Monday, March 21, 2016

International Children's Games 2016

For one incredible week, Team Lake Placid adventured around Innsbruck, Austria at the 2016 International Children's Games (ICG). Recognized by the International Olympic Committee, the event is for young athletes ages 12-15 from around the world to experience sport, new cultures and understanding. This was the 7th winter games in the 49 years of ICG history. Sports, friendship and respect were mottos of this winter's games.

Team Lake Placid's Nordic group included athletes Jesse Izzo (Lake Placid), James Flanigan (Lake Placid), Van Ledger (Lake Placid), Adrian Hayden (Saranac Lake), Anya Morgan (Upper Jay) and Sylvie Linck (Saranac Lake) with Coach Margaret Maher (NYSEF).

The team's travel was pretty simple: a van ride from New York to Montreal, a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, and a 3-4 hour bus ride to Innsbruck, Austria.

Innsbruck, like Lake Placid, is a 2-time Olympic City having hosted the games in 1964 and 1976 (random fact: Margaret's high school coach Mike Gallagher's first Olympics as an athlete were in Innsbruck in 1964 and he went on to coach the US Ski Team in Lake Placid in 1980).

Opening Ceremonies 
Pin trading at the Olympics is a tradition and it was no different at the International Children's Games. Before the Opening Ceremonies, athletes were able to spend time talking with other young athletes and trading their designation's town or country pin. Lake Placid was a hot pin, along with Cleveland USA and Australia's kangaroo.

The organizing committee did an amazing job with the opening ceremonies. Because USA is at the end of the alphabet, Team Lake Placid had a long wait in line to go on stage but we got to be the final team announced before the home team from Innsbruck and that was pretty neat. We entered the stage, waving our flag high, ready to experience the pure excitement the week was going to bring the team. #we are ready #timetogetserious

Nordic team at opening ceremonies 

Official Training Day 
The cross-country races were in the town of Seefeld, about a 30 minute shuttle ride from the motel in Gotzens. Seefeld Arena has played host to multiple World Cup races, the first Youth Olympic Games in 2012 and will host the FIS Nordic World Championships in 2019.

The course twisted and turned around the outruns of the HS 109 and HS 75 ski jumps. It looked a lot like Lake Placid, minus the backdrop of the 9,000 foot Alps Mountains. The classic race was going to be 1.5 laps to make a 3.5 km race. There were a lot of double pole sections, but one good climb and a downhill with about 6 alpine gates to slalom through (both to test the athletes' skills and also to slow the skiers down before a tight left hand turn at the bottom). A loop around the lower trails and a short, quick climb back to the stadium area made the lap complete. A solid course that was fun, fair and tested the kids skills and fitness - and if you missed a gate you got 30 seconds added to your race time!

The official training day was 32 degrees and snowing. New snow is one of the trickiest waxing conditions. Team Lake Placid skied 1 lap of the roughly 1.5 km loop and the first try with a kick wax was no good. The team stopped at the wax cabin and tried to fix the skis with a different kick wax, skied a lap and that was also no good. One more try to fix the kick wax, skied a lap and again no good. Every team was having the same problem with icing skis and no glide. The boys started talking about double poling the course on skate skis and everyone went out for a lap to give that a try.

Coach Marge's Notes: I was thinking zero skis (but that wasn't a real option because no one on our team had those skis) or hairies (hand-made zeros aka skis with a sand papered kick zone and no kick wax) might work and made a quick job on one ski. It kind of work and if had been completed all the way, really would have worked. Luckily, James's dad John was staying in Seefeld and knew there was a ski store near by. John went and bought the team wax remover and more sandpaper for race day to make sure we'd be ready for whatever the weather did the next morning.
Anya, Jesse, James, Sylvie, Van, Adrian and Coach Marge with Yosi 

