Ski Program FAQs
How does someone become a GRP athlete?
Selection of athletes for this program is based on a combination of performance criteria and a written application. Applicants will be expected to meet at least one of the following performance criteria:
- Top 10 EISA Ranking for the current year (or last year that skier raced EISA races)
- Top 10 USSA birth year ranking (on the most recent ranking list)
- Top 10 NENSA overall point list (current year)
There will be some discretionary allowances made for cases where injury, location, or other challenges exist.
The written application will cover past experience and will also ask the applicant to explain why they think this program is a good match for them and what skills or interests they would bring to the green/sustainable aspect of the program.
Applications are due by April 3. Leading candidates may be invited for interviews. Acceptances will be announced mid-April.
Why is there a written application - Why not just take the fastest skiers?
This program aims to offer elite-level coaching, training and race support while also supplying participants with a meaningful non-skiing experience and meeting the mission of its host, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. It is important that GRP athletes see the value of this approach and have interests and skills outside of Nordic competition that will make them a valuable member of the Craftsbury community. Treat this as a job application: one part of the "job" will be training effectively and skiing your fastest; the other equal part will be making a meaningful contribution to the Outdoor Center and the broader community.
Who is supporting this project?
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is the primary supporter and sponsor of the GRP, with the support of a growing collection of sponsors from the ski world and beyond. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center was purchased in November 2008 and restructured into a non-profit organization with the following mission:
- To support and promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports with a special focus on Rowing, Running, Nordic Skiing, and Biathlon.
- To use and teach sustainable practices; and
- To protect and manage the surrounding land, lake and trails.
The Green Racing Project fits well with this mission, and Craftsbury is excited to provide this programming opportunity. Craftsbury will be providing housing, meals (when dining hall is open - about 10 months of the year), coaching, part-time work, access to health insurance, and race support.
Who is the target audience for this program?
The Craftsbury GRP program is designed primarily to fill the gap that exists after collegiate skiing, and serve as a bridge from collegiate racing to national and international level competition. Most skiers and biathletes won't reach their peak performance levels until their mid to late 20's, yet it's hard to graduate from college and tell your parents that you're "just going to train" for the next few years. This program works to provide athletes a long-term training situation that also allows them to develop and use other skills, specifically those related to the mission of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, on a part-time basis. The athlete will likely not have time to earn a lot of extra money, but with housing and meals provided along with the skiing supports, at least they have a chance to keep their heads above water.
What is the time commitment for this program?
One does not become a faster Nordic athlete overnight. It's generally at multi-year proposition and thus requires a long-term commitment, with periodic review to be sure goals remain reasonable and measurable progress made. This program asks for a minimum one-year commitment, generally at least two years - with regular coach-athlete review to agree on goals and monitor progress toward them.
Is there a prerequisite in terms of training?
It is expected that applicants will have been training at a serious level on a regular basis. As part of the application process you will be asked to submit your training log for the past several years. The GRP program coaches will also want to talk with your most recent coach(es) to get a sense of your level of training, as well as to prepare for as smooth a transition as possible to the new training program.
Will GRP Athletes be paid for the part-time work, or is it an unpaid expectation of the program?
GRP program participants will be expected to do a certain amount of work for the Center in exchange for their lodging, meals and coaching. The Center will also cover health insurance, after the initial two months. There will be the possibility of working additional hours for take-home pay either at the Center, or at area businesses, as time allows. With prior approval, community service may also count toward some of the work requirement, such as offering ski clinics for local kids, coaching local sports teams, or volunteering for other non-profits.
What will the Center-provided work opportunities be?
Certain projects and tasks are ongoing; other new projects may be determined through a joint brainstorming and prioritization process that gives skiers the chance to suggest and design projects that align with the Center's mission. Here are some examples from the past years:
- Various projects related to helping Craftsbury become more sustainable. These include analysis of current heating/power systems, improved management of property, production of local food on property
- Management of the team itself: uniform design and acquisition, press releases, blogging for interested media, travel planning, work with sponsors
- Projects supporting the broader Craftsbury ski/biathlon program in general: helping coach juniors, helping run training camps, helping organize events,improving trails to ensure early skiing, etc.
- Meeting needs of the Outdoor Center: support for rowing programs as needed, caretaking of facilities, helping with non-skiing programs.
What approach will be taken to ensure as smooth a transition as possible from my current program and coach?
Transitions are always challenging. This program will use all of the following approaches to try to make the transition as smooth as possible for athletes:
- Communication: Head Coach Pepa Miloucheva will want to discuss each athlete with her/his previous coach or coaches. She will also want to maintain communication as needed when questions or problems arise.
- Physiological testing: Craftsbury has VO2 testing equipment on site, as well as lactate testing equipment. Pepa also uses other testing methods as well, such as timed runs and strength tests. All of this data helps her assess each individual athlete's needs and current state.
