Nordic “Thinks Skiing” Despite Gloomy Snowfall

Janice Chung '15, Page Editor

Despite the faded grass, declining temperatures, and lack of snow, the skiers of Blake’s Nordic Team are working hard, poles in hand; but the future of this year’s season appears bleak. In an effort to understand what the season is like for our Nordic skiers, I interviewed captains Matt McFarland ’12 and Hudson Van Slooten ’12.

The team practices at Theodore Wirth Park, one of the two courses with man-made snow.  McFarland recalls, “They didn’t start making the snow until the week of finals or the week after, so we have had to do a lot of dry land training. It took a terrible third of our season before we even actually got on snow.”

The Nordic team had had to practice on the dry grass for weeks: ski drills without their skis on, running in awkward strides with poles. McFarland comments with a chuckle, “The coach likes us to think skiing, so we’ve got our poles… which is kinda funky.” However, Van Slooten and McFarland agree, “Looking at bare ground, it is hard for the team to get motivated.”

According to Van Slooten, “Our skiing definitely won’t be as strong [as last year] because we have a lot of new kids. They’re not going to be as well prepared for the bigger meets because they haven’t had much time on the snow to actually get use to being on their skis and understanding how that works. But for the returning skiers, it looks like it’s going okay.”

McFarland believes that “we are going to struggle with team morale and retention. So as far as team moral [goes], we usually do a ski trip early in the year for a weekend right after finals at a resort, but that got canceled this year.” According to McFarland, last year, with so much snow, there were a lot of kids saying, “it should be a lot of fun this year!” but this year, with so little snow, some are questioning, “Well, is Nordic even a sport now?”

All schools participate in the same class for Nordic skiing, making it a one-class sport; due to our school’s small number of Nordic skiers, we have a limited amount of skiers. In the past the boys team has struggled to field six scoring skiers. This takes a toll on the team when it goes up against larger schools such as Eden Prairie, Edina and Hopkins. He also says, “Sections are always a slaughter house, but conference, we are going to struggle this year, compared to past years.” Van Slooten shares her view as well. Last year, the girls won conference, but a repeat will be hard given the lack of snow and returning skiers.

Although the current situation is grim, the team may have a chance at conquering its conference once again once the new skiers mature.