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Why Ski?

Allison Van Akkeren was kind enough to share some writing from her Sterling College students in the Advanced Cross-Country ski class as part of their final project of a Nordic ski handbook. Pretty inspiring – perhaps you should get out and enjoy the snow from this AM yet today?

Why Ski?

Why I ski: Cross country skiing is by far one of the best ways to exercise in winter in my opinion. You can push yourself as hard as you want or take it easy and use it as a way to get out during the colder months of the year. You don’t need to drive to a resort to go cross country skiing but you can if you want. You can use groomed trails or just go find some stretch of wilderness or park and go skiing. The options are nearly limitless in how you can get out and go cross country skiing leaving you with few excuses not to go. Most of all I like the diversity of people who can cross country ski, old, young, rich, poor, athletic, or those not so athletic, anyone really can do it at some level. – Devin Thurber

Cross country skiing has been one of the best activities to get me outside during the cold snowy months of the year where I would otherwise be cooped up indoors. If you are a runner such as myself then cross country (XC) skiing is a perfect substitution when there’s snow on the ground. It’s a lower impact activity than running but still gives you a great leg and cardio work out. To make things better, XC skiing works out your upper body to a nearly equal degree to that of your lower body. If you are not a fitness fanatic that likes to push oneself as I do, don’t be intimidated. XC skiing is and should be a go at your own comfortable pace experience. It is a way to simply have fun out in the snow. So go ahead and get out there and have some fun! – Emlyn Jones Sterling College, Nordic Skier.

To paraphrase esteemed naturalist and champion ultra-runner Bernd Heinrich, movement is the essence of life and running (or in this case skiing) is extreme movement. People often confine themselves to this sport or that, but for some it is not the manifestation of movement that matters but the movement itself. When the snow starts to fly and the mercury plummets it becomes less and less desirable and sometimes even impossible to lace up ones running shoes or hop on a bicycle; luckily for those of us not content to stay indoors, there is skiing. There is no feeling quite like gliding efficiently through the snow covered landscape as the kilometers float by, no warmth quite like that produced by muscles engaged in the act of movement.

Part of the beauty of skiing is its accessibility; there is no need to be an Olympic athlete to stride along at a leisurely pace and enter into the beauty that winter has to offer. Whether you are taking a leisurely jaunt in your favorite wool sweater or skating at the elite level in a lycra unitard all that is required to participate in this centuries old mode of transportation and recreation is some warm layers and a sense of adventure.
– Geoffrey Fehrs

One would want to x-country ski in the winter because it’s an excellent way to travel, get a work out and see the land, all at the same time. Cross-Country skiing has also been a way that people have used to get around in the snow for 1000’s of years. When I am skiing I feel deeply connected with my ancestors. It is also the best way to keep warm, so I encourage you to get out and ski. – Matthew Haarklou

Skiing is important to me because I feel that it is good to practice different modes of human powered travel, for the environment, your body and your mind. Like hiking, once you have found your rhythm skiing, and cross country skiing in particular, becomes a form of meditation, which can awaken a different part of your soul. Your body also awakens as cross country skiing is a good cardio work out and uses an interesting variety of muscles. All in all, worth doing in many respects. – Adam Haley

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Ski-O Nationals 2014


The Family Sweep! From left:  Jon Owens, Kestrel Owens, Allison Van Akkeren, Adrian Owens w/the hardware.

The Family Sweep! From left: Jon Owens, Kestrel Owens, Allison Van Akkeren, Adrian Owens w/the hardware.

Allison, Adrian and Kestrel Owens have been tearing up the Ski-O circuit all winter, along with Melanie Sergiev, also of Craftsbury. Adrian and Allison passed this along after Ski-O Nationals earlier this month at Trapps. Congrats! That’s an impressive medal haul!

The biennial Ski-Orienteering National Championships were held March 14-16 at Trapp Family Lodge’s network of cross country ski trails. New trails packed by a single snowmobile added complexity to the map reading and route choices. Training with a map at Trapps was prohibited all winter for skiers racing at these championship races. Local skiers placed well all weekend, including one family’s 4 gold medal day in the long distance race.

