Last week was a volume week for us as we took advantage of some snow, and for once in most of our lives we wished we lived in D.C. Despite our lack of snow, we pulled out the rock skis, headed to Oak Hill and went into a hard week of training ending with the Carnival team up in Waterville for the Colby Carnival and the rest of us here to enjoy the snow at Oak Hill and then head up to Craftsbury for a fun Duatholon and Hil’s birthday!!
This season so far has been a huge learning curve for me in terms of the culture of our team and the history it carries. Traveling with the D-team is an experience in itself; we don’t stay in hotels, we often wax for ourselves, we work hard to work hard. It takes a full team effort to even get to the races and once there even before proving our skills, we provide our own luck (most of which Hillary takes care of). Not only does this bring an entirely new perspective on ski racing, it has given me a view into the culture of Dartmouth skiing, as we often stay with different alumni on our weekend adventures. Alumni are not hard to come by in the east and we often have visitors drop by our dusty basement to reminisce about the good ol’ days on the Dartmouth ski team. Talking to these alumn, whether in the basement, on the trails, or often in their houses where they generously allow us to stay, has given me a deep appreciation for the culture of our team and a determination to continue that culture. I’ve seen different dynamics on different teams. Female athletes, through my experience, have a tendency to feed off of each others energy and individuals cannot succeed unless there is team strength. The Dartmouth Ski Team has an impressive history. So, what does it take to succeed?
We have 15 girls on our team right now. 15 girls who live together, eat together, shower together, and most importantly ski together. It takes each one of 15 to create a success. We have an inherent culture that takes a long lived passion (there does not exist a park bench on this campus without a date written on it) and turns it into a continued goal to succeed. We are proud to wear the Dartmouth snowflake because of what the snowflake means to so many people. Dartmouth has seen many great skiers (might I mention another podium in the books recently for our lovely Sophie Caldwell) and we hope every year to continue this tradition. Our culture is the old (bright green) Dartmouth jackets floating around the team, it’s the girls putting on bikinis and a show for the school after the first snow of the year, it’s the Moosilauke record (held by skiers since forever), it’s high-pony day, it’s pink hair, it’s rock skis in a Norwich field, it’s the sauna and country songs (despite my many complaints), it’s a bus that only sometimes works, it’s a cabin in the woods where we stoke the fire so we aren’t cold before the race, it’s Robo, it’s watching the Notebook on a bed with five girls after a cold day, it’s Cami and Ruff discussing the wax of the day. This tradition is the Dartmouth ski team.
The girls at Craftsbury this past weekend enjoying some snow and watching the race (major congrats to Charlotte who did the full marathon, Meg for creating her own category in the half, and Eliana for doing the half)
This year we have something pretty on our team cool, a culture that strives to include, impress, and push each and every ability level. Right now, we have something special. With the addition of our (amazing) freshman, the team rose this past fall to a level athletically and mentally that could only inspire everyone on the team. We work together, for each other, with each other to continue the tradition of a dominating team. Last week, we saw the payoff with Corey pulling off a spectacular win in the classic sprint. This week, we brought back something we haven’t had in a long time, a Carnival victory. What is so special about this victory is that it came not from individuals but from four teams working together under the same name, wearing the same suit. That is culture. And that is what it takes.