of the CXC (Central Cross Country) Elite ski team. It’s been my home club, based out of the Midwest and although last year I had to balance being on the US Ski Team and a club team at the same time, I think it worked out really well. The last two years in particular have been big steps up for me in skiing, and working with Jason Cork (CXC’s head coach) and Gus Kaeding (CXC’s assistant coach) has helped me a lot in between training with the USST coaches and athletes.
So it was a little overwhelming this spring when both the CXC coaches were offered (and accepted) new coaching positions with other teams. Gus moved back to Vermont to be the head coach of the newly formed Stratton Mountain Elite team, and Cork was offered a position coaching on the men’s side of the US Ski Team.
I am psyched for both of them as they’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years and are very deserving of the jobs, and I think they’ll both do really well. But I’m not going to lie; the changes really shook up the athletes on the CXC team. This was the second time in three years that the staff has changed around and although last time it all turned out well, nobody was super pumped about another shake-up. Although it didn’t hit me as hard as Jason, although he’s coaching the men’s team, will still be writing my training plan and working with me this summer and winter. Which I’m very thankful for.
Within a week, it looked like there wouldn’t be many athletes on the team. There are a couple of reasons I chose not to remain on CXC, but the main one is that I wanted to stick with coaches that already knew me, my style of skiing, what I need to be working on and how I respond to training. I want everyone to know, however, that the time I spent with CXC was awesome. In no small way was CXC crucial to my development as a skier…and in some ways as a person, since I spent a lot of my time growing up on the road with the ski team.
So I decided to not remain on CXC. What next? I needed to pick another club team, since being part of a team is pretty huge in my book. And I didn’t want to spend all the time in between USST camps training by myself. However, I really love being in Minnesota and I have great community support from the Twin Cities area and lots of friends here.
So I wanted to join a team where I could join them for training camps and be fully committed, yet not have to move full-time anywhere. Basically, I needed a really flexible arrangement, preferably with a coach I have already worked with. I spent a lot of time bouncing ideas around with coaches and family and looked at a lot of options, but one team really stood out.
I’m happy to annouce that I will be joining the Stratton Mountain Elite Team this year. I will be out training with the team in Vermont quite a lot this summer, as well as going to all the USST camps. I’m super excited about this team since I’ve already met all the athletes, and I know that they’re talented skiers, hard workers and really fun people to be around.
Gus and Sverre Caldwell are great coaches, and the transition from USST to SMS camps should be smooth. I think the training and living atmosphere is going to be excellent and I’m pumped about being a part of it, and adding as much as I can to the team. And I still get to be living in Minnesota in between all these camps so my accent is going nowhere fast, don’t worry!