Classic Race Day 
Coach Marge's Notes: Ski conditions were very similar to the training day. I decided to make 1 ski with hairies and 1 ski with a kick wax. The hairies ski worked and the kick wax was again no good. With 3 total tests with hairies vs. kick wax combos, time was running out to make a decision about race skis. I decided hairies was the way to go and because there was going to be a lot of double pole this was a better option to keep the skis fast and would still get the athletes up the one good climb. Starting with Van's skis (because he was the first to race), I got the kids skis ready. Van skied a lap and came back smiling with "skis are perfect". A coach loves to hear these words on race morning and I was happy to be in the clear, being a little unsure if the young U14s would be able to really kick a pair of hairy skis. Everyone else went and tried their skis with everyone having luck, except Adrian. Adrian came back to the wax room door saying "the skis are terrible, I'm going on my waxless skis". I remember smiling and confidently explaining to him that his skis could be fixed and that the waxless skis would be too slow. A little more sandpaper and little longer kick zone and Adrian was sent out the door to go ski another lap. Adrian returned again to the wax room saying "these skis are too sticky, I'm going on my waxless skis". Again, pretty certain Adrian's skis could be fixed and with a little corking to the kick zone to make less kick and more glide and Adrian was sent out the door to go ski another lap. Returning after try #3 and this time smiling, Adrian excitedly telling everyone "I found ski nirvana, these skis are perfect!". I started laughing at his comedy and said to Adrian: "good, now stay off your race skis and go warm-up on your waxless skis". This is one of my favorite stories from the whole trip. Everyone had great skis and were able to go ski their best. The boys started the day off with Jesse in 6th, James in 10th, Adrian in 22nd and Van in 28th. The girls skied strong with Anya in 20th and Sylvie in 23rd. All in all, a good fun day of racing and no one missed an alpine gate on the downhill!
classic race day
 James finishing the classic race...snowing hard! 

Freestyle Sprint Day 
Coach Marge's Notes: This was an exciting day! You could see 90% of the course from the stadium. Similar to the classic day but with a few more twists, a few rollers, and a few 90 degree turns to mix things up.

The boys started the sprint qualifier with strong results: Jesse in 2nd, James in 9th, Adrian in 21st and Van in 33rd. The girls raced next with Sylvie finishing in 21st and Anya in 24th place.

Adrian was up first in quarterfinal 1 and skied tough, but placed 5th and didn’t move on to the semi-finals. Jesse and James were in quarterfinal 4 and worked together to ski clean and easily move on to the semi-finals by finishing 1-2. James had some impressive moves to recover from a slow start to ski up to the front of the heat. Again in the semi-final together, Jesse and James worked hard to move on to the finals. Jesse won the semi-final heat by more than 5 seconds (posting the 3rd fastest time of the day!) and James had a bit of tangle up at the beginning and had to play catch up. James skied as fast as he could but in a short race it was not enough and he finished the heat in 6th and with a final result of 12th on the day. Jesse was excited and ready to rock and roll in the final. This was a tough heat and close fight to the finish with Jesse finishing in 4th overall.

In the girls race, Sylvie was in quarterfinal 1 and skied 7 seconds faster than her qualifier time, finishing her heat in 5th. Anya was in quarterfinal 2 and skied 5 seconds faster than her qualifier and finished in 5th.  

 Van and Martina in the finish area
Anya starting the sprint qualifier
 Sylvie finishing the sprint qualifier
 sprint heats
Jesse lined up and ready to go in the sprint final A
 Jesse had a great day qualifying in 2nd and finished in 4th
 Adrian is going to be a wax tech one day
Mixed Gender-Mixed Country Relay 
Coach Marge's Notes: This was a unique, new event. Relay teams were randomly selected between boys, girls and different countries. Each team was made up of 2 girls and 2 boys with each athlete skiing 1.6 km freestyle. This was a fun way to finish the International Children's Games and Jesse's team finished 1st, Anya's team finished 3rd, Adrian's team finished 5th, Sylvie's team finished 9th, James' team finished 10th and Van's team finished 16th. 