- Individualized approach: The program's and Pepa's philosophy is that different athletes have different needs. The exact same training program will most likely not be optimal for all the athletes in the program. Therefore, training schedules will be tailored to each individual skier as is necessary.
What does Craftsbury offer in terms of training facilities and opportunities?
Craftsbury offers an extensive trail network for skiing, as well as trail running, bounding and mountain biking in the summer. There are also many dirt roads, which make for great long runs or rides. Mountains aren't far away for more vertical challenges: Jay Peak, Mt. Mansfield and others. There are quite a few options for rollerskiing as well, all within 10-30 min drive of the Center. A track in Morrisville is used for timed runs. The Center has two biathlon ranges: a larger one with 6 points, with room for 10, and a smaller range on the snowmaking loop with four points for early season workouts. Our new lodge & fitness facility features a well-equipped strength training room, as well as a couple spinning bikes, multiple Concept2 SkiErgs and Indoor Rowers. Sculling on the water is offered for its excellent cross-training, along with kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
What is the expected housing arrangement?
Housing is currently provided for the entire team in a large farmhouse at the edge of the Craftsbury trail network. It's a 1k jog/bike/ski to the Center; or 2 miles by dirt road.
Is there any social life in Craftsbury?
Ok, this is probably the most important question! There are some excellent restaurants in Hardwick, West Glover, Morrisville and Stowe. The Outdoor Center itself is far from dead, with a steady stream of guests, campers and coaches of all ages coming through. The Green Racing Project's Rowing team currently includes 17 oarsmen and women, so there's a good bunch of fellow athletes with whom you'll share work and fun. For days off further afield, there's Burlington or Hanover, both about 90 minutes away or Montreal, 2 hours away.
We formally added a GRP Biathlon program in '15-16. We've attempted to address common questions below.
How does one get into this program?
The application process is the same as for the skiing program, and we have similar expectations in terms of ski speed and ski training level/experience. We do not expect applicants to have a lot of biathlon experience, since we know this can be hard to find. We will have Outdoor Center-supplied rifles for new biathletes to use, and we will teach you to shoot.
What's the biathlon program's goal?
GRP biathlon shares a similar goal as GRP skiing and rowing: to provide an opportunity for successful post-collegiate Nordic skiers and biathletes to develop and become internationally competitive.
Who should apply?
Like GRP Nordic, selection of biathletes for this program is very limited and based on a combination of performance criteria and a written application. Biathlon applicants will be expected to meet one or more of the following performance criteria:
Top 10 US. Biathlon National Ranking for the current year
Top-10 American at NCAA Championship Skate Event
Recommendation from USBA based on performance at USBA Talent ID Camp in Lake Placid
Successful post-college skiers who have demonstrated good Nordic racing results and are interested in making the transition to Biathlon.
Biathletes are expected to be skiers of the same caliber as GRP Nordic skiers.
How do I apply?
Interested athletes should apply using the application form available online.
How is the program organized?
GRP Biathletes will follow an overall physical training plan similar to the GRP Nordic skiers. The majority of the workouts each week will be combined with shooting at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. As with the rest of the GRP, biathletes will be expected to contribute a required amount of time and effort to the Outdoor Center in exchange for their housing, meals, coaching and travel support.
Who is coaching?
Craftsbury Biathlon Coach Sam Dougherty will oversee the team, manage most workouts and focus on shooting. Pepa Miloucheva will develop training plans and coach ski technique. Algis Shalna of Vermont Biathlon will serve as an advisor to the team.
What would my season look like?
A GRP Biathlete's racing season might vary a bit from one athlete to another depending on their level of experience and current speed. First-year biathletes will likely still do a number of Nordic races to help fill out their biathlon season, but most athletes could expect their schedule to include the US Trials races, most eastern NorAm races, and a development racing opportunity in Europe (by qualification) if available. Along with other clubs, we have been collaborating with USBA to organize development trips to Europe by qualification. The goal is to put as many biathletes as possible on the National Team.
What do you have for biathlon training facilities?
We have an 8-point range at Craftsbury, located on trails for skiing, running and mountain biking. In addition, we have a 4-point range on the snowmaking loop for early season training. The Jericho biathlon facility is 80 minutes away and offers a full 30-point range on a paved rollerski loop.
Can I try biathlon to find out if I like it, and if I have some natural ability?
We can arrange a clinic for you at Craftsbury if you are interested. E-mail GRPBiathlon@craftsbury.com if interested. Watch our website for other opportunities.
Do I need to own my own rifle?
Ultimately GRP biathletes will need to own their own rifle. Craftsbury has a small number of rifles which can be loaned to skiers just starting out in biathlon.