In case you were wondering, that stands for “Ladies of Vermont” training exchange. The name is a work in progress but the idea, getting together female Vermont skiers for summer training, was a resounding success!
Ida already did a post about our trip down to Stratton last week where she, Caitlin, and I had the opportunity to train with the SMS T2 girls. It was a total blast, the Stratton girls (and guys!) and coaches were so welcoming, and it was great to check out new roads, try some different workouts, and see a different part of the state.
But this post is more about training with other women in general. Right now the US is enjoying a lot of success on their women’s ski and biathlon teams. During the 2013-2014 World Cup season, it was more common than not to see superstars like Kikkan Randall, Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, and our own Susan Dunklee busting into the top ten and gracing the podium. There is a lot of momentum at the top, but I think that the key to this success lies at the grassroots level. At clubs around the country, girls are getting together and pushing and encouraging each other to reach new levels of success. In a culture that is obsessed with thin girls who have to dress, act, and look a certain way to fit in, there are a bunch of Nordic skier girls crashing through the woods, getting muddy, and trying to get super strong arm and leg muscles. And it’s awesome.
We try to spread the love on our team, by cultivating a strong women’s training group, taking teams leading and following, and sharing our successes and failures as a group. Then whenever we have the opportunity to share with a Fast and Female event or with our own BKL and junior skiers, we always try to encourage young girls to accept their bodies and use them not as an ends, but as a strong and healthy means to help them reach their goals.
Well, anyways, I hope that each and every one of you ladies reading this blog takes a second to reflect on what it means to be strong, healthy, fast, AND female. And then hopefully you call up one of your girlfriends and go for a hike, or a bike ride, or even a yoga class and enjoy being in each other’s company and being outside!
Here are some photos from training with our girls’ group earlier this summer and a few (hopefully non-repeats) of our trip down to Stratton. Oh and before I forget, shout-out to the SMS T2 team for hosting us, and props to Jessie Diggins for organizing a great Fast and Female event at Stratton on Sunday!
Cruising on the dirt roads with our newest GRP member, Kait(lynn) Miller! We’re psyched to have her on the team this year, adding to an already stellar women’s squad
We don’t always match when we hike, but when we do we get a lot of comments from fellow hikers! Camel’s Hump earlier this summer
The day before our Camel’s Hump/Huntington OD, Caitlin, Clare and I went to a Nickel Creek concert at Shelburne Farms, and they were soooo good. It’s always nice to do something non-ski related with teammates.
Then we ventured down to Stratton for a little down south training. ~15 girls, 10 of whom have been in the top 10 at Nationals (thanks for the stat, Sverre) + 1 open road + all out skate sprints = about the most fun you can have on rollerskis
Girl’s pic with Stratton Mountain in the background. L to R Annie Pokorny, Sophie Caldwell, Ida, Erika Flowers, me, Annie Hart, Caitlin
Leading some SMS juniors through 1-legged slalom drills (disclaimer, most of them are better at it than I am!)
It was so great to see and catch up with coach Patrick!! He’s doing a great job heading up the SMS T2 squad and perfecting his bike/video skills
On our last day of training in Stratton we had an OD but the SMS team had intervals, so we struck out on our own for a double pole/run combo and ended up at this sweet covered bridge in Arlington, VT
Fast and Female ambassadors: The SMS T2 team and our Craftsbury girls plus Cambria McDermott, a Stratton alum who skis for MSU. This is a kick ass and inspirational group of ladies.
We did some yoga in the gym
Practiced our teamwork skills on the spider web…
Attempted pyramid building….
And played kickball! Notice the sweet slip n’slide from 3rd base to home
Totally worth getting soaked!
Part of the fun of Fast and Female is in wearing pink and putting glitter on our faces, and while that adds to the feel of the day, in the end it’s not really what the event is about. Fast and Female is all about sharing an active lifestyle with other women and learning that being athletic and being feminine are not mutually exclusive. I wish there would have been something like this organization when I was younger, I know I would have loved the opportunity!
Now we’re back in Craftsbury, enjoying an easy week and for some, prepping for biathlon trials races in Jericho this weekend
Thanks for reading, check back soon for updates on the BKL camp we’re hosting at Craftsbury right now, and also for results from the trials races this weekend.