Male and female racers came from around the country to race either in their actual age group or in the elite category for World Ranking points and a bid for next year’s national team. Some foreign skiers also competed with many from Canada taking advantage of a nearby race, but were not eligible for National Championship medals. A total of 92 skiers navigated the middle distance race Saturday. All the current US national team members, both junior and senior, competed to defend their spots. Ali Crocker, Alex Jospe, and Anna Vogele (all veterans of last year’s World Championship in Kazakhstan) placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in every race of the Women’s Elite category.

Two Craftsbury Academy students took some time off from school to race in the Elite Sprint on Friday. Melanie Sergiev placed 4th in 25:24, behind the three women of the Senior team, and only 6 minutes out of 3rd place. Melanie was 5th in Saturday’s middle distance race (48:09) and 6th in the long distance at ( 1:30:15). Kestrel Owens raced with the elite men on Friday for a 7th place finish in 20:45, just 4 minutes behind the winning time of 16:47. He then switched to his 16 and under age class for the rest of the weekend, which he dominated with 2 first place medals. Although there were only a few boys in Kestrel’s category for direct competition, he also had the fastest time of all the 34 racers on his course, which included several past national team members.

Two other Craftsbury residents also had successful races.

Adrian Owens raced in the men’s elite category and won all three races. There was tough competition from Greg Walker of Truckee, California and Donatas Ereminas from Lithuania. Greg beat Adrian in 6 out of 9 races last year. Up-and comer Will Frelinghaus, who raced for the US at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in 2011 and just finished in his 3rd winter of skiing for St. Lawrence University, was pushing the pace and despite a couple navigation mistakes skied to two 3rd place medals. Will broke a pole in the deep snow during the sprint race which dropped him back to 5th. Adrian said, “I had a good winter of training and was skiing fast, but if I had made just one serious navigation error there was a handful of guys ready to eat my lunch.” Full results can be seen at

Allison Van Akkeren, Adrian’s wife, raced in the Women’s elite group Saturday where she placed 6th in 51:58. She feels that her skiing is strong but struggles sometimes with the navigation. She switched to her age 40+ category due to the cold weather Sunday and won gold!

Adrian’s brother Jonathan Owens flew in for the long weekend of racing from Oakland, CA and went home with 3 gold medals in the men’s 40+ age group. That contributed a fun photo op after the final race with 4 gold medals for the Owens family.

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NENSA EHS Championships

Victorious Team VT! Can you pick out the Craftsbury kids?

Victorious Team VT! Can you pick out the Craftsbury kids?

No rest for the weary! Five Craftsbury skiers participated in what is likely the last race of the year for them:  the NENSA Eastern High School Championships. Racers are selected and grouped into state teams that compete for pride within the region. Craftsbury was represented at the event by

Orli Schwartz
Avery Ellis
Anders Hanson
Jacob Morse
Patrick Lawlor

Racing featured four races over three days:  a 5k skate, a 7.5k classic, a freestyle sprint, and the event was capped with a 4×2.5k mixed relay. Vermont skied to victory, by almost 2000 points over Massachussetts. Congrats! Craftsbury skier results:

Friday, March 14 – 5k Skate
18th – Orli Schwartz – 18:35.4
56th – Avery Ellis – 19:56.9

19th – Anders Hanson – 15:40.9
58th – Jacob Morse – 16:47.3
71st – Patrick Lawlor – 17:08.2

Saturday, March 15 – 7.5k Classic
21st – Orli Schwartz – 26:55.7
40th – Avery Ellis – 27:57.2

13rd – Anders Hanson – 22:32.9
25th – Jacob Morse – 23:09.8

Freestyle Sprint
54th – Orli Schwartz – 3:35.14
66th – Avery Ellis – 3:47.47

46th – Jacob Morse – 3:00.93
51st – Anders Hanson – 3:01.63
75th – Patrick Lawlor – 3:09.58

Sunday, March 16 – 4×2.5k Mixed Relay
Team Schwartz & Co – 19th
Team Hanson – 26th
Team Ellis – 29th
Team Lawlor – 30th
Team Morse – 38th

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2014 FMN BKL Gran Prix

Zander Martin killing it in Saturday's race

Zander Martin killing it in Sunday’s race

Several BKL skiers contested Frost Mountain Nordic’s great season-ending Gran Prix. This international event gives kids opportunities to test themselves against the region’s best – including Canadian skiers!

