With four young, new athletes joining second year skier Kevin Bolger for the 2018-2019 season, the SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team is looking solid and refreshed going into fall training. We sat down with Head Coach Chris Mallory to get the scoop on the team and how the season is shaping up.
University of Utah
Tahoe City, CA
University of New Hampshire
The team dynamic has been great, and they’ve put in some great training this summer. New athletes always bring some fresh energy. Some of them were teammates at Middlebury the last couple years, and Peter was on the EISA circuit as well skiing for UNH, so everyone knew each other coming in. We’ve also had a strong Russian exchange athlete, Anna Bizyukova, and Maddie Morgan, from Salt Lake City, who’s taking a year off from college, training with the Gold Team. There’s always a dozen college athletes here training with SVSEF in the summer as well, so it’s been a big training group.
Any stand out results from last year?
Bolger’s 11th place at the World Cup in Lahti last March certainly stood out, as well as his 2nd place at Nationals in the Sprint. This is a bit of a rebuilding year for us, as we had five athletes finish up their racing careers last season. It’s fun to see a few of them staying in the sport though, with Mary now coaching for SVSEF, and Rogan at BSF. Everyone coming in found their form at some point last year. Holmes had a couple EISA wins last year, finishing the season with an 11th at NCAAs and I’m excited to see him be able to sprint race a bit more this year. Luban also finished the year strong with two top 20s at NCAAs and a 20th place finish in the 50km Classic National Championship. Feldman, who just returned from training a bit in Lillehammer, also had a breakthrough season last year, posting two top 20s at NCAAs. Brams also had her best season yet last year recording a pair of EISA podiums. They’re all hungry to take their skiing further, so it should be an exciting year.
What are your athletes’ goals for the season?
Everyone is at a different place in their skiing; some have their sights on competing well at U23 World Champs, some on racing a full SuperTour calendar with some marathon opportunities, while Kevin’s looking to make the most of a bigger World Cup schedule this year. It will be an exciting year for those racing domestically with World Cup Finals in Quebec again, and some Nation’s group WC starts on the line.
What will the training/race season look like?
Our camp schedule is pretty similar to last year’s, with a few less athletes making the trek down to New Zealand to get on snow. Kevin has had a solid camp down there with fantastic conditions, and the rest of the team has been putting the work in here in Sun Valley. We’ll all head down to Park City in early October for a dryland camp alongside the National Team. In late October we’ll go up to Frozen Thunder to get on snow in Canmore, before the race season gets underway in West Yellowstone. From there, we’ll follow the SuperTour Circuit to Silverstar, Craftsbury for Nationals, Lake Placid, race the Boulder Mountain Tour here in Sun Valley, Minneapolis, Hayward, and Presque Isle, Maine.
You’ve been the Gold Team head coach for a few years now – has your approach to it changed at all? I imagine it varies from year to year due to the roster, regardless.
Different athletes will always have varying needs, but we try and support each of them along their skiing journey best we can. This sport is way easier with a motivated team and dedicated support staff around you. We’ll always be trying to win ski races, but also hope to connect the younger juniors in our program with the Gold Teamers as much as possible.
Photos: Kevin Bolger, SVSEF Gold Team, SVSEF Gold Team, Midd Nordic, Midd Nordic