  James had a strong races and showed impressive ski skills
  Jesse's relay team with Chester Burns (Woollahra AUS), Benjamin Kronbichler (Bruneck ITA) and Carla Maria Rasch (Kempten GER)
  medal ceremony with Jesse's team in 1st and Anya's team in 3rd

Closing Ceremonies 
This was everyone's final chance to trade jackets, pins and say goodbye to new friends. New Taipei City was handed the ICG torch for the next International Children's Games this summer. One incredible experience. Thanks Innsbruck!

a little bit of chocolate to take home
Many thanks to the Henry Uihlein II & Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation, Village of Lake Placid, North Elba Park District, Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund of Lake Placid, Adirondack Foundation, ORDA and NYSEF for making this trip happen!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

USSA SuperTour Race Weekend

Going to be an exciting weekend to race in Lake Placid!
Race weekend includes USSA SuperTour Races with NENSA JNQ/Eastern Cup, Mid-Atlantic JNQ and NYSEF Harry Eldridge Memorial Cup

* all athletes need to have a USSA membership to race (details at the registration link)

* race registration closes on Wednesday at 5 pm and there is no day of race registration

* race registration here:

* if you don’t know how to log in or have problems registering, you need to email to get help


Sunday, October 18, 2015

NYSEF Climb to the Castle video footage

C2C preview video here

C2C post-race video here

race photos here

Thanks to NYSEF athletes Everett Sapp and Forest Ledger for making the videos!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

NYSEF Climb to the Castle 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

WILMINGTON, NY -- The New York Ski Educational Foundation and the Olympic Regional Development Authority invite athletes to the 9th annual NYSEF Whiteface Climb to the Castle Rollerski Race on Sunday, September 20 at 8 AM. The course starts at the Whiteface Toll Booth, climbing for 5 miles with an average 8% grade up the Whiteface Memorial Highway to the castle on the summit of Whiteface Mountain, New York's 5th highest peak with an elevation of 4,867 ft. The race is freestyle technique and athletes will be greeted at the finish with a 360-degree panoramic view of the Adirondacks, New England and Canada. Athletes will have excellent road conditions with all new pavement to the summit.

NEW this year is a team event! Fastest 3 times will be added together to name a Women's Team Champions and Men's Team Champions

Link to race details: 2015 Climb to the Castle

Link to race registration: AlpineReg
Online registration closes Friday, September 18 at 3 PM

Looking to help out at the awesome C2C race? 

Questions? email Margaret Maher margm (at)

Awards by Borah Teamwear

Sunday, April 26, 2015


look what arrived in the mail...pretty awesome

Good work Karl, Scott and Everett!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What a winter!