Craftsbury was ably represented this weekend by six racers in the following categories:

2003 birth year girls – Quincy Massey Bierman
2002 boys – Jack Young
2001 boys – Zander Martin and Griffin Wright
2000 girls – Phoebe Sweet and Callie Young

Racers contested three races over the weekend:  a longer skate race on Saturday, followed by a freestyle prologue that was scored both as an individual race as well as a pursuit (times were combined with a classic race in the afternoon). Craftsbury affiliated results (all shown in respective age/gender classes):

Saturday, Freestyle
4th – Jack Young 10:27.8

5th – Zander Martin 18:16.8
6th – Griffin Wright 18:42.8

1st – Quincy Massey-Bierman 10:23.9

5th – Callie Young 19:03.7
6th – Phoebe Sweet 19:21.9

Sunday, FS Prologue
4th – Jack Young 7:16.4

3rd – Griffin Wright 10:10.0
6th – Zander Martin 10:44.7

1st – Quincy Massey-Bierman 7:46.2

5th – Phoebe Sweet 10:37.9
6th – Callie Young 10:45.6

Classic pursuit (order of finish shown is for combined time, time shown is for classic legs)
4th – Jack Young 6:22.0

5th – Griffin Wright 9:31.7
6th – Zander Martin 9:15.2

1st – Quincy Massey-Bierman 6:24.2

4th – Phoebe Sweet 9:32.3
5th – Callie Young 9:31.4

Way to go kids! See pics in the gallery below from Steve Ransom (thanks for sharing!)

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BKL Race Report: Silver Fox Trot and GNA Paintball Biathlon

Craftsbury athlete David Moody tops the podium at the GNA Paintball Biathlon.

Craftsbury athlete David Moody tops the podium at the GNA Paintball Biathlon.

TONS of racing these past several weeks. Wanted to pass along the impressive results of some of our BKL athletes. Big thanks to Paula Davidson for sharing her photos and race report!

Silver Fox Trot
Seven Craftsbury skiers traveled to Hanover, NH on March 1st to take part in Ford Sayre’s Silver Fox Trot races.  It was another cold but sunny day.  The mass starts made for exciting spectating and tricky skiing as skiers were funneled into narrower lanes in the skate races.  Cormac Leahy was jostled to the ground in the boys 3/4 race, which had the largest field of 28 skiers, but he made up lost time to win that race in a photo finish.  Alan Moody won the grade 1/2 classic race and then switched skis to compete in the 3/4 skate race, coming in 6th.  Griffin Wright won the 5/6 boys race, with David Moody placing 11th.  Craftsbury girls also had great results.  Quincy Massey-Bierman was 2nd in the girls 5/6 race, Anika Leahy placed 8th in the 1/2 girls classic race, and Aliza Wright skied into 10th place in the girls 3/4 race.  Full results.

Gunstock Nordic’s Paintball Biathlon
David and Alan Moody traveled farther east in New Hampshire to visit their grandfather and invite him to watch them race in Sunday’s March Madness Paintball Biathlon, hosted by Gunstock Nordic Association.  With small targets, standing shooting, and no practice time (due to the large turnout, paintballs were in short supply), cleaning targets was not easy in this race, and most of the 101 young and adult skiers came up empty or cleaned one or two.  David was one of only three skiers all day who cleaned more than 3 targets when he made 4 out of 5 in his second shooting stage.  The 15 second bonus for each cleaned target gave him a wide margin of victory in his J4 race.  Alan endured two frustrating shooting stages when the top of his pole got in the way of the paintball gun, losing him several seconds each time.  (Now he knows not to try shooting paintball guns left-handed with poles on, even though he’s mostly a leftie!)  He did clean two targets and skied hard to finish in 2nd place in the J5 race.

Results here. And here are photos of David at the range and on top of the podium — a special moment for him!

David at the range, shooting offhand.

David at the range, shooting offhand.

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Bretton Woods Marathon and Cochran’s Results

Jack Young Airs it out at the first ever Nordic Cross at Cochran's, March 9.

Jack Young Airs it out at the first ever Nordic Cross at Cochran’s, March 9.

The season may be winding down, but some quality events still pepper the docket. Two from this past weekend were the Bretton Woods Ski Marathon and the Cochran’s Nordic Cross.

The Massey-Bierman clan attacked the BW marathon, in both the 21 and 42k divisions. Quincy led the way with a 23rd overall, 8th woman, and first U12 skier, covering 21k in 1:29:46.1. Mother Christine Massey ended 63rd in the 21k, with dad Paul Bierman repping Craftsbury in the 42k.

Other Craftsbury skiers racing:
James Drew – 34th overall
Pavel Cenkl – 35th

The long distance event was headlined for Craftsbury by Pete Hegman’s 5th place in the 42k.

Sunday saw several Craftsbury competitors head to Cochrans ski area for their first Nordic Cross. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s like Olympic skier cross, except with uphill sections too, so all your skills are tested, both in terms of balance, strength and ski technique as well more traditional XC strengths like aerobic capacity. (Frankly, it looks pretty sweet and I’m kind of bummed to have missed it).

Quincy was joined by Jack and Callie Young, as well as GRPer Caitlin Patterson – and they made quite a haul! Callie won the girls 13-15 crown, with brother Jack taking second in the MU12, and Quincy taking the win in FU12. Caitlin won the women’s side of the event. Full results at Cochran’s website, and here’s Caitlin’s take on the event.

Strong work, and thanks to Paul Bierman for sharing the pics and race results.

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2014 U16 Championship Gallery

Team VT, showing off their 2014 J2 Champ Fleece!

Team VT, showing off their 2014 J2 Champ Fleece!

Thanks to the Lawlors for sharing photos from the weekend’s racing at Rickert for the J2 Championships (read the coverage).

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Cross-Post: How Running Saved Lynn Jennings’ Life

LJ-cross-postFound this piece over at However, while you may suspect that the title of the piece is meant metaphorically, in fact, it’s far more literal, as you’ll read. Our Running Camp director has recently suffered an acute bilateral pulmonary embolism. We’re happy to report that she’s on the mend and intends to lead campers this summer. Find out more about this frightening episode over at, then go put some miles in, happy to be moving and alive.

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BKL Festival: Parent Photo Gallery

Doesn't get much prettier!

Doesn’t get much prettier!

Images from Saturday in Waterville. 2014 CL relay – Thanks BKL parents for sharing with us! You can find more pics online as well – click thru here.

Chris Young:

Paul Bierman:

Paula Davidson:

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Recipe of the Month: Chocolate Flourless Cloud Cake

It’s February, a month of candy hearts, love letters, and chocolate, oh so much chocolate. But in Craftsbury, it’s also a month of some of the best skiing we’ve seen all year. So after you put in your km’s, reward yourself (or your sweetheart) with our chocolate flourless cake.

Oven 325°
Yield- 1 springform cake pan
18 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
4 whole eggs
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar (for whole eggs + yolks)
1/3 (rounded) cup sugar (for egg whites)

Soften butter by first cutting it into cubes. Take care not to melt.
Cut chocolate into chunks. Melt over double boiler, making sure no water gets into the chocolate. Separate eggs carefully.
Whisk the whole eggs and the yolks together. Then add sugar, beating well.
When chocolate is melted, remove from heat and allow softened butter to melt into the chocolate.
Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. First beat them until they are foamy, then add sugar until they hold their shape but are not too stiff.
Whisk melted chocolate mixture gradually into the egg yolk mixture, blending well.
Fold one dollop of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325° for 40 minutes, or until the cake has risen and cracked. Let cool.

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