Team highlights this season included:
·         8th annual NYSEF Whiteface Climb to the Castle Rollerski Race in September
·         2nd XC Winter High School Camp at the Lake Placid Training Center with 65 athletes from across NY participating
·         Learn 2 Fly at the Olympic Ski Jumps
·         Trailblazers and Snowcats log many kilometers at MVH and compete in night races at Dewey Mountain
·         XC Winter Term
·         New youth ski jumping gear purchased with a grant by the Adirondack Foundation – Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund helped athletes safely move from jumping the K20 meter to the K30-K48 meter sized hills
·         Winning all junior age groups at the NYSEF Harry Eldridge Freestyle Race on our home course
·         Competitive racing by Junior Race Team athletes on the New England Eastern Cup/JNQ circuit:
*        team posted 29 top-10 age group results (improvement from 12 top-10s in 2014)
·         NY High School State Meet:
*        Nina and Karl place 1st in the individual classic races
*        top 10 finishes by: Gabby (3rd), Jackie (7th), Bryce (2nd), Scott (4th), Henry (7th), Eric (10th)
*        LPHS Boys Team wins the relay and overall state championship
*        LPHS Girls Team wins the relay and overall State championship
·         Exciting comps at the 2015 USSA Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined Junior Nationals in Steamboat Springs, CO:
*        Gabby was crowned U18 Girls National Nordic Combined Champion
*        Karl posted the fastest XC time for the 3nd year in a row
*        Landon, Matt and Beckett all posted top 5 age-group results
*        athletes take first jumps on the K114 meter hill
·         Rockstar performances at the 2015 USSA XC Junior National Championships in Truckee, CA:
*        11 NYSEF athletes qualified for the Mid-Atlantic JN Team
*        Karl skied an impressive race to earn the USSA U18 Boys Freestyle Junior National title and All-American status! and placed 17th in the freestyle sprint and 23rd in the classic race
*        Scott had an amazing week of racing in the U16 boys category by placing 4th in the freestyle sprint, 6th in the freestyle race and 11th in the classic mass start race making him a 2-time All-American
*        Everett had a strong freestyle sprint result by finishing 5th in the U16  boys category and earning All-American status
*        Henry had great races by placing 7th in the freestyle sprint qualifier, 14th in the freestyle sprint heats and 15th in the freestyle race
*        Nina was nominated for the USSA Dave Quinn award from the Mid-Atlantic Division for sportsmanship, results and love of the sport
*        LPHS Boys Team with Karl, Scott and Henry placed 3rd (out of 86 schools) in the high school team results at with just 3 athletes (winning team had 8 boys)
*        NYSEF placed 13th in the club standings (out of 63 clubs)
·         Great racing at Eastern High School Championships to finish the season:
*        Team NYSEF with Bryce, Nina, Henry and Gabby placed 4th out of 53 teams
*        top 15 individual finishes by Nina, Gabby, Bryce and Henry out of 100+ racers per gender
·         Miles was named to the USA Ski Jumping Development Team and placed 5th overall in the 2014/15 US Cup
·         Collaborations with the Lake Placid Ski Club, ORDA and Adirondack Foundation/UISF for continued programming in the Olympic Village
·         Number of kids in the program: 37
·         Number of staff: 3 XC/NC and 2 SJ/NC
·         Number of days on snow: too many to count but our awesome venue at MVH had over 115 days with all 50 km skiable
·         Overall, a healthy and active environment through play on skis!

U16 boys pack at the NYSEF Season Opener

Gabby racing in the NYSEF Season Opener

Everett and Karl qualify for the big boys sprint heats in Maine

Karl lunges for the finish line in Maine to place 5th in the U18 boys race

Scott goes on to win the U16 boys sprint heats in Maine

Nina is the U18 girls champ at the NYSEF Harry Eldridge Freestyle Race

Everett, Scott, Henry and Royal lead the U16 boys mass start 
at the NYSEF Harry Eldridge Freestyle Race

Karl, Bryce and Eric lined up at the start at MVH

Van races at the Mountain Top Paintball Biathlon race in VT

Anya in the range at the Mountain Top Paintball Biathlon race in VT

lots of NYSEF boys on the relay podium at the NY High School State Meet

LPHS with Coach Bill take both the boys and girls state titles

opening ceremonies at the 
2015 USSA Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined Junior Nationals in Steamboat Springs, CO

competition hill in Steamboat Springs

Everett and Scott qualify for the U16 boys sprint heats at the 
2015 USSA XC Junior National Championships in Truckee, CA

sprint wax table magic

Scott and Everett with Coaches Marge and Nick...All-Americans!

no words can explain...simply amazing! great skiing Karl

Karl is the 2015 USSA U18 Boys Freestyle Junior National Champion!

pretty sweet bib #

Bryce skis to 27th place in the U18 boys freestyle race at Junior Nationals

Nina "graduates" from NYSEF and heads to Harvard University next year...what an adventure it's been!

Team NYSEF in Truckee, CA 
with Jackie, Abby, Nina, Lucy, Coach Marge, Bryce, Karl, Everett, Henry, Scott, Eric and Royal

see you next winter!